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Palm Beach Junior College
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member Team Min Dawg
N 26° 36.731 W 080° 05.187
17R E 590949 N 2943806
Quick Description: This historical marker is locted in Lake Worth near the northeast corner of 6th Ave. S. & Congress Ave. at the administration building on the Palm Beach Community College campus.
Location: Florida, United States
Date Posted: 4/21/2007 6:23:25 AM
Waymark Code: WM1EHT
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member tiki-4
Views: 139

Long Description:
Palm Beach Community College History:
Establishing Florida’s first public two-year college in the depths of the Great Depression may have seemed like folly in 1933. Large government expenditures were out of the question. Still, civic organizations and local citizens lobbied the County Board of Public Instruction to open a two-year public college for the area’s high school graduates who were unable to find employment and couldn’t afford to leave home to attend a university.

County School Superintendent Joe Youngblood and Howell Watkins, principal of Palm Beach High School, consulted with the University of Florida and the Florida State Women’s College (Florida State University) and based the College’s curriculum on that of the two universities. Because of the Depression-era budget, teachers at Palm Beach High School volunteered to teach at the college for free.

A total of 41 students began classes on November 14, 1933, at the new college adjacent to the high school in downtown West Palm Beach. Youngblood and Watkins (the first dean of the College) founded and nurtured the fledgling institution until John I. Leonard became PBCC’s first president in 1936. Leonard was affectionately known as “Mr. Junior College” because of his dedication to the students, the College and the two-year college system.

By 1948, the College had outgrown its original building and moved to Morrison Field, a retired Air Force base used in World War II, where the library was housed in a vast airplane hangar and the Officer’s Club became the perfect Student Union Building. Just three years later, though, the Korean Conflict erupted, and Morrison Field was reactivated. The air base later became Palm Beach International Airport.

So in 1951 Palm Beach Junior College moved yet again, to Lake Park Town Hall, where the quarters were so cramped students had to be turned away, and enrollment dropped significantly to less than 200. Chemistry class was held in the jail. The local media dubbed it “the little orphan college,” but the Lake Park location is remembered fondly by its alumni for the camaraderie that existed there. Master English and Speech Professor Watson B. Duncan taught classes in the nearby church and even in the hallway. Duncan discovered famous actors Burt Reynolds and Monte Markham in Lake Park, as well as Terry Garrity, the author of “The Sensuous Woman.”

Almost five years later the Palm Beach County Commission donated 114 acres in Lake Worth to the College, and the state gave PBJC $1 million for buildings. The College finally had a permanent home. Harold C. Manor, Ph.D., became president in 1958 directing extraordinary growth in enrollment, services and offerings, including many technical and vocational programs.

In 1965, the height of the Civil Rights Movement, the state legislature ordered that black and white two-year colleges be merged, and the mostly white Palm Beach Junior College and the all-black Roosevelt Junior College became one. Six professors and staff members from Roosevelt were transferred to PBJC, and other faculty members were transferred to the school district. A period of adjustment ensued, and such key figures as Professors Samuel Bottosto and Ed Pugh and Paul Glynn, dean and later vice president of student affairs, intervened on behalf of the new students to make them feel welcome.

In the 1970s and 80s the College established satellite centers, then permanent locations in Belle Glade, Palm Beach Gardens and Boca Raton. Edward M. Eissey, Ph.D., president from 1978 to 1996, was the driving force behind the building boom and the name change to Palm Beach Community College in 1988.

Current president Dennis P. Gallon, Ph.D., has expanded the College’s comprehensive mission with more workforce programs and partnerships with business, industry, other educational institutions and various agencies. As a result, PBCC is truly a community college that responds to community needs and plays a critical role in the economic vitality of the area.
(The text above was copied from the pbcc.edu website.)

The historical marker reads as follows:
The earliest junior colleges in Florida were established under private auspices, beginning in 1907 with Palmer College at DeFuniak Springs. The first public junior college was instituted by the Palm Beach County school board during the Depression years to make college opportunities available to those local high school graduates unable to meet the expenses of attending school away from home. Palm Beach Junior College admitted its first students in 1933. Its first goal was to provide two years of acceptable college work. Soon it also offered career or vocational education for persons desiring to work after graduation and adult education programs. In 1939, state legislation provided legal status for the junior college program by authorizing county school boards to organize and maintain such institutions using county school funds. In 1947, Palm Beach Junior College began to receive state assistance under new legislation. Beginning in the 1950's the junior college program in florida began to expand, aided by the long-term plans of the Community College council created in 1955. The educational goals of Palm Beach Junior College served as a model for Florida's developing community college program.
Sponsors: sponsored by palm beach junior college in cooperation with department of state
Marker Number: F-248

Date: 1976

County: Palm Beach

Marker Type: City

Sponsored or placed by: Plam Beach Junior College and Department of State

Website: [Web Link]

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