Dr. Tonjua Williams was named St. Petersburg College’s seventh president on July 3, 2017. St. Petersburg College employs 3,000 staff who provide activities and learning experiences to support academic excellence and growth of 45,000 students across eleven learning sites throughout Pinellas County, Florida.
A dynamic, transformational leader and inspiring speaker, Dr. Williams has set a new vision for the college to be known as Pinellas County’s engine for economic mobility. Strategically building partnerships and opportunities for shared visioning, Dr. Williams’ leadership has streamlined college operations, consolidated resources, improved organizational fiscal health, expanded short-term/rapid credentials, and strengthened partnerships with Tampa Bay’s workforce leaders.
Under her leadership, St. Petersburg College has attained national acclaim. The Chronicle of Higher Education named the college a top producing institution in the Fulbright Scholarship Program as one of only 26 associate and baccalaureate institutions in the country to receive that recognition. In addition, the most recent U.S. News and World Report rankings list St. Petersburg College among the top in Best Online Bachelor’s Programs Overall, Best Online Bachelor’s Program for Business, and Best Online Program for Veterans. The college received Best of the Best awards from the Tampa Bay Times for Best Local College and Best Nursing College.
Dr. Williams has received numerous honors and awards throughout her 35 years in community college education. Among the most recent are being named among the Power 100 by the Tampa Bay Business Journal for her work to better the community through education; the Phi Theta Kappa Paragon Award for outstanding presidential leadership; the Women of Distinction Award from the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida; the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Businesswoman of the Year Award; and the Pinellas Opportunity Council’s inaugural President’s Award for Community Leadership. She was also named as one of nine as part of Florida Trend Magazine’s Women Leaders – Taking the Reins and Movers & Influencers. Additionally, she was named by Diverse Issues in Higher Education as one of the top 25 women in higher education.
She currently serves on many national, state, and local boards—including the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) where she chairs the Commission on Economic and Workforce Development, the Southern Association of Colleges with Associate Degrees, Complete College America, The American Association for Women in Community Colleges (AAWCC), Florida’s Council of 100, the Florida Holocaust Museum, Pinellas County Urban League, Morton Plant Mease Hospital (where she serves as the community health needs committee chair), St. Petersburg’s Downtown Partnership, and The Links, Incorporated (where she serves as corresponding secretary). Selected by the presidents of the Florida College System, Dr. Williams serves as chair for the 2022–23 academic year and legislative session.
She is an alum of Leadership St. Petersburg (2001), Leadership Tampa Bay (2011), and Leadership Florida (2022) – class 39.
She has a PhD in Higher Education Administration from Barry University, a master’s degree in Counselor Education from the University of South Florida, and bachelor’s degrees in Business Administration and Humanities from Clearwater Christian College.