The entire college community is mourning the loss of Robert Judson Jr., Ed.D., who passed away this afternoon. The educator began his career at Pasco-Hernando State College in 1972, when the community college, known as the college without walls, was in the process of opening its doors to Pasco and Hernando county communities.
Judson was hired as the college’s first instructor and counselor/recruiter, subsequently teaching the first PHSC course ever offered. The following year, Judson moved into a role as the college’s first coordinator of financial aid, where he wrote grants for student aid programs and was responsible for veterans’ affairs, collegewide. He received his doctoral degree in education in 1976, and in 1977 became dean at East Campus. In 1983, he took on the role of East Campus provost, followed by college vice president and executive vice president. In 1994, Judson succeeded a retiring Milton O. Jones, Ph.D., (the man who hired Judson) and made Florida history, becoming the first African-American to be named president of a community college in the Florida Community College System. Under his leadership, the college saw exponential growth.
“Bob Judson was a remarkable leader,” said Timothy L. Beard, Ph.D., current PHSC president. “He worked his way up the ladder, new every inch of the college, understood our students, and helped realize the college’s potential. He was admired and respected for his vision and his authenticity.”
Judson opened a three-story health building, housing state-of-the-art equipment on West Campus as well as helped establish radiography and drafting and design programs, still popular today. Additionally, Judson led the building of a childcare center on West Campus, opened the Public Service Technology building on East Campus in Dade City, where aviation, law enforcement and corrections, and fire academy programs are currently housed; remodeled North Campus in Brooksville; and purchased the land for a permanent Spring Hill Campus, which was erected in 2010. He also facilitated a partnership with the University of South Florida to offer formal four-year degree programs on PHSC campuses.
In an interview for the College’s 30-year anniversary commemorative book, Dr. Robert Judson said, “I want to be known as a president who intelligently expands the college for the good of all concerned…I hope I’m remembered as a president who was sensitive to the needs of our students, faculty, and staff. Most of all, I hope I’ve distinguished myself as a president who helped make PHSC a great college and a wonderful place to learn and work.”
“The college community will remember his leadership,” said Beard. “He will always have a place in college history and in the hearts and minds of the many PHSC faculty, staff and students he influenced.”
Pasco-Hernando State College (PHSC) serves the educational needs and interests of its community by awarding certificates, diplomas, associate, and baccalaureate degrees. As a comprehensive, multicampus learning-centered institution, PHSC utilizes various instructional modalities and support services. PHSC provides an accessible, diverse teaching and learning environment rich with opportunities for students to achieve academic success and cultural growth in a global society.