1998 – 2002, 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.
In 1998, the D.W. McMillan Trust paid their final $100,000 on their $300,000 pledge to support the health sciences at the new Warrington campus. These funds were matched by the State, so $300,000 became $600,000 to support the health sciences. In 1999, they pledged an additional $200,000 to support scholarships for nursing and health science students. By 2000, their giving had grown to $500,000 to support the health sciences.
In December 1998, the PJC Foundation launched the College’s first capital campaign under the leadership of campaign chair, Tommy Tait. The Switzer and Reilly families led the giving in the cultural advancement campaign. Joining the Switzer and Reilly families, Paul Runge, Joe and Betty Zimmers, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, the Community Foundation of St. Joseph County, and the J.H. Baroco Foundation contributed $437,659 to the $1,042,024 raised. The College named the Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts to honor lead gifts from the Switzer and Reilly families.
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. Board of Governor Emeritus, Eric Nickelsen established the teaching chair with an initial gift of $10,000 in 1996 and subsequent matching gifts brought the fund total to $44,000 over the next two years.
The Sandra and Grover Robinson III Honors Program began in August 2000, with forty-two Robinson Scholars.
The first Anna Lamar Switzer Endowed Teaching Chair was awarded to photography professor Warren Thompson in 2000.
In 2001, construction of the Anna Lamar Switzer Center for the Visual Arts began.
Construction for the Warrington campus Health Sciences Complex and the Pensacola campus Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts began in January 2001.
In May of 2001 the Marlene S. Atwell Chair of Family Values was dedicated. 547 gifts were received to establish the endowed chair.
Former First Lady Barbara Bush visited PJC in February 2002 to help the Foundation launch the Universal Scholarship and Adult Literacy Fund.
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.