History of Seminole State College
What started in 1966 as a few portable classrooms huddled in a former citrus grove is now Seminole State College of Florida with six sites spanning Seminole County and enrollment near 30,000.
A Tradition of Excellence in Central Florida
1965: The Florida State Legislature signed a charter creating Seminole Junior College. The Seminole County School Board hired Dr. Earl S. Weldon, a former president of St. Johns River Junior College in Palatka, to be the newly formed institution's president.
March 1966: A lot that once belonged to Chase Citrus Groves, near U.S. 17-92 and Interstate 4, was selected for the College's campus.
August 1966: Seminole Junior College opened with 800 students housed in portable classrooms.
1968: Construction began on the College's first permanent structures. The College held its first commencement exercises.
July 1968: The Florida Legislature removed junior colleges from the purview of county school boards and turned the colleges' advisory boards into district boards of trustees.
April 1971: The dedication was held for Seminole Junior College's Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.
October 1971: The College's enrollment exceeded 7,000.
1975: Seminole Junior College became Seminole Community College, with enrollment reaching 14,161. Phase II of construction was completed with the opening of the College's gymnasium (building H). SCC began Phase III of construction, which included the Fine Arts and Vocational buildings.
1982: The Raider men's tennis team won its first of two back-to-back national tennis championships.
1986: The Hunt Club Center opened.
1987: The College's Adult Education building opened. The new building included a planetarium.
1994: The Lt. Jim Brantley Firing Range opened at Geneva. The Public Safety Training Center is located on 221 acres of land that the College leases from Seminole County.
July 1994: The Weldon building, the College's administration facility, opened.
1995: Dr. Weldon retired after nearly 30 years of service.
1996: Dr. E. Ann McGee, a community college graduate and administrator at Broward Community College, became the College's second president.
1998: College Drive, a road connecting the College's Sanford/Lake Mary Campus with Lake Mary Boulevard, opened.
1999: The $5 million high-tech Science building opened.
2000: The College's Seminole Technology Business Incubation Center opened at the Port of Sanford.
October 2000: President George W. Bush, then the Republican nominee, gave a campaign speech at the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus. He was joined by Sen. John McCain and Gov. Jeb Bush.
January 2001: The Oviedo Campus opened to serve residents of east Seminole County.
July 2001: The Construction Trades building (building D) opened on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.
2002: Seminole Community College and the University of Central Florida celebrated the grand opening of UCF's new regional campus at Sanford/Lake Mary.
2003: The Raider men's baseball team won its first state title and advanced to the JUCO World Series.
2004: Thousands of students were relocated after Hurricane Frances caused severe damage to building B on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus. Gov. Jeb Bush visited the campus to view the damage. The College was honored with the Bellwether Award for being the No. 1 community college in the country in planning, governance and finance.
2006: The College received its first $1 million private donation. The donation, given by Art Grindle, a former state legislator and Central Florida auto dealer, created the Art & Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute.
2006: SCC partnered with UCF to launch DirectConnect® to UCF, which guarantees graduates of the College hassle-free admission to the university as well as academic advising by university counselors.
January 2007: With a $2.5 million donation from the Central Florida Auto Dealers Association, the College opened its $10.1 million Automotive Training Center.
August 2007: The College opened its $30 million Center for Economic Development at Heathrow.
January 2008: Florida Gov. Charlie Crist helped dedicate the $33 million Altamonte Springs Campus, which houses all of the College's healthcare programs. The four-story campus replaced the Hunt Club Center.
May 2008: SCC opened the $3 million expansion of its Geneva Center, which includes a Public Safety Driving Track and a new classroom building.
January 2009: The College received state approval to offer its first four-year degree, a Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.) in Interior Design.
August 2009: SCC announced plans to change its name to reflect its expanding mission and new status as a state college.
September 2009: The Board of Trustees unanimously approved a motion to rename the institution Seminole State College of Florida.
October 2009: Seminole State dedicated its $17.6 million Center for Public Safety, housing the Criminal Justice, Fire Science and EMS programs in one location on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.
January 2010: The $32 million Partnership Center opened on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus. The building contains a two-story, state-of-the-art library plus classrooms and labs for Seminole State and UCF students.
January 2010: Seminole State welcomed its first baccalaureate class — students pursuing their B.A.S. in Interior Design.
March 2010: Seminole State's Board of Trustees approved the acquisition of 28.57 acres adjacent to the Altamonte Springs Campus, which is on State Road 434 near Maitland Boulevard.
2011: Seminole State was the fastest-growing institution in the Florida College System, according to Florida Department of Education data.
