Hall of Fame
The purpose of the TCC Alumni and Friends Hall of Fame is to recognize alumni and friends of TCC who meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Professional Achievement: exceptional accomplishment in a chosen field
- Service to Society: exceptional service at the local, state or national level
- Service and Support to TCC: exceptional service in support of the advancement and continued excellence of TCC
The Hall of Fame was reactivated as part of the College’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2016. The class of 2016 included 10 individuals, one family and members of the College’s first Advisory Council and original District Board of Trustees. During the induction ceremony our new Alumni and Friends Hall of Fame Wall was unveiled.
Nominations to the TCC Alumni and Friends Hall of Fame are sought from the entire community each year. We seek to honor those who have met or exceeded the criteria listed above. Nominations are open in the spring each year. They can be submitted here.
Meet Our Hall of Fame Members
TCC Original Advisory Committee and First District Board of Trustees
The idea to establish a two-year college in Tallahassee was first generated by a group of school administrators and concerned citizens in 1964, and by the fall of 1966, the institution then known as Tallahassee Junior College had begun offering classes. As early as the fall of 1965, an Advisory Committee provided guidance to the superintendent and the Leon County Board of Public Instruction regarding personnel, curricula, finance and the general operation of the College. Perhaps the most important of their tasks was to suggest qualifications and to review candidates for the job of president of the College.
In 1968, responsibility for administering the College was transferred to the newly created District Board of Trustees, appointed by the governor. That body has continued to govern the College since that time.
The individuals who made up the original Advisory Committee and the first District Board of Trustees were Julian Alford, Murden M. Ashcroft, Ruth Chapman, Sam Cunningham, Leo L. Foster, Earl Lambert, Charlie Macon, John A. Madigan, Jack O. McMillan, John S. Pigott Jr., Aubrey Lee Porter, Harry G. Smith and J. Edwin White.
These men and women were instrumental in shaping what is today one of the most outstanding community colleges in the nation. Their dedication to task, belief in the importance of expanding educational opportunities and sheer perseverance in the face of such a monumental task make them more than worthy of this honor.
Director TCC Library Services, Retired
Cherry Ann Hall Alexander began her journey with TCC in 1970. While attending TCC, she worked as a student assistant in administration, later in the library and the first African-American switchboard operator at TCC. After graduating from TCC Cherry graduated from FSU with a B. S. and M.L.S. degrees. After graduation, Cherry worked at FSU as a LTA I and II, Librarian and Dept. Head at the State Library, Legislative Analyst in the Florida House of Representatives, Librarian with Jacksonville Public Libraries, and Dept. Chair/Director with Florida Community College at Jacksonville. She returned to TCC as Director of Library Service, retiring in 2009. Cherry is the founder of the Cherry Hall Alexander African-American History Calendar and has a TCC scholarship named in her honor.
Retired Seaport Manager
Florida Department of Transportation
Lorenzo Alexander graduated from TCC in 1973, with an A. A. degree in Civil Engineering Technology.
He then attended and graduated from FAMU with a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering Technology. Lorenzo began a career with the Florida Department of Transportation in 1973 and retired in 2008, after 35 years of service. He worked with DOT as an Engineer I, II, and III while pursuing his degree at FAMU. After graduation, Lorenzo became a Public Transportation Specialist, Planning Administrator for District II, District Public Transportation Manager. Eventually Lorenzo rose to the position of Seaport Manager with the responsibility of grants and planning for all seaports in the State of Florida. Lorenzo is now volunteering to help others and enjoying retirement.
Leslie Battiste went on to complete her bachelor’s degree at FSU in Mass Communications after graduating from TCC. Believing one’s education should be ongoing, she has returned to TCC for various publishing-related seminars and a computer programming course in 1987. Leslie trained at Auburn University in method and work measurement. Leslie courage and willingness to overcome obstacles has been enhanced by dealing with the lifelong challenges of living with cerebral palsy. Her supervisor of 25 years characterizes Leslie’s work with the written word as brilliant and says her work generates donations that exceed all other forms of fund raising at Goodwill. In 2001, Leslie was featured in various media as a Goodwill International Success Story. She left Goodwill in 2010 to open Leslie Communications.
Stanley James Brainerd
Designated Professional Lobbyist
Stanley James Brainerd was one of the earliest graduates of TCC, earning an associate degree in 1970. He went on to undergraduate and law school at Florida State University. Jim spent 10 years each as the vice president and general counsel of the Florida Chamber of Commerce and then the Florida Association of Insurance Agents. At both organizations he was responsible for legislative issues. Jim now has his own law firm specializing in lobbying and holds the designation of certified professional lobbyist from the Florida Association of Professional Lobbyists.
