History of Pensacola State College

1948 – 1954, Director James L. McCord

Director James L. McCord



Pensacola State College began as Pensacola Junior College, Florida’s first public junior college to be established under the Minimum Foundation Program Law in 1947. This law recommended that junior colleges become part of local school systems supported by government funding.

In this historical narrative, the College will be referred to as Pensacola Junior College (PJC) from 1948 to 2010 and thereafter as Pensacola State College (PSC).

With pioneer spirit, Pensacola High School Principal James L. McCord, Dean Jesse Barfield, and teacher Margaret Andrus completed the documents for a new junior college and wrote PJC’s first College Catalog.

James H. Allen, president of Florida Pulp and Paper Company, contributed two years of rent for a boarding house at the southeast corner of Palafox and Cervantes streets. Pensacola Junior College held its first class there on September 13, 1948, with an enrollment of 136 students and James L. McCord as the first director.

Louis A. Ross, social science instructor, headed PJC’s first basketball team in 1949 and the first baseball team in 1951.

During 1949-50, the first student newspaper, The Beachcomber, and the first yearbook, The Tide, were introduced.

Due to increasing enrollment, in June 1953, the College moved one block south on Palafox Street to the former Pensacola High School facility.

1954 – 1963, President Henry L. Ashmore

President Henry L. Ashmore

Henry L. Ashmore became Pensacola Junior College’s first president in 1954. A well-known consultant in the field of teacher training, Ashmore held a doctoral degree from the University of Florida and served as the regional director for the National Association of Student Teaching.

In January 1955, the PJC Alumni Association was chartered and Joe Frosio, a 1950 graduate, was the first president.

On May 13, 1955, Florida Governor LeRoy Collins signed a bill appropriating $1,243,000 to the College for building improvement. The Pensacola Kiwanis Club had supported the bill and recommended a new campus location — the eighty acre Camp Franklin property on 9th Avenue, owned by the City of Pensacola and the Baars Estate.

Enrollment for 1955-1956 totaled 1,147 students. The College faculty had expanded accordingly and the weekly employee newsletter, Green & White, was initiated in 1955 to facilitate internal communication. The name of the student newspaper changed from The Beachcomber to The Corsair.

Accreditation was granted by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in December 1956.

Students attended classes on the new 9th Avenue campus for the first time in September 1957.  This campus later became known as the Pensacola Campus.

In 1958, PJC began its second decade by introducing a two-year nursing program — the first of its kind in the Southeast. The nursing program began as a joint venture with Baptist Hospital.

Lyceum, PJC’s cultural enrichment program, also began in 1958. Created by John T. Venettozzi, Fine Arts and Humanities chair, Lyceum continues to bring nationally known speakers, musicians, and artists to the College.

The Student Union for Good Government and Greek organizations emerged during the early 1960s. In 1960, Delta Chi Omega became PJC’s first sorority, and in 1961, Delta Kappa Alpha became the first fraternity.

Instructional television came to PJC in 1961. Closed-circuit broadcasting to PJC classrooms and selected public schools began in 1962.

PJC became one of three colleges in the state to establish a dental hygiene program in 1962.

In 1963, President Ashmore accepted the presidency at Armstrong State College in Savannah, Georgia.

1964 – 1980, President T. Felton Harrison

President T. Felton Harrison

On July 1, 1964, T. Felton Harrison assumed the presidency of PJC. He had served as Dean of Instruction at the College since 1957.

In 1964, the new Center for Adult Studies became home to the Adult High School and PJC’s vocational and technical education programs.

The area’s first planetarium open to the public and a dental health clinic were included in an addition to the Mary Ellison Baars Science Building in 1965.

Expansion continued in 1965 with the opening of a new Educational Television Building. Lauded as the finest facility of its kind in the South, the new ETV Building housed two large television studios for closed-circuit television and a television station.

The PJC Foundation was incorporated on November 1, 1965, with Crawford Rainwater as the first president.

President Harrison spearheaded the merger of PJC with Booker T. Washington Junior College (WJC) in 1965. WJC was the first black junior college built in Florida and had served the black community since 1949.  WJC President Garrett T. Wiggins joined the PJC administration as director of research. The merger brought approximately two-hundred black students to the PJC campus.

In September 1967, WSRE-TV Channel 23 went on the air open-circuit, beaming enrichment and college credit programs to the community.

The Triple G Club was founded in 1968. It was later renamed the Black Student Union.

The Florida legislature passed a bill in 1968 changing authority over community colleges from local boards of advisors who reported to county school boards to local boards of trustees who reported to the State Board of Education.

PJC’s former advisory committee became the District Board of Trustees, the governing body of the College. The College’s service district was defined to be Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.

Pensacola Junior College’s first District Board of Trustees included James Lay, chair, and members Leonard Wolf, O.M. Carter, H.T. Woodruff, Mrs. E.J. Moore, Shelby Walter, Warren Briggs, Dr. S.W. Boyd, and Earle Bowden.

In 1971, PJC’s Milton Center was created to better serve Santa Rosa County. Classes were held in the former Canal Street School in Downtown Milton with William H. Massey as the Milton Center’s first director.

WSRE began broadcasting in color in 1971.

In 1973, PJC celebrated its silver anniversary and dedicated a new $1 million Career Development Center that provided free services to more than 22,000 people each year.

