All public institutions work hard to meet the needs of their constituents while simultaneously struggling with budgets, increased demands and restricted resources.
With a large overlap of constituents and their needs, it is easy to expect some conflicts among agencies particularly when each is serious about its own responsibilities.
There have been headlines about conflicts among our local community college, Pasco School District and the Pasco and Hernando sheriff offices. But, citizens can be assured the working relationships among these institutions have been very cordial, cooperative and comprehensive over the years with many long-standing agreements and contracts. I personally am hopeful that the current leaders will find healthy solutions to their disagreements.
Over 41 years, the college, now named Pasco-Hernando State College, has learned to successfully compete with itself. Annual student enrollment has grown and a fifth full-service campus opened last month in Wesley Chapel to more than 1,500 students.
The college is local and less expensive and has extensive financial aid. It offers an open-door concept, individual attention, evolving digital courses, attention to diversity, subsidies for childcare and excellence in arts and sports. It is recognized as one of the top 100 affordable colleges nationwide.
The college is especially proud of its technology and workforce programs that are responsive to needs of local employers. The college's impact on the Pasco and Hernando economies is estimated at $240 million annually.
The more than 35,000 alumni includes state legislators, school superintendents, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, a judge and a lot of champions and heroes in many other professions.
The college has been approved to offer baccalaureate degrees, providing continuity of higher education locally. To reflect this stellar growth, the name changed to Pasco-Hernando State College and a tree has been chosen as its logo. It represents the vision for the future as the college continues to grow and expand with every season of the year.
As Bill Cosby said, "in order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure." Success in life, however one chooses to define success, is highly unlikely without higher education. PHSC has much to offer. The name has changed, but the college's motto remains the same. Imagine, believe, achieve!
Dr. Rao Musunuru, is a 15-year member of the PHSC board of trustees and the recipient of the 2013 Southern Regional Trustee Leadership Award from the National Association of Community College Trustees.