Jim served on the former TCC alumni association board of directors for 10 years, including a term as president. During the College’s 40th anniversary celebration, he was instrumental in securing more than $50,000 in funding for the event as vice president for resource development of the association’s board.
PCA Family Health Plan
Janegale Boyd, executive director for PCA Family Health, an HMO, has over 18 years of experience in health care management. Her nursing experience includes Head Nurse of the Cardiology Unit at Tallahassee Memorial Regional Medical Center and Head Nurse of the Intensive Care Unit at Columbia HCA Tallahassee Community Hospital. Janegale chairs the Advisory Committee for the TCC Nursing Program and has served on the committee since 1977, just two years after her graduation from the program.
Carol Dollar Burch
State Medicaid Contract Manager
Government Relations Dept.
Carol Dollar Burch, Medicaid contract manager with PCA, graduated from TCC in 1969. Known as Deenie in college, she was the first Miss TJC. As Regional Coordinator of the Big Bend Regional Emergency Medical Services System from 1974 to 1977, Carol was part of a team that implemented this area’s first 911 emergency response system. At the same time, she helped in the development of TCC’s EMT program.
Member of the Florida Public Service Commission and Pastor of Beulah Hill Missionary Baptist Church.
Lawyer, pastor, author, government official, and Public Service Commissioner, Matthew got his start when he volunteered for the Army out of high school in Georgia. He served with the Presidential Honor Guard in Washington, D.C., and the First Armored Division in Germany. In 1975, when Matthew enrolled at TCC, he was part of a wave of veterans resuming their careers in the wake of Viet Nam. Matthew graduated with honors and went on to Florida State for his B.S. and, ultimately, his law degree.
Matthew is a member of the FAMU Board of Trustees and former member of the Florida Board of Governors; has run his own public relations firm, worked as a financial consultant, and authored “The 90% Rule: How to Get Out of Debt and Prosper.” He is the retired senior pastor of Beulah Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Gretna. With his wife, Rita, they lead Christian Missions to the Holy Land and other nations. His elder daughter, Pearl, is a former president of TCC’s Student Government Association and younger daughter Markesha is also a graduate. After all, he said, TCC is “a family environment."
Secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Colleen Castille’s excellence as a public servant is well established. After stints at the Departments of Insurance and Education, she became Chief Cabinet Aide to Gov. Jeb Bush, specializing in environmental issues. This led to her appointment as Secretary of the Department of Community Affairs, where Colleen supervised community growth and rehabilitation, disaster planning, local and state comprehensive planning, and affordable housing provisions. In 2004, she was named to her current post, overseeing Florida’s environmental regulatory and law enforcement programs, the acquisition and management of public lands – including Florida’s award-winning state parks – and the development and regulation of water resources.
Colleen is a strong supporter of community colleges. She gave the commencement address at TCC’s Spring 2005 graduation ceremony. Sec. Castille and her husband, Georgia businessman Jesse Bostick, love hiking and kayaking in Florida’s wilderness.
Lynette Clark was born in Honolulu, Hawaii and later moved to Quincy, Florida where she received her TCC Challenge Prepaid Scholarship while in 10th grade as a student at Quincy Shanks High School.
In 1998, because of dual enrollment courses Lynette graduated from both high school and TCC in the same month. She was the Shanks valedictorian for that year.
Lynette was TCC's first Challenge Scholarship recipient to complete a four-year degree after her graduation in April 2002; a degree in industrial engineering from The Florida State University. She then enrolled in the Master's program in Industrial Engineering at FSU.
Former Chief of Police and Assistant City Manager, Tallahassee
Former Tallahassee Police Chief Tom Coe believes education is a lifelong pursuit. Starting with the excellent foundation he received at TCC, Tom transferred to FSU for his bachelor’s and master’s degrees and benefited from specialized training at the nation’s leading law enforcement academies. Significantly, throughout his career, he has sought or accepted opportunities for specialized training at the nation’s best law enforcement facilities, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy and the Senior Management Institute for Police, co-sponsored by the Harvard Business School. Tom began his career at TPD in 1972 and eventually rose to the rank of Chief. After 25 years in law enforcement he then served as the Tallahassee Assistant City Manager for 17 years; overseeing the police and fire departments, parks and recreation, and neighborhoods and community services. Tom retired from the city in May, 2014.
Florida Public Service Commission, Retired
Lee is a 1969 graduate of Tallahassee Junior College and a graduate of Florida Agriculture and Mechanical University.
