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St. Petersburg College President to Deliver Keynote Address at RCC Inaugural Gala

St. Petersburg College President to Deliver Keynote Address at RCC Inaugural Gala

Dr. Tonjua Williams

Dr. Tonjua Williams chosen for honor at presidential Gala for Dr. Michael A. Baston

DATE: September 7, 2018

RAMAPO, N.Y. – Dr. Tonjua Williams, President of St. Petersburg (Fla.) College, has been chosen as keynote speaker for the September 12 Inaugural Gala of Dr. Michael A. Baston as President of Rockland Community College. RCC's first Gala, at the Hilton Pearl River, kicks off a three-day celebration revolving around the inauguration ceremony/reception on September 13 at the College's Cultural Arts Theater and bookended by a faculty symposium on September 12 and student/alumni social on September 14.

Dr. Williams is recognized nationally as an expert in student development and strategic planning meant to transform departments and institutions. Enhancing students' success and the quality of their college experience is a cornerstone of her educational approach. As the first in her family to attend college and earn a degree, she staunchly supports any initiative designed to help others find their path toward educational and career fulfillment.

“I believe in Rockland Community College’s mission, its passion for improving the lives of students and providing an experience that promotes economic mobility,” said Dr. Williams. “I am also close friends with Dr. Baston, who is unapologetically focused on student success. Our affiliation started in consulting roles with national organizations that focused on student success. Dr. Baston and I have known each other for approximately eight years and continue to share high-impact strategies that transform the communities we serve.”

St. Petersburg College's seventh president, Dr. Williams holds a Ph.D. from Barry University in higher education administration with a specialization in educational leadership. She has participated in several leadership programs, including the prestigious Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence. In 2018 she was named one of the top 25 women in higher education by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine.

Dr. Baston succeeds Dr. Cliff L. Wood as the seventh president in RCC's 59-year history. The Inaugural Gala will feature special performances and exhibits spotlighting the college's achievements. Proceeds will support the operations of RCC's Student Success Initiative.

The Inauguration ceremony on Thursday, September 13, is free and open to the public, but seats must be reserved. To reserve a seat, go to RCC will be live-streaming both the Gala and Inauguration ceremony/reception at The faculty symposium is at the Cultural Arts Theater and the social is at RCC's Cultural Arts Center Atrium.

For more information, contact Anne Hummer at 845-574-4715 or, or visit

Inauguration Schedule:

Wednesday, September 12

Faculty Symposium
1:30 – 3 p.m.
RCC Cultural Arts Theater

Inaugural Gala
6 – 10 p.m. Hilton Pearl River
(Tickets must be purchased)

Thursday, September 13

Inauguration Ceremony
2 p.m.
RCC Cultural Arts Theater
(Reception to follow)

Friday, September 14

Student and Alumni Celebration
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
RCC Cultural Arts Center Atrium

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CONTACT: Strategic Marketing