Legacy of Leadership

First President
1965 - 1979
Interim, 1982-83

Dr. Fred W. Turner, director of instructional services and the number two official in the Department of Education, was selected in September 1965 to be the College's first President.

Turner was an easy choice for Advisory Committee member John Pigott.  “We felt with his experience in education (he also was a high school teacher and principal), that he would be the ideal choice for president at TJC.”

As the College's founding President, Turner was responsible for planning and building the new college from the ground up -- write the curricula and course descriptions, hire faculty and staff and provide direction for the architect, among numerous other responsibilities.

“He was exceptionally thoughtful, a true ambassador for the College,” Pigott recalled. “He always made sure that the Department of Education had money for Tallahassee Junior College. I really enjoyed working with him. The pick of Fred was ideal.” 
Students were his highest priority. He was often directly involved in the advisement and registration process and frequently sought out student views on matters concerning the College.

President Turner advising student“I’ve never seen a man who works better with people—people of all kinds.  And he gets the job done—easily, quietly, no fanfare.  He just gets it done,” State School Superintendent Tom Bailey was quoted in the Tallahassee Democrat when Dr. Turner's selection was announced.

After setting up the general education-transfer program, Dr. Turner turned his attention to establishing high-quality programs in the occupational area. Throughout his 13 years as President, Dr. Turner placed great emphasis on maintaining high academic standards, obtaining top-quality faculty and support personnel, keeping student costs low, developing only those programs for which there is community need and staying within the often-limited financial resources.

Dr. Turner served until 1979, but returned as interim president for the 1982-83 academic year. He retired in 1983.

Second President
1979 - 1982

Dr. Harris, president of a large community college in Omaha, Nebraska, took over in 1979 as TCC's second president.

“We believe Dr. Harris is the best choice to lead TCC into the 1980s,” Board Chairman Charlie Macon said.  “Dr. Harris has a national reputation as a leader and community college builder.”

Board of Trustees Merit Scholars with President HarrisAmong accomplishments during his tenure were the establishment of a foundation to seek financial support beyond that provided by the state and of an artist series to provide additional cultural opportunities and experiences for students and for the community.

The Lifetime Sports Complex, providing a facility for intercollegiate, intramural and fitness programs, was built. Its unique fabric domes are a campus landmark.

Harris left in 1982 to become special assistant to the Commissioner of Education for Community College Affairs.

Third President
1983 - 1995

Dr. Hinson, chancellor of the Virginia Community College System, was named TCC's third president in 1983.

In a letter to the editor of the Tallahassee Democrat, Dr. Carl M. Kuttler, Jr., president of St. Petersburg Junior College, said “Tallahassee has brought great honor to Florida in naming Dr. Hinson as president.  His reputation in academic circles is A plus.  Above all, he is a man of high integrity and will serve the college and your community well.”

During his tenure, TCC received the best legislative funding support in the history of the College and enrollment more than doubled.  Hinson expanded the Foundation and re-established an athletic program.  Reaffirmation of accreditation was achieved twice under his leadership.

Major facility additions during Hinson's presidency included a major new classroom building, state-of-the-art science labs, a new administration building and a new library. Other buildings were renovated and or expanded and athletic facilities were developed. The size of the campus was increased from 64 acres, the smallest in the state, to nearly 200.

board meeting hinsonThe TCC Gadsden Center in Quincy was acquired, and Academic Support, to help students prepare for college-level work, and Extended Studies, to take classes to the community, were established during his tenure.

In 1994-95, TCC had the highest faculty salary average among Florida community colleges. During Hinson's presidency, no faculty member was lost to another college or university, except for promotion.

In action by the District Board of Trustees, the TCC Administration Building was renamed the James H. Hinson, Jr., Administration Building in recognition of his 12 years of service to the College.

He retired in 1995.

Fourth President
1995 - 2001

Dr. Wetherell, who took office in June 1995 is credited with overseeing the College’s growth and evolution into one of the state’s premier community colleges. He is also credited with more than doubling the gross square footage of the campus, overseeing the transition and the further development of the Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy.