Lee Colson retired from the Florida Public Service Commission on June 30, 2008, after 27 years as a Utilities System Engineer. Also during that time he worked as an Adjunct Professor at Florida A&M University, Tallahassee, Florida. From September 1976 to March 1981, Lee was employed by WFSU-TV, Florida State University, as a Radio/ Television Engineer. Lee also served in the US Navy (1970-1974 enlisted, 1974-1979 reserve). Lee is active in his Church (New Mt Zion AME), serving on the Trustee and Usher boards. Lee hobbies include House and build designs, raising beef cattle, and fishing.
L. Finley Cook
Cook Brothers, Inc.
Finley Cook is co-owner and operator of Cook Brothers (CBI) in Midway, Florida, a general contracting company in Gadsden County for the last 30 years. CBI has done several project for TCC on all campuses located in the tri-county area over the last 16 years.
Finley served as a Commissioner for the City of Quincy from 2002-2011, acting as mayor his last year, and he has worked hard to improve the quality of life for all Quincy residents. In addition, Finley has volunteered on many community boards and has been part of community organizations. He currently serves as treasurer of his church; a position he has held for the past 14 years.
Finley is married to Donna (Sheffield) Cook, who is also a TCC graduate.
Laurie Lawson Cox
Physical Education Teacher
Laurie Lawson Cox is currently a physical education teacher at Roberts Elementary School in Tallahassee. After graduating from TCC and Auburn, she taught and coached in Augusta Georgia for 3 years before returning to Tallahassee. She met and married Dr. T Alan Cox (former Principal at Chiles High School) and they have one son, Lee. All three attended and graduated from TCC. Laurie has taught for 31 years and has worked on writing curriculum, developing standards, working with DOE on teacher certification exams, is involved in the state organization for health and physical education, and has lobbied on behalf of physical education and health issues. Laurie has also been involved teaching at her church with youth and college aged students, has volunteered as a basketball coach and referee with Upward Basketball, and has spent many summers working at a summer camp in North Carolina (Camp Crestridge for Girls); speaking, playing the piano, as music director, and working with campers and college aged staffers.
Retired Pharmacist, past TCC Foundation Board member
Thomas Cumbie grew up in Gadsden County, started at Florida State University in 1949 and graduated with a degree in geology in 1952. He joined the Air Force and later enrolled in pharmacy school at the University of Florida. Tom then returned to his Gadsden County roots and joined his father working as a pharmacist in a drug store in Quincy.
Tom raised a family and stayed active in his community. He served on the Northwest Florida Regional Authority Housing Board after an appointment by then Governor Rubin Askew in 1978, a commitment he maintains to this day.
After selling the pharmacy in 1989, Tom became involved with Tallahassee Community College. He served on the TCC Foundation Board of Directors for 12 years, including a stint as president. Tom also served on the presidential search committee that recommended William Law be hired as the fifth president of TCC. Tom passed away in October 2016 just after his induction into the Hall of Fame.
W. Tom Cumbie
Raised in Quincy, Florida, Col. Cumbie distinguished himself as an officer, attorney, and member of the judiciary. He supervised all courts-martial activity and judiciary personnel in the USAF Eastern Circuit. Col. Cumbie attended Robert F. Munroe Day School, a small private school in Quincy, before heading to TCC and then Florida State University, where he earned his Bachelor’s and law degrees. “It would have been a little daunting for me to go straight to FSU,” he said.
He served as a staff attorney for the Florida Senate after graduating from law school. Col. Cumbie has won numerous citations, including the Meritorious Service Medal with 5 oak leaf clusters.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Inspector General, Retired
Al Dennis entered TCC in the fall of 1970 with an eye on a future in law enforcement. He earned an associate degree and went on to Florida State University, earning a bachelor’s degree in criminology. After a brief stint with the Tallahassee Police Department, Al started his 31-year career with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, where he went on to serve as Drug Abuse Resistance Education statewide coordinator, special agent supervisor and administrator of public information. He was FDLE’s inspector general from 2004 until retiring in 2014.
Al served on the former TCC alumni association board of directors for many years, where he helped raise awareness and funding on behalf of the College. He was also selected by President Jim Murdaugh to serve as a committee member for the inaugural TCC Annual Law Enforcement Black History Month Celebration and Recognition Program Breakfast.
Director, Division of Emergency Services and Community Support
Florida Department of Health
Since 2014 Cindy Dick has served as the Director of the Division of Emergency Service and Community Support for the Florida Department of Health. In that capacity, she was the Incident Commander for Florida’s response to the emergence of the Ebola and Zika Viruses. Additionally, Cindy was charged with the development and oversight of Florida’s Trauma System, Central Pharmacy, radiation licensing and monitoring and preparedness and response efforts for public health emergencies
Cindy began her career in fire service and was the first woman chief of the Tallahassee Fire Department. As such she was responsible for leading a staff of 280 personnel, which served nearly 300,000 citizens and respond to over 26,000 emergencies annually.