Women were welcomed to varsity sports in 1974, and Joy DeSensi was hired to coach the Lady Pirates basketball team.

In 1975, a $1 million Learning Resources Center with state-of-the-art technology opened on the Pensacola campus.

A new campus in Warrington opened for classes on August 22, 1977. The $8 million facility was built on 164.7 acres donated by the U.S. Government. Gaspare Tamburello, the College’s Veterans Affairs director and a retired U.S. Navy captain, was instrumental in acquiring this land.  John T. Venettozzi spearheaded the construction of the Warrington campus and became its first provost.

In February 1980, President Harrison announced plans for retirement.

1980 – 1997, President Horace “Ed” Hartsell

President Horace “Ed” Hartsell

Following a national search, Horace “Ed” Hartsell became Pensacola Junior College’s third president in May 1980. Hartsell had previously served as president of East Arkansas Community College in Forrest City.

Doug Worley, Dean of Personnel Affairs, was selected as director of the Milton Center in 1980 and named provost later that year.

In 1981, PJC began an academic honors program featuring small classes and a challenging curriculum. 

In December 1981, PJC opened a center at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, offering daytime and evening classes to both military and civilian personnel. David Sutton served as NAS Center director from its inception through 2005.

A pristine eighty-acre site along Highway 90 was purchased for the new Milton Center in 1982. Designed to preserve its natural environment, the Milton Center opened for classes in January 1985 and offered new programs in horticulture and wildlife ecology. Phase II was completed in 1986.

In 1984, J.C. Thedford became the first Provost of the Pensacola Campus. The following year, Thedford became Provost of Community Programs, and Richard Bedics became Provost of the Pensacola Campus.

In 1985, the Lady Pirates won the FCCAA State Basketball Championship, and Coach Vicki Carson, who had been selected as the first full-time coach for women’s basketball in 1980, was named FCCAA Coach of the Year. 

The Academy of Teaching Excellence was established in 1986 by Charles Atwell, Executive Vice President to recognize outstanding faculty who have exhibited sustained excellence in teaching.

In 1988, Coach Mary Bailey led the Lady Pirates slow-pitch softball team to the NJCAA Division I National Championship. Bailey had been softball coach since the Lady Pirates team formed in 1981.

In 1989, PJC opened a Downtown Center in the Blount Building, offering courses geared toward working adults and the local business community. Continued growth prompted the move to a permanent, four-story facility on West Garden Street in 1996.

PJC honored its first president by naming the extensively renovated Building 8 as the Henry L. Ashmore Fine Arts Center in May 1990. The 314-seat auditorium and adjoining classrooms were originally constructed during Ashmore’s tenure.

The Baroco Center for Science and Advanced Technology was dedicated in October 1990. The 125,000-square-foot center was designed to provide the latest in science, mathematics, computer science, and advanced technology programs and house a high-tech planetarium.

In 1993, PJC sports enjoyed a banner year with the Pirates winning two national championships. The Pirates basketball team, under Coach Bob Marlin, became the first Florida team to win the NJCAA Division I National Championship in basketball.  The Pirates golf team, under Coach Jim Donovan, won the NJCAA Division II National Championship that same year.

The $7 million, 43,000 square-foot Kugelman Center for Telecommunications opened in 1994 to house WSRE-TV, the area’s first digital television station.

The $5 million Lifestyle Improvement Fitness Education (LIFE) Center sports complex at the Milton Center was dedicated in 1995.

In 1995, President Hartsell and the District Board of Trustees began to acquire land adjacent to the Pensacola Campus for expansion and growth of the College.

PJC’s Milton Center became the site for the University of Florida’s West Florida Research and Education Center in 1996. The partnership made it possible for students to earn bachelor’s degrees in Natural Resource Conservation or Environmental Horticulture on the Milton Center, taking all upper level courses locally.

In 1997, President Hartsell and the District Board of Trustees announced plans for an eighty-foot bell tower on the Pensacola Campus as part of PJC’s fiftieth anniversary celebration. The carillon was named for M.J. Menge, a 1956 PJC graduate and the College’s general counsel for thirty-one years.

The year 1997 also marked the beginning of PJC’s fourth presidential search as President Hartsell began plans to retire in 1998.

1998 – 2002, President Charles A. Atwell

President Charles A. Atwell

Following a national search, Charles A. Atwell became Pensacola Junior College’s fourth president. His inauguration coincided with PJC’s fiftieth anniversary in September 1998. Atwell had served as the College’s Executive Vice President since 1986.

Women’s volleyball began in fall 1998 with Kim Hollon coaching. The next year, PJC alum Pete Pena assumed the role of volleyball coach.

In December 1998, the PJC Foundation launched the College’s first capital campaign. The lead gift of $1 million from the Switzer and Reilly families established the Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts. The campaign exceeded its goal, reaching more than $5 million. Nearly 750 individuals, organizations, and businesses participated in the fund drive, including more than 300 PJC faculty and staff.

PJC’s first Endowed Teaching Chair, named in honor of Margaret Moore Nickelsen, was awarded to Lou Fazio, dental health professor, in 1999.

During 1999-2000, PJC served 30,742 students in both credit and non-credit courses, including those offered through dual enrollment at area high schools.

