Manatee Community College’s new name has irked some in Manatee County.
But at Manatee Community College, the switch to State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota has aroused controversy within the community, and SCF President Lars Hafner’s plans to extend its four-year degree programs have created conflict with a nearby state school.
Andy Gregory, a member of the college’s foundation board for 15 years and a Manatee Community College graduate, was so offended by the new name’s decreased emphasis on the school’s Manatee County roots that he resigned as the board’s vice president.
Gregory, vice president of sales at the Bradenton-based Des Champs & Gregory insurance firm, accuses school officials of pushing the name through without public input because they knew it would be met with resistance in Manatee County, where the school was founded in 1957.
Kathy Walker, the college’s director of public affairs and marketing, says the change happened within a few weeks because officials were in a hurry to market a new four-year nursing program, which will start enrolling students in January. Had the new name not been submitted for approval before the end of this year’s legislative session, she says, the school would have had to wait until the 2010 session.
“It is a waste of taxpayer money to duplicate programs,” Guilford says.