Markeal Devonte Dickey was one of Tallahassee Community College’s most distinguished and promising young alumni. Markeal epitomized service to society and love for his community by giving generously of his time and talents to many organizations. At TCC, Markeal was a member of the Global Gateway Program, a writer for the
student newspaper, and an editor for the
art and literary magazine. He was also a member of several community organizations, including the Boys Choir of Tallahassee and Distinguished Young Gentlemen of America.
Many people benefited from the heart and soul of this great young leader and humanitarian. As one of Markeal’s fellow students on the Eyrie staff said, “He left a strong impression of a young man with the ability to imagine a greater future for himself and those around him.” Upon receiving his associate degree in May 2015, Markeal enrolled at Florida State University. Tragically, he passed away soon afterwards.
M. Rony Francois
Secretary of the Florida Department of Health
Truly a Renaissance man, Dr. M. Rony Francois has two Master’s degrees, an M.D. and a Ph.D., was a professional athlete, speaks three languages and holds the patent on a medical device. Last fall he became the first Haitian-American to head a Florida state agency, charged with responding to all threats to the public health, including terrorism and natural disaster. Before his appointment, Rony directed the public health program at the University of South Florida’s College of Public Health.
Rony emigrated from his native Port-au-Prince to attend TCC in 1979. His first visit to the College in 25 years was last December, as keynote speaker at a pinning ceremony for the School of Nursing, where he exhorted graduates to practice preventive health care as well as preach it. Rony and his wife, Joelle, have three children.
Medical Malpractice and Health Law Attorney
Cynthia Simmons Fletcher has not one but two degrees from TCC. The first, in Nursing, launched her into the psychiatric and emergency trauma units at Tallahassee Memorial. After being pulled as a witness into several lawsuits, she concluded that the legal profession knew little of what went on in the trenches of a hospital and returned to TCC for her Associate in Arts in route to law school.
Today Cynthia practices at Pennington, Moore, Wilkinson, Bell and Dunbar, specializing in medical malpractice and health law. In 2004, she was appointed to the Governor’s Workgroup on Mammography Accessibility for the State of Florida. Cynthia maintains her nursing license via continuing education. She and her husband Charlie and their one son live in Orlando, FL. She belongs to First Presbyterian Church and the Junior League of Orlando.
Mike Gillespie, Jr.
Assistant Men’s Basketball Coach, Florida A & M University
Coach Mike Gillespie, Jr., has thoroughly absorbed the values of Coach Mike Gillespie, Sr.: athletic and academic excellence. While Gillespie Sr. directed the TCC men's basketball program – for eleven successful seasons prior to departing for Florida A&M University in 2001 – unprecedented numbers of his athletes went on to continue their education at four-year universities. One was Mike Jr., who was TCC’s Scholar Athlete of the Year in 1993. At Morehead State University in Kentucky, where he earned his B.A., he was the Presidential Scholar Athlete Award Winner for 1994.
The younger Gillespie began his coaching career at TCC in 1995 and went on to successful stints at Thomas College and Mercer University. At Mercer, he turned the team around from 4-23 the year before his arrival to 23-6. In 2002, he joined his father at FAMU as assistant coach, where the team quickly set a season record for victories and won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship in 2004.
Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services
Glenda Guess, a 1976 graduate, is Comptroller of the Florida Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services. She worked as administrative secretary to the Dean of Instruction at TCC while attending classes part time. As a C.P.A., Glenda held key accounting and financial positions at the Department of Transportation, Department of Community Affairs, and the Office of Auditor General before joining the HRS leadership in 1994.
Florida Dept. of Agriculture, Retired
Richard is now retired from the Florida Department of Agriculture. He is doing consulting work for those disabled and helping Commercial Fisherman stay in compliance with the law. He spends his spare time at the coast fishing and loves training his Grand National bred English Cocker Spaniel, Bradley. Richard’s time at T.C.C. led him to F.S.U. and a Bachelors Degree in Political Science. Richard's favorite quote is from Zig Zigler who said "You can have anything in life you want, if you only help other people get what they want". Richard still calls Tallahassee home. He has one daughter, Ellie, who lives in Tallahassee also.