The Sandra and Grover Robinson III Honors Program began in August 2000, with forty-two Robinson Scholars.

In fall 2000, a student ambassador program was initiated to help increase student recruitment and retention.

The first Anna Lamar Switzer Endowed Teaching Chair was awarded to photography professor Warren Thompson in 2000.

Construction for the Warrington campus Health Sciences Complex and the Pensacola campus Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts began in January 2001.

In celebration of Community College Month 2001, PJC began a “Legends” program honoring employees who had served twenty-five years or more.

On July 3, 2001, WSRE became the second public broadcaster in Florida to air a digital signal. The station initiated a capital campaign in 2002 with a goal of $2 million to complete the digital conversion.

Former First Lady Barbara Bush visited PJC in February 2002 to help the Foundation launch the Universal Scholarship and Adult Literacy Fund.

The 2002 Pirates baseball team enjoyed renovated facilities and placed third in the State Baseball Tournament, setting a team record of 39 wins.

During 2001-2002, the Lady Pirates enjoyed great success. The volleyball team won the Panhandle Conference championship, the softball team was voted Academic Team of the Year in the Panhandle Conference, and Coach Vicki Carson earned her 400th win in women’s basketball.

In 2002, paramedic faculty member Joe Diamond was awarded the Margaret Moore Nickelson Endowed Teaching Chair.

In 2002, a grand opening was held for the Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts and the Charles A. Atwell Health Sciences Complex was dedicated.

For the first time, the Foundation presented Governor Emeritus awards to Wayne Peacock and Jim Stolhanske in 2002.

President Atwell announced plans to retire in 2002.

2002 – 2008, President G. Thomas Delaino

President G. Thomas Delaino

Following a national search, G. Thomas Delaino became Pensacola Junior College’s fifth president on September 18, 2002. Delaino had served as Senior Vice President and Vice President of Planning and Administration at the College since 1993.

In 2003, Gael Frazer became the College’s first Associate Vice President for Institutional Diversity.

In fall 2003, ceramics professor Bill Clover was awarded the Anna Lamar Switzer Endowed Teaching Chair.

The Pirate baseball team won the State Championship - the first state title for Pirates baseball since it began in 1951 - and Coach Bill Hamilton was named Coach of the Year in May 2004.

Category Three Hurricane Ivan devastated the Pensacola area in September 2004, leaving more than $10 million in damage to the College’s campuses and centers.

Lady Pirates’ basketball coach Vicki Carson won her 500th game in January 2005. At the end of the season, Carson retired from twenty-five years of coaching with 515 wins, the most wins in FCCAA history. Chanda Rigby was named the new head coach for women’s basketball.

In February 2005, the Garrett T. Wiggins Student Affairs Complex was dedicated in honor of Wiggins, who was president of Booker T. Washington Junior College when it merged with PJC in 1965.

U.S. President George W. Bush held a town hall meeting at the College in March 2005.

In March 2005, the 16,257 square-foot Jean and Paul Amos Performance Studio was dedicated with several Public Broadcasting celebrities attending the weekend event at WSRE.

A new student literary magazine, Issue, debuted in June 2005 with Marzia Accardo as the first editor.

Green & White, the official internal weekly newsletter established in 1955, went to solely electronic publications with the July 18, 2005, issue.

Beginning August 2005, PJC’s academic calendar changed to three full terms — fall, spring, and summer — with each offering four sessions with a variety of starting and ending dates.

PJC participated in the first nation-wide observation of Constitution Day on September 22, 2005, with speakers and free copies of the U.S. Constitution.

The Foundation celebrated its fortieth Anniversary in 2005 by honoring the six visionary businessmen who launched it in 1965 — Crawford Rainwater Sr., E.W. Hopkins, M.J. Menge, Warren Briggs Sr., Howard Rein, and Gaspare Tamburello.

Partnering with Habitat for Humanity, the College began a carpentry program in May 2006, giving students hands-on experience building local Habitat homes.

The 2006 FCCAA Hall of Fame inducted Ken McAferty, the College’s Brain Bowl coach for twenty-three years, and Vicki Carson, women’s basketball coach for twenty-five years.

In fall 2005, sculpture faculty member Michael Boles was awarded the Anna Lamar Switzer Endowed Teaching Chair.

In 2006, phlebotomy faculty member Wilma Duncans-Burnett was awarded the Mary Ekdahl Smart Endowed Teaching Chair.

The 2007 FCCAA Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame inducted Vicki Carson; Bob Marlin, former men’s basketball coach; and Mike Gilbert, long-time scorekeeper.

All College Day was launched February 2, 2007, with all faculty and staff participating in professional development workshops.

Retired President Ed Hartsell was honored with the dedication of the newly renovated Hartsell Basketball Arena on February 21, 2007.

The Corsair student newspaper won the national Pacemaker Award for the first time for its online version, eCorsair, in 2007.

Harvard University medical faculty conducted a three-day seminar at PJC’s Mary Ekdahl Smart Center for Patient Simulation Training and Research on the Warrington campus in May 2007.

President Tom Delaino was honored for outstanding leadership in the community with the Greater Pensacola Chamber’s PACE Pioneer Award in February 2008.

Milton Center sponsored its twentieth Forestry Conclave and Lumberjack Festival in February 2008.

President Delaino retired in May 2008.