March 2011: Seminole State celebrated the 10th anniversary of its Oviedo Campus with a ceremony and presentation of the proposed new master plan for the campus’s next 10 years. To celebrate the anniversary, the College placed a time capsule, to be opened in 2026, in the campus’s clock tower.
October 2011: Educator Bob Schmidt left the bulk of his estate, valued at nearly $2.5 million, to create endowed scholarships for Seminole State students. The gift, the largest ever to the College, covers the wide range of programs available at Seminole State, including automotive technology, public safety and the first endowed scholarships for baccalaureate students.
December 2011: Eighteen students became Seminole State's first baccalaureate graduates.
December 2011: Seminole State received $2 million from the Wayne M. Densch Charities to establish a scholarship program for first-generation college students. The donation also gave the Orlando-based Densch trust naming rights to the Partnership Center on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.
January 2012: The College began offering Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degrees in Architectural Engineering Technology (now Engineering Technology), Business and Information Management, Construction and Information Systems Technology.
April 2012: Seminole State became the only college in the nation with seven consecutive Jack Kent Cooke scholars since 2006. The Jack Kent Cooke is the largest private scholarship in the country for community college students.
May 2012: Seminole State’s Raider women’s softball and women’s golf teams won their programs’ first state and regional championships.
September 2012: The College’s oldest classroom building, which was renovated in 2011, earned gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for promoting energy-saving green technology. This was the College’s first LEED-certified building.
January 2013: The renovated building L on the College's Sanford/Lake Mary Campus was named "LEED Project of the Year" by the Central Florida Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.
January 2013: Seminole State received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant totaling almost $900,000 to fund a STEM pilot program, preparing students for high-earning careers in engineering, architecture and construction.
June 2013: Seminole State dedicated its newly renamed planetarium, the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College.
July 2013: Following its most complex website redesign in a decade, Seminole State introduced a mobile responsive website with content optimized for various formats, from desktop to tablet to smart phone.
August 2013: Seminole State became a tobacco-free college.
October 2013: Seminole State signed its first agreement with an international college, Basic Health Care College of Fredericia-Vejle-Horsens in Denmark.
May 2014: For the first time, Seminole State awarded degrees to students from all five of its baccalaureate programs.
September 2014: Seminole State received its first Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) award, a national honor recognizing the College's commitment to diversity and inclusion.
September 2014: Seminole State launched its 50th anniversary celebration at its annual Collegewide Convocation for employees.
October 2014: The College received a nearly $2 million grant for construction training as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) program.
February 2015: As part of the College's 50th anniversary celebration, Seminole State's Raider mascot was named Rally.
February 2015: The Foundation for Seminole State College of Florida officially launched its $12 million comprehensive campaign during the College's 50th Anniversary Dream Gala.
April 2015: Seminole State received a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant totaling almost $900,000 to expand its Sustainable Engineering Certificate program. The three-year grant is known as EMERGE -- Establishing a Means for Effective Renewable/Green Energy.
April 2015: Seminole State tied the national record for Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship recipients with four Cooke Scholars in one year.
June 2015: Florida Governor Rick Scott approved the state's 2015-16 budget, which included $11.5 million for a new student services building at Seminole State's Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.
January 2015: The Seminole State Raider women’s golf team won its first-ever national championship at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Women’s Golf Championship.
June 2015: Seminole State marked the 50th anniversary of the Florida State Legislature signing the charter that created the College.
August 2015: Seminole State received state approval to begin offering a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in Health Sciences, the College's sixth baccalaureate degree.
August 2015: Approximately 10 acres of land and 80,000 square feet of building space, valued at $4.1 million, the largest single gift in the history of the College, was gifted to the Foundation for Seminole State College by the Gould Family.
August 2015: The College's Board of Trustees unanimously approved an unsolicited joint development proposal to build a nearly 200,000-square-foot health science and education building at the Altamonte Springs Campus.
October 2015: Seminole State ushered in the next generation of its Athletics Program, unveiling a redesigned Raiders logo. The logo, which features a sharp-eyed hawk scanning from a perched position, was created in-house by Seminole State’s design team.
December 2015: The College officially launched the Seminole State College Alumni Association and debuted the Seminole State Alma Mater at Collegewide Commencement.
December 2015: Seminole State's Fall 2015 Collegewide Commencement honored 50 years of student achievement as the College concluded its yearlong golden anniversary celebration.
January 2016: Seminole State's Board of Trustees unanimously approved the conceptual design for a new Student Services Center on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.
February 2016: Seminole State was named the Official and Exclusive College and University Education Partner of Orlando City SC and Orlando City Youth Soccer for a two-year term.