Leon County Property Appraiser, Retired
Bert Hartsfield retired as Leon County’s Property Appraiser in December, 2016 after have served for more than twenty-four years. Bert has achieved status as both a Certified Florida Evaluator and Certified Florida Appraiser, designations deemed by the Department of Revenue as the highest certifications in property assessment. He has been recognized with multiple awards through work and has an active career of service to the community. Bert has been awarded the International Association of Assessing Officers 1996 Distinguished Assessment Jurisdiction award and International Association of Assessing Officers 1996 Public Information Award.
Glee Hollander served as the head of Gerontology for Florida State Hospital in Chattahoochee and operated a part-time private psychology practice in Tallahassee. Glee received her A.A. degree at TCC in 1976 and continued her education at Florida State University and the University of Washington, School of Medicine. Glee obtained her doctorate in clinical psychology in 1990 from FSU. Glee’s work was published in various journals and she was considered a distinguished and dedicated advocate for the elderly, both personally and professionally. Glee passed away in October, 2015.
Chief Executive Officer
North Carolina Crisis Assistance Ministry
Carol Hughes was a recipient of the Faculty Senate Academic Scholarship at TCC in 1979. She continued with her education and graduated cum laude as a math and computer science major from Furman University in South Carolina. Carol has excelled in the corporate business world, the private non-profit field, in civic and church endeavors, and her community. Carol continues to be involved in charitable organizations and received the Martin Luther King “Keeper of the Dream” award and the Habitat for Humanity Church Coordinator and “One Nail at a Time” award.
David C. Jones
President and Founder, Florida Disabled Outdoors Association
David C. Jones is known around the state as president of the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association.
David earned his A.A. degree from TCC in 1976. Later, after rehabilitation following a traumatic brain injury, he graduated from Florida State University.
David has turned his challenges into a personal commitment to help others. In the process of his own rehabilitation, he became aware of the importance of recreation for improving physical, mental, emotional, social and occupational well-being.
David founded the Florida Disabled Outdoors Association in 1990. The FDOA has provided thousands of individuals with opportunities to participate in active leisure, and David himself has become a champion for accessibility and inclusion for people with disabilities.
A collaboration with the TCC Foundation led to a partnership with TCC to expand the very popular SportsAbility program to a multiple-day event and to a year-round program. He also developed a service learning project that provides a hands-on learning experience for TCC students as they participate in planning and facilitating SportsAbility and the Miracle Sports program. David also served on the former TCC alumni association board and is a member of the current Alumni and Friends Advisory Council.
Carolyn "Freda" King
Certified Addiction Professional
Carolyn “Freda” King has a history of turning adversity into an opportunity to help others.
Freda struggled with poverty for years before turning her life around at age 36. After earning her associate degree at TCC and a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, Freda now supervises DISC Village’s re-entry program for inmates of the Leon County Jail and provides substance abuse and life skills education for clients of Refuge House. She also shares her experiences with others as a motivational speaker, encouraging them to make positive changes in their lives.
Freda graduated from TCC with a 3.5 GPA, was TCC’s student of the year and gave the commencement address at her graduation. She has also been a TCC Women's History Month honoree and won a LeRoy Collins Distinguished Alumni Award from the Association of Florida Colleges.
In 2010, when Freda King’s soldier son was killed in Afghanistan, she and other family members created the Brandon Michael King Scholarship in his honor to help deserving students attend TCC. They have raised more than $67,000 for this scholarship that is changing the lives of students and helping them to realize their full potential.
Instructor, Tallahassee Community College
Jeff Knapp, after graduating from TCC, went on to earn a 3.98 GPA as a classics major at FSU. While at FSU, Jeff won the Rankin prize as outstanding undergraduate in the classics. From there he attended graduation school and received several fellowships, an M.A. in classics, and Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. He is currently working on a dissertation and when it is complete will have a Ph.D. in humanities from FSU. Jeff is also a teacher of Humanities, Latin and World Literature at TCC.
Managing Shareholder of Knowles and Randolph, the oldest African American law firm in North Florida
Harold Knowles, an attorney specializing in bond finance, began his career by integrating the Leon County schools as one of three black students at Leon High in 1963. He went on from TCC to Florida State University for his Bachelor’s in 1970 and his law degree in 1973, receiving the Herbert H. Lehman Foundation scholarship for his three years of law school. Today Harold is an enormously successful lawyer, a past member of the FSU Board of Trustees, and past president of the Tallahassee Barristers Association. Harold has served as the City Attorney for Gretna, Florida, for more than 25 years. Gov. Jeb Bush appointed him to the Florida Lottery Commission in 1999 and to the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission in 2001. Harold also sits on the board of the Capital City Bank and has a lifelong membership in the NAACP. He and his wife Anne have one child, Clayton, an FSU student.