2008 – Present, President C. Edward Meadows

President C. Edward Meadows

Following a national search, C. Edward “Ed” Meadows was selected as Pensacola Junior College’s sixth president and began leading the College in June 2008. Meadows had previously served as president of Lurleen B. Wallace Community College in Alabama.

NASA astronaut and PJC alumnus Alan Poindexter took a specially minted, gold PJC medallion with him on a 5.3 million mile Atlantis space shuttle mission in February 2008. In June, he presented the medallion to President Meadows and College officials.

September 2008, marked the sixtieth anniversary of Pensacola Junior College. Celebratory events included cake-cutting ceremonies on each campus and an outdoor, evening concert directed by Don Snowden, longtime Music and Theatre Department Head.

In October 2008, The Corsair captured the General Excellence Award for Florida community college papers for the fifteenth time in eighteen years.

PJC’s Associate of Science degree in Nursing program received full accreditation from the National League for Nursing and Accrediting Commission in 2008.

The Practical Nursing program ranked number one out of all 1,036 programs across the nation for the period of April through September 2008 based upon a 100% pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for practical nursing by students who recently completed the program.  

In 2008, PJC partnered with the Pensacola Area Chamber of Commerce to open the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the Downtown Center. This incubator program provides a supportive environment to new business startups for high technology and virtual entrepreneurs.

The College's SkillsUSA student organization was chartered and began hosting the regional secondary and post-secondary skills competitions in 2008.

In November 2008, the College Board of Trustees unanimously voted to pursue the offering of baccalaureate degrees.

PJC’s nationally recognized Smart Simulation Center was designated as a Center of Educational Excellence by Laerdal Medical Corporation in December 2008. PJC was only the second community college in the country to receive this distinction.

In 2008, the District Board of Trustees revised the official College colors of green and white to green, white, and blue. The College’s mascot logo also was revised to a pirate profile designed by PJC alumnus Brett Swanson, son of Paul Swanson, longtime men’s basketball coach.

In April 2009, the Milton Center entry road was renamed Worley Boulevard in honor of Douglas Worley, the Center’s first provost.

Lady Pirate softball players christened their new field on the Pensacola Campus with double-header wins on April 22, 2009. From its beginning in 1981, the softball team had played all home games at the Milton Center.

In August 2009, the Edward M. Chadbourne Library was dedicated after a $9 million renovation and expansion. The spacious facility was named in honor of Chadbourne, a PJC alumnus, who through the Chadbourne Foundation gifted more than $1.2 million for student scholarships.

In fall 2009, photography faculty member Mark Francis was awarded the Anna Lamar Switzer Endowed Teaching Chair.

During the September 2009 investiture ceremony for President Ed Meadows, the District Board of Trustees named all previous Pensacola Junior College presidents as Presidents Emeriti: Henry L. Ashmore, T. Felton Harrison, Horace “Ed” Hartsell, Charles A. Atwell, and G. Thomas Delaino.

G.I. Jobs magazine and website named PJC as a Military Friendly College in 2009 for its benefits to veterans and active duty military.

In December 2009, the Hobbs Center for Teaching Excellence was dedicated on the Pensacola Campus. During the ceremony, Pensacola Junior College President Ed Meadows and University of West Florida President Judy Bense signed a partnership allowing UWF students to join PJC students in benefiting from the state-of-the-art facility. The Hobbs Center, created through a $1 million gift in October 2007, benefits Adult High School and Secondary Education students as well as students enrolled in college-credit classes in order to become teachers.

In January 2010, the District Board of Trustees approved the renaming of the Adult High School to the Collegiate High School to better reflect its purpose.

In Spring 2010, PJC was named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. It was one of only four Florida community colleges honored with this national recognition.

WSRE, PBS for the Gulf Coast, won a Bronze Telly Award and a People’s Telly Award in 2010 for its original documentary, “Gulf Islands National Seashore: The Treasure of the Gulf Coast,” narrated by renowned documentarian Ken Burns.

Athletic Director and Head Baseball Coach Bill Hamilton was inducted into the NJCAA Hall of Fame in May 2010. In twenty-three seasons, with twenty at PJC, Hamilton amassed 702 career wins, the most wins in the College’s history.

Astronomy professor Wayne Wooten received the National Astronomical League Award, the highest award in amateur astronomy, in June 2010.

In 2010, the College received approval from the Florida State Board of Education and from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - Commission on Colleges to offer baccalaureate degree programs including a Bachelor of Applied Science in Administration and Supervision and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. 

On July 1, 2010, the College name officially changed from Pensacola Junior College to Pensacola State College to reflect its expanded mission.

The College broke ground in July 2010 for its $9.4 million South Santa Rosa Center which would become the first College building to be constructed as a certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building.

In 2010, the Milton Center was elevated to Milton Campus status by the State Board of Education.

In January 2011, inaugural classes began for Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and Bachelor of Applied Science (BAS) in Administration and Supervision degree programs.

The first President’s Leadership Institute was initiated in 2011 as a rigorous, year-long professional development program open to full-time College employees who were selected through a competitive process.

