Sasser shares vision at SFCC convocation


Published: Wednesday, January 7, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 7, 2004 at 12:49 a.m.

The students don't return until today, but Santa Fe Community College decided to mark the beginning of the year on Tuesday with a spring convocation for its faculty and staff.

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A video image of Santa Fe Community College President Jackson Sasser is projected in the background as he speaks to SFCC faculty and staff during the college's 2004 spring convocation on Tuesday.

DOUG FINGER/The Gainesville Sun

While his counterpart at the University of Florida, Bernie Machen, is just starting his first year, SFCC President Jackson Sasser is beginning his third year on the job.

Sasser shared part of his vision for the community college during his "state of the college" remarks during the convocation before about 500 SFCC faculty and staff members gathered in the northwest campus gymnasium.

"The reason we're here is teaching, everything else is secondary," Sasser said.

Sasser, 54, moved from Lee College in Baytown, Texas, to take over for Larry Tyree on Jan. 1, 2002, immediately facing state budget cuts.

Sasser said he was pleased with the college's efforts to expand the times during which classes are offered so "more working men and women" can attend.

SFCC also operates the Blount Center downtown, the Andrews Center in Starke and the Davis Center in Archer to reach more people who cannot attend classes at the main campus in northwest Gainesville.

In the fall semester, the college served more than 16,100 students, he said as an example of how the college was growing.

During its first semester open last year, the Archer campus served 256 people, a number the college expects will keep increasing, Sasser said after the meeting.

"We're serving people who may not have a car, who may not have fuel for a car," he said.

"They never got their chance at this thing we call higher education."

Sasser also praised the college's existing partnerships with UF, such as allowing SFCC employees to take UF courses tuition-free and a biotechnology program where SFCC students may move on to earn degrees at UF.

Also at the convocation, staffers met with representatives from various SFCC committees and departments to learn how they can contribute to decisions at the college

"What so many of the staff enjoy is the opportunity to dialogue with each other," said Dug Jones, student life director at SFCC.

The convocation represented "a great opportunity to stay connected" with different divisions of the community college, he said.

Douane D. James can be reached at 374-5087 or jamesd@gvillesun.com.

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