April 2016: As a natural extension of previous branding, which featured "Go State. Go Far.," Seminole State unveiled its new marketing campaign, titled “GO.” The GO Campaign highlights many aspects of Seminole State’s 200-plus programs.
May 2016: Seminole State partnered with Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, to offer a Master of Science (M.Sc.) degree in International Business.
June 2016: Seminole State held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Student Services Center at the College's Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.
June 2016: In honor of Seminole State student Luis Vielma and the other 48 victims who lost their lives in the Pulse nightclub tragedy, Seminole State observed a collegewide moment of silence, the Student Government Association and UNITY Gay-Straight Alliance held a memorial, and the Foundation for Seminole State College established the Luis Vielma Memorial Scholarship.
July 2016: With a $1 million commitment from Florida Hospital, the Foundation for Seminole State College exceeded the $12 million goal of its three-year comprehensive campaign.
July 2016: The Seminole State community joined other organizations in honoring the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando with a dance medley. The video was one of dozens that were posted on social media with the hashtag #KeepDancingOrlando.
September 2016: The College’s Black Box Theatre was renamed Harriett’s Theatre, and new signage for the theatre was unveiled in honor of Central Florida philanthropist and arts supporter Harriett Lake who donated $500,000 for theatre renovations and scholarships.
December 2016: The Board of Trustees for Seminole State College approved agreements that allow for the construction of a second building at the College’s Altamonte Springs Campus.
April 2017: The Seminole State Raider softball team clinched the No. 1 spot in the Division I Mid-Florida Conference (MFC) for the team’s first-ever regular season conference title.
May 2017: Women's golf Head Coach Christa Teno was inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Women’s Golf Hall of Fame.
July 2017: The College achieved gold status, the highest level for performance funding in the Florida College System (FCS). The State Board of Education recognized Seminole State for its advances in student retention and completion, the number of graduates who are employed or continuing their education and the entry-level wages for graduates.
July 2017: Seminole State received approval to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (now RN-to-BSN), the College's seventh bachelor's degree.
August 2017: After more than two decades of service, Dr. E. Ann McGee announced that she would step down as president of Seminole State College as of July 31, 2018.
January 2018: Supporting its vision of being a student-centered college, Seminole State opened a new $25 million Student Center at the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus. The two-story, 77,000 square-foot building serves as a one-stop facility for student services and student life from admission through graduation.
March 2018: Raider Softball Head Coach Courtney Miller achieved 1,000 career wins.
March 2018: The Oviedo Campus was renamed the Robert and Jane Lee Campus at Oviedo in honor of the late couple's financial contribution and commitment to the College.
April 2018: Following a national search, Seminole State's Board of Trustees announced Dr. Georgia Lorenz as president-elect to succeed Dr. E. Ann McGee on Aug. 1, 2018.
July 2018: Following 22 years of service, Dr. E. Ann McGee stepped down as president and moved into the position of president emerita to provide fundraising assistance to Seminole State and to establish an Emeritus College for eligible retired faculty and staff.
August 2018: Dr. Georgia Lorenz, vice president of Academic Affairs at Santa Monica College (SMC) in California, became Seminole State's third president on Aug. 1, 2018.
October 2018: The College's Board of Trustees unanimously approved renaming the College’s CFADA Professional Automotive Training Center to the Barbara Miller CFADA Automotive Training Center in honor of her long-term efforts on behalf of the program. Miller has supported the top-ranked automotive program for more than 30 years.
November 2018: Seminole State was designated as a premier “Purple Heart Institution” by the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH) in recognition of the College’s support of military members, including veterans and their families.
March 2019: Seminole State installed Dr. Georgia L. Lorenz as its third president during an inauguration at the College’s Sanford/Lake Mary Campus on March 22, 2019.
May 2019: Claudia Bosdal, Melissa M. Carrion, Linden L. Ferguson, Odetta A. Julien, Erica D. Latimer, Grace Ogochukwu Aralu and Kyle R. Woodruff made Seminole State history as the first students to graduate from the College’s RN-to-BSN (Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing) program.
May 2019: The Raider women’s golf team finished a historic season with a victory at the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Women’s National Championship Tournament. Golfer Tai Anudit was individual champion, and Coach Christa Teno was named coach of the year. Anudit was also named the Mid-Florida Conference Female Athlete of the Year, making her the most decorated student-athlete in the history of Raider Athletics.
June 2019: The College established a partnership with UF Online, the University of Florida's fully online baccalaureate degree program, to allow Seminole State Associate in Arts (A.A.) graduates to easily transfer to the numerous UF Online bachelor's degree programs.
