Dr. Johnnie Ruth ClarkeThis scholarship honors the legacy of Dr. Johnnie Ruth Clarke, an educator and humanitarian who spent her life improving the lives of others. Born in St. Petersburg in 1919, she credits her parents who worked as head bellman and head housekeeper at the Soreno Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg, and her teachers for encouraging her to succeed academically.

Clarke, who earned her bachelor's degree in social science from Florida A&M University and a master's degree from Fisk University, played an important role in the local academic, cultural and medical communities as well as our state history. In 1966, she became the first African-American to receive a doctorate from the University of Florida's College of Education, and the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate at any Florida public university. She taught in Pinellas County public schools, Bethune-Cookman College and Florida A&M University. She served as Dean of Gibbs Junior College serving African-American students in the 1950s. When Gibbs became part of St. Petersburg Junior College in the '60s, she became Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs. She died in 1978 at age 58.

Complete the 2024-25 Dr. Johnnie Ruth Clarke Scholarship application.

The opportunity to apply for Dr. Johnnie Ruth Clarke Scholarships is offered to economically disadvantaged Pinellas County public, private or home-schooled students who meet all of the following:

  • Graduate with a standard high school diploma
  • Are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident alien or Dream Act eligible
  • Have a weighted cumulative grade point average of at least 3.00 at the end of the seventh semester of high school

High school students who meet these qualifications can submit an application to be considered for this scholarship in the seventh semester of high school.

Due to limited funding, not all eligible students will be awarded.

The Dr. Johnnie Ruth Clarke Scholarship covers in-state tuition for up to 12 credit hours per term at St. Petersburg College for two consecutive years (fall and spring terms only) immediately following high school graduation. It does not cover access fees, lab fees, online fees, books, course materials, supplies, equipment, courses taken during the summer, or Workforce classes.

Any remaining credit balances will be refunded to the student's selected refund preference with BankMobile Disbursements, a technology solution, powered by BMTX, Inc. at the end of the fourth week of your classes.

Students may receive Bright Futures or other scholarships, with two exceptions. Dr. Johnnie Ruth Clarke Scholarship recipients may not receive SPC Presidential or Maria Nieves Edmonds scholarships.

The scholarship is not transferable to other colleges or universities.

Upon notification of receiving the scholarship, you will need to:

  • Follow the Getting started at SPC steps to apply for admission
  • Provide proof of Florida residency 
  • Begin classes at SPC no later than the fall term immediately following high school graduation
  • Enroll in a minimum of six credit hours per term
  • Verify your status as a degree-seeking student
  • Check your MySPC student email and MySPC Checklist regularly for updates

Renewal will be determined at the end of each term. To ensure eligibility, you must:

  1. Be continuously enrolled as a degree-seeking student in at least six credit hours per term, excluding summer term
  2. Maintain a 3.0 GPA (this includes all dual-enrolled classes taken during high school). Use this GPA calculator.
  3. Successfully complete a minimum of 67% of all college-level credit hours attempted. Use the Completion Ratio calculator below.
  4. Attend a mandatory fall term orientation meeting for scholars and parents
  5. Attend meetings for scholars hosted by the Dr. Johnnie Ruth Clarke Chapter NCBAA/AACC
  6. Meet with an assigned Academic Advisor before enrolling in classes
  7. Participate in at least one community service project 
67% Completion Ratio
Hours attempted: 6 12 15 30 45 60 75 90 150 175
Hours you must complete: 5 9 11 21 31 41 51 61 101 118

Completion Ratio Calculator

Current Completion rate 
If the completion rate is below 67% you are not making satisfactory academic progress towards your degree.

* This can be retrieved from your SAP Screen in MySPC


If you have documented extenuating circumstances that prevented you from satisfying the requirements, you may appeal the decision based on:

  • Documented medical condition or serious illness
  • Documented learning disability
  • Death of a family member or friend
  • Domestic violence
  • Involuntary call to active military duty
  • Documented change in conditions of employment
  • Other extraordinary/emergency circumstances, such as natural disasters (i.e. hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flash flooding, etc.)

If you raise your cumulative GPA and/or your Completion Ratio to meet the minimum requirements and are still within the time frame to use the scholarship, you must contact the Scholarship Coordinator to reinstate the scholarship. Enrollment in a minimum of six credits per term is required and enrollment must continue to be consecutive.

The Dr. Johnnie Ruth Clarke Chapter of the NCBAA works to implement the mission and goals of the National Council on Black American Affairs, and to help St. Petersburg College achieve its goals, especially those related to student retention and success. 

Messages regarding the scholarship are sent to your SPC student email. Make sure to check this address often or have it forwarded to a personal email. For more information, contact Lee Ann Wolfenden at 727-302-6803 or wolfenden.leeann@spcollege.edu.