Director of Promotions and Creative Services
WTWC NBC 40
Chuck Lemon is Director of Promotions and Creative Services at WTWC NBC 40 in Tallahassee. His first job in broadcasting was filming county and city commission meetings for Comcast. Charles has continued working in broadcasting in Tallahassee for the last decade at Comcast, ABC Channel 27 and NBC Channel 40. He continues to support TCC by mentoring student interns who are placed at NBC 40. Chuck is the father of two children, Zoe and Zachary.
Walter A. McNeil
Leon County, Florida
Walt McNeil joined the Tallahassee Police Department in 1979, and became Chief of Police in 1997, a position he held for 10 years. After 28 years of experience in virtually every area of police leadership, management and supervision, he was appointed Secretary of Florida’s Department of Juvenile Justice in 2007, and Secretary of the Florida Department of Corrections in 2008. Later Walt served for three years as Police Chief in Quincy. Walt was then a consultant for the Institute for Intergovernmental Research. In 2016 he was elected as Sheriff of Leon County. Walt has served as an adjunct instructor at FAMU, and serves on the Board of the International Association of Police Chiefs. He is married to Gloria and is the father of three children, Tara, Mackey and Victoria.
Terri Day Messler
Accessibility and Inclusion Coordinator
Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Recreation and Parks
Terri Messler is Accessibility and Inclusion Coordinator for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Recreation and Parks. Terri began her career in recreation as a camp counselor at Camp Indian Springs, and has continued in the recreation field in North and South Florida throughout her career. She has been very active in the Florida Recreation and Parks Association, serving as the organization’s president in 2006-07. Terri is married to David Messler and they have two children, Kathleen and David.
Karen B. Moore
Author, Speaker, and CEO and Founder of Moore Communications Group
Karen B. Moore is one of TCC's most devoted friends. She has pursued her passion for learning and helping others receive an education on behalf of TCC for more than 15 years.
Karen began her tenure at TCC in 2000 as a member of the TCC Foundation Board of Directors. She rose to the role of board president and chaired the College’s first capital campaign, which secured $10 million in support for TCC. In 2007, Karen stepped down from the Foundation Board and was appointed by the governor to the TCC District Board of Trustees, where she still serves today. In 2015-2016 she also served as chair of the TCC. We Rise campaign.
Over the years Karen and her husband Richard have established the Dream Big Scholarship for those in the TCC GED program, as well as a scholarship for returning students. Earlier this year the TCC Veterans Success Center was renamed in their honor after their generous donation. This gift also resulted in the creation of the Moore Veterans Leadership Academy.
Art Myers graduated from TCC and went on to FSU where he graduated with a B.S. in Mass Communications. His broadcasting career began in Tallahassee radio. Later, Art’s work at WTXL-TV Channel 27 caught the eye of the WCTV-Channel 6 news director, who offered Art the job of anchoring the Good Morning Show. In addition, Art produces and anchors the Eye Witness News at Noon on Channel 27. Over the past 18 years, Art has become a familiar face and voice to the people of Tallahassee and the Big Bend. Art won an Associated Press award for his “Close Encounters” animal features and is in demand as an emcee for local and area events.
Former Major League Baseball Player
Juan Padilla was a 24th round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins. He spent six seasons in the Twins' minor league system before breaking into the majors with the New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds in 2004. In 2005 Juan signed with the New York Mets where he ended his best season in the MLB with a 1.49 ERA. Juan was part of his native Puerto Rican National team in the first World Baseball Classic in 2006. As a child Juan had played Little League in Puerto Rico, but only dreamed of a career in the U.S. until he was recruited by TCC Baseball Coach Mike McLeod. “He taught me a lot,” said Juan. “I still have TCC and Coach McLeod in my heart,” he said. Juan now offers baseball lessons to young student athletes. “Making a difference for one person – it means a lot to me.”
Illuminactive Multimedia, Inc.
A leading advocate for equity in athletics for girls and women, Barbara Palmer was Women’s Athletic Director at Florida State University from 1977 to 1985. Her advice was sought often while the TCC athletic program was being developed. Barbara is a past member of the Board of Directors of the TCC Foundation, and was among the first students to attend TCC when it opened at Godby High School in 1966. At TCC, Barbara was active in student government and helped select the college’s blue and gold colors and the Eagle mascot. She is active in community organizations ranging from Project CHILD to Friends of Our Parks Foundation and is CEO of Illuminactive Multimedia, Inc.
The Pankowski Family
TCC contributors and volunteers, TCC Foundation Board member, past President
Mary and Joe Pankowski have led by example and raised their three children, Anne-Marie, Mark and Joe Jr., to give back generously and to provide important leadership. Joe Jr. and Anne-Marie are TCC graduates, both of whom went on to receive degrees from the University of Virginia School of Law. They, along with brother Mark, who graduated from Notre Dame, have been generous supporters of TCC.