August 2019: Seminole State’s Center for Public Safety celebrated the completion of $2 million in Fire Academy upgrades and equipment purchases, including the arrival of two new training fire trucks, with a traditional “Wet Down” and “Push Back” ceremony on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.
November 2019: The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program recognized Seminole State College of Florida as one of the top 150 community colleges eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America's community colleges.
November 2019: In just the second year after the return of the cross country program at the College, the men’s cross country team took home first place at the NJCAA Region 8 championships. Coach Octavius “Ocky” Clark was named Region 8 Men’s Coach of the Year.
202o: Seminole State was recognized for its efforts to promote diversity and inclusion, winning the American Association of Community College’s 2020 Award of Excellence for Advancing Diversity, the American Community College Trustees’ 2020 Southern Region Equity Award, and Inside Higher Ed magazine's Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award (seventh consecutive year for HEED Award).
May 2020: With the coronavirus pandemic canceling plans for a traditional commencement, Seminole State held its first virtual graduation to honor its Spring 2020 graduates.
September 2020: With a 28% Hispanic student body, Seminole State was officially recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU).
December 2020: Seminole State hosted its first hybrid, drive-through graduation to honor the Class of 2020 who persevered in the midst of many challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic to complete their credentials. The creative, two-day event was covered by every major TV news organization in Central Florida.
January 2021: Seminole State began offering a concurrent RN-to-BSN/MSN program in partnership with American Sentinel University. The partnership made Seminole State among the first state or community colleges in the nation to offer a concurrent BSN/MSN program with a university.
February 2021: Thanks to a $94,000 grant from Duke Energy, Seminole State College got a power boost by installing a new solar array on its Robert & Jane Lee Campus at Oviedo. This system is projected to save the College more than $125,000 in energy bills over the next 20 years and to avoid roughly 16 million tons of CO2 emissions over its lifetime.
April 2021: Seminole State announced its partnership with Community College of the Air Force (CCAF). Through the partnership, the College offers online general education classes to more than 300,000 Air Force and Space Force personnel.
April 2021: Planetarium Director Derek Demeter and his friend, Henry Sandler, discovered a 50-pound mammoth bone in the Peace River in southwestern Florida. The discovery turned the spotlight on Seminole State, drawing local, national and international media coverage with more than 13 million views.
May 2021: Seminole State Women's Golf team capped off a memorable season with its third (2015, 2019, 2021) National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) National Championship in program history.
September 2021: The Raider Center, the newly renovated building H, on the Sanford/Lake Mary Campus officially opened. The 26,000-square-foot space houses Raider Athletics, a basketball court, weight room, fitness area, locker rooms, meeting rooms and offices for athletics and recreation staff.
April 2022: After twice being named among the Top 150 U.S. Community Colleges, Seminole State was named one of 25 semifinalists for the 2023 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.
May 2022: Gov. Ron DeSantis visited Seminole State's Sanford/Lake Mary Campus to announce $125 million in funding for nursing education in Florida.
May 2022: Seminole State partnered with Seminole County to host the 2022 NJCAA National Championship in women's golf at Mayfair Country Club in Sanford. The event generated an economic impact of nearly $500,000 in the county. The defending national champion Raider Women's Golf team won the championship, earning its third third consecutive title and the fourth in the program’s history.
August 2022: The College launched four new bachelor's degrees in response to workforce demands, a Bachelor of Applied Science in Management and Organizational Leadership, and Bachelor of Science degrees in Elementary Education, Exceptional Student Education and Public Safety Administration.
January 2023: Seminole State's nursing program was awarded $2.1 million from the state in recognition of the program's high performance and efforts to address Florida's nursing shortage.
May 2023: Leading the Raiders to more than 1,200 wins over the course of her career, Raider Athletics Head Softball Coach Courtney Miller was inducted into the Seminole County Sports Hall of Fame.
May 2023: Raider Women's Golf continued to demonstrate its dominance, winning its fourth consecutive NJCAA National Championship and the fifth in the program's history. All five of the program's championships were won under Head Coach Christa Teno.
October 2023: The Aspen Institute named Seminole State as one of the 150 institutions eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. This marked the third time the College was honored among the Top 150.
November 2023: Following a yearlong renovation, the Emil Buhler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State hosted a grand reopening, highlighting the space's transformation from an aging planetarium to a state-of-the-art immersive learning facility.
For more than 50 years, Seminole State College has thrived by adapting to and meeting the needs of an ever-changing community. By offering high-quality educational programs and services, the College continues to provide students and area residents with a multitude of resources. Now and in the years to come, opportunities for personal growth abound at Seminole State.
It all started with a dream...a dream that has been realized in extraordinary ways.