In March 2011, the Lady Pirates basketball team, coached by Chanda Rigby, ended a 35-1 season with thirty-four straight wins. The Lady Pirates won the FCCAA State Championship for the first time since 1985 and the Panhandle Conference Championship for the first time since 1994, and returned from the National Junior College Athletic Association finals, ranked number three in the nation. Coach Rigby was named Panhandle Conference and FCCAA Coach of the Year.

In June 2011, the Florida Heritage Site Historical Marker was unveiled honoring the original site of the College at the corner of Palafox and Cervantes streets in downtown Pensacola.

For the first time in the College’s history, bachelor’s degrees were awarded at the December 2011 graduation. The seven students receiving BAS and BSN degrees also received specially minted coins recognizing their accomplishments.

In January 2012, Pensacola State opened two new centers – the new 35,000 square-foot South Santa Rosa Center and the extensively renovated Century Center.

The Lady Pirates basketball players made history in March 2012 as the College’s first athletic team to win back-to-back FCSAA State Championships. Coached by Chanda Rigby, the team again ended the season ranked third in the nation.

In summer 2012, Pensacola State College student Camille Nettles was awarded a silver award at the national ADDY awards, becoming the first person – student or professional – in the region to be awarded a national ADDY award.

In July 2012, PSC hosted its first annual Florida Master Teacher Seminar. Thirty-two faculty representing 21 Florida College System institutions attended this unique, retreat-like seminar.

Pensacola State College received the first annual Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine in November 2012.

The College began 2013 by unveiling a new logo reflecting Pensacola State College's name change and beautiful coastal area.

In April 2013, PSC hosted the largest-ever Florida SkillsUSA State Conference, drawing more than 6,500 participants. 

PSC Visual Arts Professor Bill Clover received the U.S. President's Call to Service Lifetime Achievement Award for contributing more than 7,000 hours of volunteer service to Manna Food Pantries.

PSC Performing Arts Instructor Kadisha Onalbayeva was named an International Steinway Artist and performed on the legendary Steinway & Sons Horowitz piano in the North American tour. 

In September 2013, PSC celebrated its 65th anniversary as the oldest college in the area and launched a new Alumni Affairs office to better serve the College's more than 96,000 graduates.

PSC welcomed the opening of a stunning 13,500-square-foot facility to house the PACE Center for Girls in fall 2013 - the only PACE Center in Florida located on a college campus.

In June 2014, PSC and the University of West Florida launched the PSC2UWF partnership to better facilitate students who complete an associate degree from PSC and transfer to UWF to complete a bachelor's degree.

PSC opened the first outdoor gallery of its kind with a 15X20 foot reproduction of the Dutch masterpiece, "Girl with a Pearl Earring," in summer 2014.

At the national ADDY awards in the summer of 2014, Pensacola State College student Libby Castellani received a gold award and student Blake Jones received a silver award.

The Lamar, Reilly, and Switzer families presented a $1 million gift for construction of the Charles W. Lamar Studio at PSC's Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts. 

Acclaimed National Geographic photographer, Steve McCurry, displayed 74 large format photographs in a first-ever, four-month solo exhibit at the Switzer Gallery.

In January 2015, PSC and the University of West Florida entered a partnership to admit select students from PSC's Bachelor of Applied Science degree program into UWF's Master of Business Administration or Master of Science in Administration, Health Care Administration Track.

After 18 years coaching the Lady Pirates softball team, Brenda Pena retired at the end of the 2015 season with 891 wins. She had coached the team since 1997 and held the distinction of being the first athlete signed to play for PSC’s inaugural softball team in 1981. 

In June 2015, the Molly McGuire Culinary Arts Dining Room was dedicated in memory of Molly McGuire, a beloved restaurateur known for her unmatched hospitality. 

Visual Arts Professor Bill Clover began his 50th year teaching at the College in August 2015. An award-winning artist, Clover was the longest serving faculty member in the history of Pensacola State.   

In January 2016, PSC received approval from the Florida Board of Education to offer another baccalaureate degree program, the Bachelor of Applied Science in Cybersecurity, designed around industry and Department of Homeland Security standards. 

In spring 2016, Pensacola State’s Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing program became the first in this region to earn accreditation from two national agencies, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). 

In summer 2016, PSC held the 35th Annual Summer Dance Workshop, drawing more than 100 students from across the nation for the week-long seminar featuring an acclaimed professional dance faculty.

At the 2016 national ADDY awards, Pensacola State College students Amber Sidner and Zach Blessing each won silver awards.

In 2016, dental hygiene faculty member Donna Mathias was awarded the Margaret Moore Nickelsen Endowed Teaching Chair.

In 2016, dental hygiene faculty member Barbara Tarwater was awarded the Mary Ekdahl Smart Endowed Teaching Chair.

In December 2016, the White House TechHire Initiative added Pensacola, with Pensacola State College leading the way, to a national program that promotes access to well-paying technology jobs.

In January 2017, Pensacola State College’s Virtual Tutoring Program was awarded the prestigious national Bellwether Award in the category of Instructional Programs and Services.

In February 2017, Visual Arts students won 52 of 94 ADDY Awards in the regional college and university competition, including 19 gold, 30 silver, and three Judges’ Choice awards. In the Professional category, Mark Hopkins, Graphic Design Instructor, won a silver award.

In February 2017, PSC president Ed Meadows was awarded the Leadership in Education Award during the Greater Pensacola Chamber’s 57th annual PACE Awards.

