Tonjua Williams: President of St. Petersburg College

20 Questions With ...

Tonjua Williams became St. Petersburg College’s seventh president on July 3, 2017. A St. Petersburg native, Williams began her tenure with the college in 1986, rising through a variety of academic and administrative roles to become the first woman and first African American to hold the position at the school.

Previously, she was senior vice president for student services, from 2013-17. She has served in nearly every area of the college: provost, associate provost, director of special programs, program coordinator, academic advisor, recruiter, senior accounting clerk and adjunct faculty.

In 2016, Williams was awarded the Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence, making her part of the inaugural class of the Aspen Presidential Fellows. She is a graduate of Leadership Tampa Bay, Leadership St. Pete, the Chancellor’s Leadership Program and the Executive Leadership Program at the University of Florida.


College alma mater?
Clearwater Christian College, University of South Florida and Barry University

Last book you read?
Measure What Matters
by John Doerr

Last place you vacationed?
Vancouver and Whistler, Canada

PC or Mac?
Most Definitely PC

Guilty-pleasure food?

Where will we find you on the weekend?
Somewhere with my family

Biggest fear?
The growth of generational poverty

Proudest moment?
My wedding day – June 2, 1990

Dream dinner companion?
Pauletta Washington (actress)

10 Any pets?

11 Who did you last text?
Derrick Williams

12 What is your cellphone wallpaper image?

13 What do you listen to in the car?
The Groove XM, an old-school rhythm and blues channel on SirusXM

14 What is your go-to drink order?
Iced Tea or Moscato

15 Favorite candy?  

Almond Joy

16 Do you suffer from Primesia*?

17 Pool or beach?
Definitely pool

18 Charities you support?
St. Petersburg College, St. Petersburg Free Clinic, Admiral Farragut, Habitat for Humanity, Lakewood Jr. Spartans

19 Favorite childhood memory?
Sunday dinners at Nana’s House

20 Words of advice?
Make your next investment, your best investment. The success of our world relies on our investing in each other to build a community that is strong and thriving. This investment is your time, your talent and your treasure (resources). Investing in education will help everyone gain a skill to  earn a high wage paying job that results in economic mobility. After all, we are one tragedy away from needing others to invest in us.


*Primesia is the act of ordering from Amazon and forgetting about it.

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