Mary has served as a member of the TCC Foundation Board of Directors since 2003, including two terms as president. She was the driving force behind the creation of the New Start Scholarship, which assists young people who have gotten into trouble with the juvenile justice system. Mary and her family continue to raise funds for the scholarship, which now totals more than $350,000. The Pankowski family also helped launch the Returning Student Scholarship in conjunction with the Capital Women’s Network. In addition, family members have set aside two planned gifts that will benefit TCC students and programs well into the future.
In 2015 Mary and Joe again stepped forward to provide funding for the extensive renovation of the Honors Lounge at TCC. Their generosity, matched by the TCC President's Circle, has resulted in a modern, well-equipped learning environment for some of our best and brightest students.
Christian D'Amico Poole
Injury Prevention Coordinator
New Hanover Regional Medical Center
Tina Poole is Injury Prevention Coordinator for New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Hampstead, North Carolina. Tina creates, coordinates, markets and presents almost 300 injury prevention and safety outreach programs per year to a wide variety of audiences, and has received numerous grants for her work. Her community outreach has reached and educated more than 25,000 children and parents in the past seven years. Tina is married to Jeff Poole and they have two daughters, Mari-Katherine and Emma.
Correctional Services Administrator
Florida Department of Corrections
Originally from St. Croix, in the US Virgin Islands, Ernetta Roberts moved to Florida to pursue her education. While working on her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at FAMU, she joined the Florida Department of Corrections, and has continued her service there in various positions for the past 20 years. As Correctional Services Administrator in the Office of Citizens’ Services, Ernetta and her staff provide an avenue for the general public to obtain information and express concerns on issues related to the agency. According to Ernetta, they are “the voices and source of comfort for those who feel they have nowhere to turn.
President of Shirah Design and Construction
A self-described “poster child for the non-traditional TCC student,” Kathy Shirah learned surveying in the U.S. Army before enrolling at the College to obtain her license as an engineer. She was working, married, and had a child, so it took five years of part-time attendance to earn her A. A. degree.
Kathy worked for the State of Florida as a surveyor and engineer before hiring on as a project manager for a private firm. Today she has her own company and specializes in consulting work for new development projects in Wakulla County. She is also a longtime consultant for the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. In 2000, Kathy was appointed to the TCC District Board of Trustees, and in 2005 she became its Chair. As a Wakulla resident, Kathy helped lead the development and opening of the College’s Wakulla Center.
Florida League of Cities
Mike Sittig, who graduated in 1978, is Executive Director of the Florida League of Cities, the organization that helps promote local self-government and which serves the needs of municipal governments in Florida. While attending TCC, Mike was a reporter on the college newspaper, The Talon. His involvement in the community includes Leadership Florida, the Advisory Council on Intergovernmental Relations, and the American Society of Association Executives.
As a morning air personality on WTNT, Vic Swan has one of the most readily recognized names among radio listeners in Tallahassee and is also well known as an artist. Vic credits long-time TCC art instructor Ruth Deshaies with nurturing and encouraging his talent. He has given back to TCC through the establishment of the Brian Swan Memorial Scholarship in memory of his son who was active in theatre while attending TCC. Vic remembers the closeness of TCC in its first year at Godby.
“There was no campus in 1966 when I enrolled, but there was a friendship and a sense of purpose among the first students and faculty of TCC... and Dr. Fred Turner knew every student on a first name basis.”
Susan Payne Turner
Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer
Prime Meridian Bank
Susan Payne Turner is one of Tallahassee Community College’s most energetic and effective advocates.
Susan, who was raised in Wakulla County, has been a member of the TCC Foundation Board of Directors since 2007 and served as chair from 2013 to 2014. Her original motivation for joining the Foundation was to speak for Wakulla County students in particular, but Susan has turned that into a broader vision for the college as a whole.
Susan relishes the opportunity to have a significant, long-lasting impact on the College and has worked tirelessly to increase memberships in the President’s Circle, a group that raises unrestricted dollars to support TCC. One President’s Circle project Susan was particularly passionate about was the renovation of the Honors Lounge.
Susan has also been active in supporting TCC’s efforts in Wakulla County. When she and her brothers, Mark and Paul who also attended TCC, wanted to do something to give back to the College, they decided to invest in programs and scholarships offered at the Wakulla Environmental Institute. The donation in honor of their parents William and Irene Payne was the first gift to the Institute.