In November 2017, Military Times included Pensacola State College in its Military Times Best Colleges 2018 list.

In October 2017, Pensacola State and Florida State University Panama City launched Direct Connect - PSC to FSU Panama City, allowing Pensacola State students easier access to the university's four-year bachelor's degree program.

In fall 2017, Pensacola State was ranked as one of the best colleges - regionally and nationally - by U.S. News and World Report. Published annually, the report ranks more than 1,400 private and public colleges and universities. In the "Best Colleges 2018 Edition”, Pensacola State tied for 4th in Top Public Schools-Regional Colleges-South - the highest ranked college in Florida. Pensacola State also ranked No. 28 in overall Best Regional Colleges South. Among national colleges and universities, Pensacola State ranked No. 11 in Best Schools for Veterans and No. 147 in Best Undergraduate Engineering Programs.

In December 2017, Pensacola State was named a 2018 Military Friendly School by Victory Media - the ninth consecutive year Pensacola State received the designated award for U.S. colleges and universities. 

In January 2018, Pensacola State's Century Mobile Welding Program was named a Top 10 finalist for the 2018 National Bellwether Awards.

In January 2018, PSC was awarded a Florida Job Growth Grant Fund Workforce Training Grant of $1.86 million from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.  A collaboration with FloridaWest, the Escambia County School District, and CareerSource Escarosa, the project was intended to increase the attainment of industry-recognized credentials and degrees required to enter and advance in the workforce. 

In February 2018, Pensacola State Visual Arts students won 24 gold, 50 silver and two Judges' Choice awards during the regional college and university ADDY competition.

In February 2018, the Charles W. Lamar Studio at the Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts opened with a grand celebration to thank the Lamar, Reilly, and Switzer families for their continued support of Pensacola State. Their generous donations allowed Pensacola State's Visual Arts center to become the preeminent art gallery and institutional facility in Northwest Florida. 

In 2018, Pensacola State College Athletic Director Bill Hamilton was inducted into the Florida College System Activities Association Hall of Fame.  Hamilton has worked in collegiate athletics for more than 35 years. Twenty-nine of those years have been at Pensacola State where Hamilton was head baseball coach before retiring in 2010. He has served as the College’s athletic director since 1999.

In February 2018, Pensacola State College’s Veterinary Technology program received full accreditation from the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Committee on Veterinary Technical Education and Activities.

On April 6, 2018, Gov. Rick Scott signed HB 75/Military Assistance Bill which authorized Pensacola State College to waive fees for active duty military students using tuition assistance. Florida College System institutions, including Pensacola State College, were allowed to use the U. S. Department of Defense Military Tuition Assistance program to waive any portion of fees for student activities and services, financial aid, technology, and capital improvements.

In April 2018, six Pensacola State College visual arts students earned three gold and five silver awards at the 57th Annual 4th District American Advertising Awards Gala in Orlando. Kelly Bestgen won two gold awards while Alicia Kanuck won one gold award. The two automatically advanced to the 2018 national competition.

In April and May 2018, Pensacola State College hosted the 2018 SkillsUSA Florida State Leadership and Skills Conference. The conference, along with the Worlds of Possibilities Career Expo, was held at the Pensacola Bay Center. The event attracted more than 6,000 visitors and had a $3.8 million impact on the local economy. The College also will host the state SkillsUSA conferences in 2018 and 2019.

In June 2018, Pensacola State College received notification from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges of a reaffirmation of accreditation.

In June 2018, PSC graduate Kelly Bestgen was awarded a silver medal at the national American Advertising Awards.

In summer 2018, Pensacola State College students won two gold medals and three bronze medals at the national SkillsUSA competition.

In July 2018, the U.S. Department of Education listed Pensacola State College as a best value among public four-year colleges and universities for the seventh consecutive year.  Pensacola State was ranked 37th on the list of institutions cited for the lowest tuition in the U.S. Department of Education’s College Affordability and Transparency annual report.

In August 2018, the late Carl Duke, former head of Pensacola State’s Visual Arts department, bequeathed a sizable portion of his art collection to the College.  More than 400 pieces were donated to Pensacola State with the stipulation the artwork be used to help visual arts students further their education. Pieces from the collection were available during the Bill Clover Memorial Auction held in October in the Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts.

In August 2018, Pensacola State College announced plans to offer a Commercial Vehicle Driver program.

In August 2018, Pensacola State College received nearly $40,000 to help students pay for the cost of higher education.  A majority of the scholarship dollars ─ $27,220 ─ were donated by Florida Blue, the Helios Education First Generation Scholars program, and Bank of America’s Dream Makers First Generation Scholars program.

September 10-14, 2018, Pensacola State College celebrated the 70th anniversary of its opening with activities on all of the College’s campuses and centers.  September 13, 1948, was the official opening date of the College which began in the Aiken Boarding House on the corner of Palafox and Cervantes Streets with 136 students. Today, the College has grown to three campuses – Pensacola, Milton and Warrington – and three centers – Century, Downtown and South Santa Rosa.  More than 100,000 graduates have earned degrees or certificates from the College and over 1 million students have been enrolled in credit or non-credit courses during the College’s history.

