St. Johns River State College will celebrate its fall commencement on December 17. The College will acknowledge the associate and baccalaureate degree candidates, as well as its certificate candidates, from the Orange Park, Palatka and St. Augustine campuses.
The fall commencement is set for 11:00 a.m. at the Thrasher-Horne Center located on the SJR State Orange Park campus. Doors will open at 9:30 a.m.
SJR State President Joe Pickens, J.D., has announced former state legislator Edward Jennings Jr. as the commencement speaker. Jennings was appointed in 2010 as the southeast regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Gainesville native is also the president/CEO of Jennings Development Group Inc., a real estate development firm that has become an economic vehicle for revitalizing east Gainesville.
From 2000 to 2006, Jennings served in the Florida House of Representatives, where he garnered several awards, including being named one of Florida Trend magazine's Top Seven Freshmen in the Legislature as well as the Affordable Housing Advocate of the Year. Throughout his legislative career, he served on various committees including serving as the Vice Chair of Community Colleges and Workforce Development; Commerce Council; Transportation and Economic Development Appropriations Committee; and the Insurance Committee.
Jennings has served on the boards for the: Education Foundation of Alachua County, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, Builder's Association of North Central Florida, African American Accountability Alliance, and the United Way.