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A little over a year ago St. Petersburg College's trustees chose Bill Law to replace longtime president Carl Kuttler.

Tuesday, they said they made the right choice.

"Dr. Law, in looking back, we couldn't have made a wiser decision," said board of trustees chairman Ken Burke. "You made us look good through your excellence in leadership. Every area, you have met our expectations and exceeded them."

The board praised Law's leadership, his visibility in the community and his reputation as an educator.

And they said he has kept his focus where it should be - on the success of students.

Trustee W. Richard Johnston said Law has helped to unify the college, which has learning sites scattered throughout the county.

"He's given us a chance to build and regroup and redefine what we are and what we're trying to do for students," Johnston said.

Trustee Deveron Gibbons lauded Law's proactive approach and his communication skills. He also praised his efforts to find new talent and to motivate current staffers.

Going forward, the board urged Law to explore other ways to fund the college, such as foundations and grants - something Law previously told the St. Petersburg Times he intended to make a priority. The board also asked him to continue to strive to connect with the community.

Law, who took charge of SPC in June, was hired on the heels of Kuttler's surprise resignation and controversial request for a hefty severance package.

Before Law came to SPC, he was president of Tallahassee Community College, and earlier, the founding president of Montgomery College in Houston. In the 1980s, Law worked under Kuttler as SPC's vice president of institutional and program planning.

Since Law took the helm at SPC, he has resurrected its theater program and debuted new courses for students who need remedial help.

Last month, he unveiled initiatives to provide short, certificate-based courses in practical fields. And he made changes to provide students with a more traditional classic college experience.

Law's annual salary is $330,000. He opted not to receive a raise this year. Last year, he signed a three-year contract. Tuesday, the board voted to extend his current contract an additional year.

"I fully intend to do eight or 10 years here," Law said.

Lorri Helfand can be reached at or (727) 445-4155.