In September 2018, Pensacola State College student Jennifer Ojeda was selected the Florida College System Chancellor’s Clark Maxwell Scholar of the Month.  The award recognizes outstanding Florida College System students who demonstrate leadership skills, academic success or commitment to community service.

In October 2018, Pensacola State College became part of Pathway USA, a collaborative program between the University of South Alabama and select community and state colleges to create a seamless transition to USA for transfer students who earn an associate’s degree. Pensacola State is the first Florida College System institution to join the program.

On October 20, 2018, Pensacola State College’s Century Center held the inaugural Century Classic at Showalter Park in Century.  Former PSC and Major League Baseball players, Bill Sadler and Greg Litton, along with Escambia County District 5 Commissioner Steven Barry were special guests.

In October 2018, Pensacola State College’s Century Center started a community garden for the residents of Century and the surrounding areas.

In November 2018, ground was broken for the $13 million east wing of Pensacola State College’s new STEM building. The east wing will house the College’s cybersecurity programs and the Mathematics Lab. The total cost for the entire facility is projected to be $34 million.

In November 2018, Pensacola State College was among four Florida College System institutions recognized for innovation and excellence by FCS Chancellor Madeline Pumariega and was awarded a 2018 Chancellor’s Best Practice Award for the Virtual Tutoring Program. 

In November 2018, Pensacola State College was awarded a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women (OVW).  OVW’s Grant to Reduce Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking on Campus Program supports initiatives to implement comprehensive, coordinated responses to violent crimes on campus through partnerships with victim services providers and justice agencies.

In December 2018, the Gulf Power Foundation pledged $150,000 to Pensacola State College to help establish training for nonprofit organizations’ professional staffs and boards.  The first $30,000 donation will be used to develop Certified Fund Raising Executive courses on funding diversification, board development, grant writing, comprehensive campaigns, and donor-centered proposals and presentations.

In December 2018, Pensacola State President Ed Meadows was tapped to join the Governor-elect Ron DeSantis and Lt. Governor-elect Jeanette Nuñez Transition Advisory Committee on Education and Workforce Development.

In January 2019, painting and drawing faculty member Paula Work was awarded the Anna Lamar Switzer Endowed Teaching Chair.

In January 2019, Pensacola State College was named a 2019-2020 Military Friendly School - Bronze by Victory Media.

In January of 2019, U.S. News and World Report ranked PSC Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing degree #114 in the nation and #10 in Florida in the category of Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. 

In January 2019, The Kilgore Review, the College’s literary magazine, and The Corsair, PSC’s student newspaper, won numerous awards at the Florida College System Publications Association Awards.

In February 2019, PSC students received 27 gold awards, 29 silver awards, one best-of-show award, and one Judges’ Choice award at the 2019 regional ADDY awards. 

In February 2019, 10 of Pensacola State’s most-accomplished Pirates were inducted into the College’s Athletics Hall of Fame. Making up the inaugural  class were 2019 inductees Joel Anthony, former Pirates basketball player and two-time NBA champion; the late Mary Bailey, former softball coach whose team won 1988 NJCAA Division I National Championship; William “Bill” Brantley, former PSC professor and longtime Pirates booster; Jim Donovan, former PSC golf coach who led team to 1993 NJCAA Division II National Championship; Charles Fairchild, member of PSC 1962-63 first championship basketball team and charter member of the PSC Athletic Program Boosters; Dana Gilmore, former softball player and most-decorated female athlete in PSC history; Dennis Lindsey, PSC’s first full-time assistant coach and current executive vice president of basketball operations for the Utah Jazz; Greg Litton, former PSC baseball player and 1989 World Series champion; Bob Marlin, former PSC basketball coach who led Pirates to 1993 NJCAA National Championship; and the late William “Bill” McArthur, longtime PSC basketball supporter and table coordinator at College for 42 years.

In March 2019, the University of West Florida and Pensacola State College launched a redesigned and extended PSC2UWF program, which features new benefits. PSC2UWF created a more accessible, streamlined pathway for students to transfer from PSC and earn a bachelor’s degree from UWF. The new agreement also includes a reverse transfer option for PSC and gives students access to a personalized UWF degree audit to track their progress toward earning a bachelor's degree while pursuing an associate degree at PSC. 

In May 2019, eight successful Pensacola State alumni were recognized at the College’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni Awards.Building on Tradition – Investing in the Future” was the theme of the inaugural event where alumni were recognized in five categories. Denis McKinnon, Sr., was the recipient of the Spirit of Pensacola Award. Steve Olesky received the Rising Star Award. Lifetime Achievement awards were presented to Gary A. DeLapp and Jarl “J.T.” Young. Hometown Heroes awards were presented to Cherry Fitch and Chip Simmons. Against the Odds awards were presented to Barry Cole and Thomas Vaughn. 

In May 2019, the Gary A. DeLapp Alumni Scholarship was established by family, friends and colleagues of the hotel executive and 2019 Distinguished Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.

In May 2019, the Aspire Higher Scholarship was established by 2019 Distinguished Alumni Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Jarl “J.T.” and Deidre Young. The Young's $12,500 pledge gift was matched the PSC Foundation.

In May 2019, Delta Kappa Alpha Fraternity in partnership with the PSC Alumni Association agreed to raise funds for the Delta Kappa Alpha Scholarship. Fraternity members raised more than the initial $12,500 goal which was matched by the PSC Alumni Association Scholarship Matching Fund.