When Hugh VanLandingham graduated from Robert F. Munroe Academy in Quincy, he knew he wanted to go to college but had not decided where to enroll or what to study. A scholarship offer from Tallahassee Community College tipped the scales, and Hugh began his college career here at TCC, just as his father Sandy had before him.
Although Hugh had not previously considered a career in medicine; that changed when he came across a brochure in TCC’s resource room about a pre-med program at Florida State University. He eventually transferred to FSU and studied biology and pre-med, earning his bachelor’s degree in 1995. Hugh attended medical school at the University of Florida, graduating in 1999, and returned to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital for the family practice residency program, serving as chief resident his final year. He opened his private practice her in Tallahassee in 2002.
After his return to Tallahassee, Hugh became active in the former TCC alumni association. He served on the board of directors for a number of years and contributed toward the development of the alumni scholarship program.
President of Ventry Engineering
A former deputy assistant secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation, Bill Ventry left the public sector in 1988 and never looked back. Instead, he works in an old farmhouse restored by his firm, overlooking woods and just down the road from another old home for his son. An engineer and contractor, Bill’s specialty is value engineering, a concept to make designs more effective and pass them on to government. His expertise has resulted in consultancies for 30 state transportation agencies nationwide. Bill has also served on the board of directors of Premier Bank in Gadsden County.
Bill has two sons and three grandchildren. He is married to his childhood sweetheart and already had a child when he attended TCC. “I worked full-time and went to school at night, like a lot of people,” he said. “The feeling of going to TCC – it was like a family type feeling.”
Senior Attorney, Retired
Florida Department of Revenue
Chriss Walker, a 1969 TCC graduate, is currently retired from the Department of Revenue, as a Senior Attorney. While employed he managed the legal issues and cases of the Florida Child Support Enforcement Program (CSE). From 1977 to 1994, Chriss was responsible for providing legal advice, and services to the CSE Directors, state office staff, statewide field staff, and legal service attorneys, who prosecuted paternity and child support establishment cases in all 67 Florida counties. Chriss managed the CES appellate process in cases before the five District Courts of Appeal, and the Florida Supreme Court. He drafted and lobbied the CSE Legislative Proposals before the Florida Legislature. In addition, Chriss managed the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act cases, and International Reciprocal Enforcement cases. He also represented CSE in all of its Lottery Intercept Cases, before the Division of Administrative Hearings. Recognition for Chriss’ work has come in the form of the Award for Meritorious Service and the Claude Pepper Outstanding Government Lawyer Award. Chriss is active with 100 Black Men of America, Inc. and the Southside and Frenchtown Community Advisory Council.
Florida Recreation and Park Association
Eleanor Warmack is Executive Director of the Florida Recreation and Park Association, a 2000-member professional association. After graduation from TCC, Eleanor received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Association Management from FSU. She also is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce-sponsored organization management program of the University of Delaware. Eleanor is a Past President of the Tallahassee Society of Association Executives and the Florida Society of Association Executives, and has received the Association Executive of the Year honor from both organizations.
Regional Medical Center
Trinidad Weaver ARNP, a 1979 TCC graduate, is a Tallahassee health care retiree after 28 years of service in different nursing capacities including bedside, Assistance Head Nurse, ICU Nurse Manager, Electrophysiology Coordinator of the Heart Institute and Cardiac Clinical Nurse Specialist. Trini currently does counseling and ultrasounds at A Women’s Pregnancy Center of Tallahassee, is a Deaconess and teaches children at Peidmont Park Alliance Church, where she worships and, is an active member of the Tallahassee Garden Club.
Kim B. Williams
President, Marpan Supply
Kim B. Williams helped put Tallahassee Community College on the map when it comes to advanced manufacturing training.
Kim’s parents, Hugh and Marie Williams, bought Marpan supply and recycling in 1967. Soon after, Kim started working at the business and attending TCC part-time. Even in those early days, Kim understood that the success of his own enterprise could not be separated from the success of the whole community. That’s why he eventually found himself at the forefront of economic and workforce development in Tallahassee and Leon County.
Kim knew that in order to build a vibrant manufacturing sector, our region needed a place where manufacturers could train their workforce. And he knew that Tallahassee Community College could be that place.
As chair of the Economic Development Council, Kim threw his energy into helping TCC develop an advanced manufacturing center. Kim, along with William Boyette and Ken Sweeney, also led the public/private partnership that allowed TCC to renovate an old warehouse on Pensacola Street to meet the requirements of the new high-tech manufacturing center.
Then, in 2016, Kim and his Pensacola Street Partners made an even greater investment in our college and community by making a gift valued at $1 million to boost TCC’s advanced manufacturing programs.