Under Wetherell’s direction TCC implemented more than 50 major workforce development programs of study; a GED/Adult Education program; a web-based A.A. degree;  technology innovation that leads the state’s community college system; and awarded the highest percentage of A.A. degree graduate transfers to four-year institutions in the state.  

He also fostered the relationship with Flagler College, Barry University, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to offer four-year baccalaureate degree college courses on campus and made it a priority of his administration to have TCC actively involved in the community through volunteers and community-based initiatives.

Wetherell with Nascar Driver Richard PettyOne of Wetherell’s most notable projects was the JOB GUARANTEE program, which promised an A.S. degree graduate would receive a job offer or a tuition refund.  TCC was the only community college in the nation at the time to offer such a guarantee.  

“Without his leadership, TCC would not have been able to accomplish so much, so quickly, with such outstanding quality,” said Dr. John Payne, one of the original Board Members who hired Wetherell.  “He has met or exceeded every goal the Board envisioned.”

Wetherell left TCC in 2001 to become the president of Florida State University.

Fifth President
2002 - 2010

Formal photo of President Bill LawThe District Board of Trustees named Dr. Law the College's fifth President after a nationwide search. He began work May 1, 2002.

Law had served as the founding President of Montgomery College in Conroe, Texas, since 1992. At MCCC, he was responsible for planning, managing and implementing a $50 million construction budget and directing a national recruitment effort for 200 faculty and staff members.  He also created the organizational structure and led the development of the new college’s first academic programs.

During his first two years at TCC, Law established partnerships and strong bonds with local governmental and civic leadership and enhanced opportunities for state employees to advance through TCC educational programs. bill law in front of the learning commonsWith the opening of the Economic and Workforce Development Center, TCC began to reach its full potential in this essential service to business, industry and area workers. 

Law led an aggressive building program and land acquisition to transform the Pat Thomas Law Enforcement Academy into the nation’s premiere law enforcement training center, the Florida Public Safety Institute. He also encouraged development of anti-terrorism training to help agencies respond to homeland security needs.

Under his leadership, the TCC Foundation attracted its single largest gift for scholarships and launched a $10 million capital campaign.  

He left TCC in 2010 to become president of St. Petersburg College.

Sixth President
2010 - Present

Formal photo of President Jim MurdaughDr. Murdaugh was named the sixth president of Tallahassee Community College on October 18, 2010. In assuming the presidency, he left his position as assistant vice president at the college's Florida Public Safety Institute, a post he had held since 1999.

As the current president, his personal vision is to make TCC the college of choice for students, the employer of choice for faculty and staff, and the partner of choice in the community.

“From the first, Jim made it clear that he believed the college would thrive if he created an environment in which faculty and staff feel empowered to apply their talents, implement creative solutions to problems, and contribute their own vision to the overall mission of the college,” Eugene Lamb, chairman of District Board of Trustees, recently wrote regarding Murdaugh’s leadership.

Under his tenure, the College has been designated an Achieving the Dream Leader College and earned numerous state and national rankings including a number one ranking by Community College Week for Associate in Arts (A.A.) degrees awarded, and a number eight ranking by SmartAsset.com for cost of education, return on investment and student success rate as featured in the Huffington Post. Florida Lottery bright future's scholarship ice cream social sep 2015In 2015, TCC was named one of the 2015 Promising Places to Work in Community Colleges by the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine.

Murdaugh has overseen the completion of the Ghazvini Center for Healthcare Education, creation of the Wakulla Environmental Institute, construction of a new Gadsden Center, and launch of the Institute for Nonprofit Innovation and Excellence. He has also fostered greater partnerships with Florida State University and Florida A&M University by creating the TCC2FSU and TCC2FAMU Golden Guarantee Programs. 

Most recently, Murdaugh led the College through an historic step with the State Board of Education approving TCC's first baccalaureate program, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program.