In May 2019, the Edward Meadows Meritorious Scholarship was established by PSC President Ed Meadows.

In May 2019, Baptist Health Care Foundation provided $15,000 in scholarship funds for PSC students who are enrolled in the emergency medical technician program. The gift is a three-year commitment to fund five $1,000 scholarships each year.

In June 2019, a facelift of the College’s Planetarium and Space was completed. Renovations started in 2017 with the repainting of the 40-foot diameter dome. Along with the dome – which was repainted by Astro-Tec Manufacturing, computerized LED lighting, a state-of-the-art surround sound system, new seating, carpeting and a computerized control console were included in the upgrades.

In July 2019, Pensacola State College’s RN to BSN program was ranked at No. 4 in Florida by RegisteredNursing.org, a nursing advocacy organization.

In August 2019, Monsanto-Solutia retirees donated $30,000 to PSC to establish the Monsanto-Solutia Retirees Endowed Scholarship fund. The scholarships will be awarded to students with a Monsanto, Solutia or Ascend connection, Ascend employees enrolled in programs to enhance job skills, students enrolled in a health care program, or chemical engineering students.

In August 2019, Pensacola State College received a $100,000 donation from Dona and Milton Usry to establish the Dona and Milton Usry Endowed Accounting Scholarship for full- or part-time students majoring in the field of accounting.

In August 2019, Pensacola State College alumnus Denis McKinnon Sr., along with his son, Denis McKinnon, Jr., and Wade Wilson – on behalf of Veterans National Homecare – donated $5,000 in scholarship funds to Pensacola State for first generation in college students. The organization also will donate $5,000 in 2020 and 2021.

In September 2019, the College started a Commercial Vehicle Driver Vocational Certificate Program. When students complete the 320-hour course, they are equipped with the tools needed to earn a Florida Class A Commercial Driver’s License.

In September 2019, the Irish Politicians Club, a social club based at McGuire’s Irish Pub, donated $35,000 to the College for the Molly McGuire Culinary Arts Endowed Scholarship fund which began in June 2015. McGuire Martin also donated $25,000 to the scholarship fund named for his late wife, Molly McGuire, who died in 2014. The endowment principal now is more than $300,000.

In September 2019, Sandy Sansing Universal Scholars were announced. The 2019 scholars were Cynthia Aceto, Elizabeth Askfeldt, Tabitha Cooper, Bethel Goodwin, Darriell Jones, Laura Shiver, Amelia Maltibia, Regina Young and Rajah Zulla.

In October 2019, Pensacola State College was named the beneficiary of a $2.4 million Charitable Remainder Unitrust (CRUT) established by Ron and Jan Miller. Based upon the terms and conditions of the trust agreement, the PSC Foundation is the sole beneficiary of the remainder in the trust.

In November 2019, Military Times included Pensacola State College in its 2020 Best for Vets Schools list. The college was 100th among 134 ranked four-year universities and colleges. Academic achievement rates and other factors that make colleges and universities a good fit for service members, veterans and their families also are considered in the list.

In November 2019, The Corsair student newspaper placed second in the General Excellence category and won several other awards at the 2019 Florida College System Publications Awards Conference. The Kilgore Review, the literary magazine, also placed second in the General Excellence category and won numerous other awards.

During fall 2019, new Pensacola State College digital signs were installed at the corner of Ninth Avenue and Underwood Street on the Pensacola campus and on U.S. 98 on the Warrington campus.

In January 2020, Pensacola State College renamed the PSC Board of Trustees Room the Dona and Milton Usry Board Room. A portrait of the Usrys also was unveiled in the College’s Hall of Honor in Building 7.

In January 2020, Pensacola State College’s online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Program was listed among the best in Florida and nation by U.S. News and World Report for the second consecutive year. In the “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs 2020 Edition” listing, the College’s online BSN program was ranked third among Florida College System institutions. Pensacola State also tied for 9th with Florida Atlantic University among Florida colleges and universities and was ranked 73rd in the United States.

In February 2020, five legends were inducted into the Pensacola State College’s Athletics Hall of Fame. The 2020 inductees were Doug Bates, former baseball player, recipient of 1998 Lea Plarski Award and past president of the PSC Foundation; Vicki Carson, former Lady Pirates women’s basketball coach whose team won 1985 FCAA State Championship and was named 1985 FCAA Coach of the Year; Dr. Donn Peery, former athletic director and military veteran; Brenda Peña, former softball player, former head softball coach and 2003 Panhandle Conference Coach of the Year; and Dan Shugart, longtime PSC athletic supporter and WEAR-TV 3 sports director.

In February 2020, Pensacola State College was acknowledged as a top school for military veterans. The College was named one of 625 “Military Friendly Schools” for 2020-2021 by VIQTORY, a veteran-owned company that connects former military members to civilian employment and educational opportunities.

In summer 2020, Pensacola State College implemented Phase 1 of Workday, an Enterprise Resource Planning system to replace the College's Financial Records System and Student System. College administrators, faculty, and staff underwent training throughout June. On July 1, the College's Financial Records Systems and Payroll and Human Resource package went live. The Phase 2 implementation will begin in Fall 2020 and start the process of replacing the Student System (eRosters, eAdvising, eManagement, Spyglass).