Hillsborough Community College (HCC) and the Tampa Bay History Center will host HCC50: An Oral History on Wednesday, March 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Tampa Bay History Center. The event, sponsored by Suncoast Credit Union, is free and open to the public.

The event is a celebration of HCC’s 50th Anniversary, a look back at the history of the college from the perspective of four of Tampa Bay’s most illustrious and knowledgeable community leaders, EJ Salcines. Terrell Sessums, Mike Sparkman, and Ron Weaver, with an introduction by HCC’s own Dr. Liana Fernandez Fox. The panel will be moderated by Rodney Kite-Powell from the History Center.

Complimentary appetizers will be available, as well as a cash bar. The program will begin at 7:00 p.m.


Visitors can park for a fee at several lots and garages near the History Center. Options include the Channelside Parking Garage, South Regional Garage, various surface lots, downtown street parking, or park in Ybor City and take the streetcar to the History Center. Fares on the Streetcar are now free. Parking fees vary based on availability and scheduled events at surrounding locations.

About the speakers and panelists:

Liana Fernandez Fox

Liana Fernandez Fox has spent over forty years explaining mathematics to students at Tampa Catholic High School, Hillsborough Community College, and the University of South Florida. For 33 years, she was a full-time professor at HCC teaching HCC students at the Ybor City Campus and at USF. During her tenure at HCC, Dr. Fox also taught a live call-in show on the Education Channel and pioneered the offering of Distance Learning mathematics courses for HCC.

Dr. Fox was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame for Women of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida. She also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from USF’s Women in Leadership and Philanthropy. She was a past Hispanic Woman of the Year, has two sons, and has been happily married to Bob Fox, her college sweetheart, for as long as HCC has been in existence.

EJ Salcines

Judge Salcines is a native of Tampa and the son of immigrants from Spain that came to Tampa through Cuba. He is a lawyer by profession for more than 53 years and has had a multi-faceted career. He is a noted Tampa historian.

He was a career federal and state prosecuting attorney elected four times by the voters of Hillsborough County for a total of 16 years as the State (Prosecuting) Attorney and then serving on the Appellate Bench for 15 years.

Judge Salcines has two academic degrees including his law degree and has two honorary doctorate degrees, honoris causa. He has weekly television documentaries on Tampa history and has published many articles on Jose Marti and Tampa’s rich Latin history.

Terrell Sessums

Thomas Terrell Sessums was born June 11, 1930, in Daytona Beach, Florida, United States. He was raised in Jacksonville, Florida, and then moved with his family to Tampa after he started college.

Sessums graduated from the University of Florida with his Bachelor’s degree and Juris Doctorate and began his law practice in Tampa. While at the University of Florida, Mr. Sessums was president of the student body (1952–1953) and member of Florida Blue Key.

He served as a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1963 – 1974. During the 1972-74 session, he served as Speaker of the House. He was also Chairman of the Florida Board of Regents, and serves on the Board of Governors for Florida Southern College. He also served as President of the Board of Trustees of the University of Tampa.

Michael S. Sparkman

Michael Sparkman is fifth generation Hillsborough County resident and a lifetime resident of the City of Plant City. He and his wife of 53 years, Diane, have three children and eight grandchildren, all living in Plant City. Mike has been a very successful businessman and entrepreneur in Plant City for many years. He has been Mayor of Plant City for seven years and still serves on the City Commission with over twenty-five years of service.

He was appointed by then Florida Governor Lawton Chiles to HCC District Board of Trustees in Sept. 1991 and in 1993-94 he served as Chairman of the Board, Past President of the Florida Strawberry Festival and current Member of the Board of Directors, having served as a member of the Board of Directors for BayCare Hospitals and many more boards and civic originations through the years.

Ronald Weaver

Ronald Weaver has extensive experience in advising landowners, development companies and occasionally local governments in environmental, land use and property rights law and real estate acquisition and financing. He has conducted land use, environmental, zoning, Developments of Regional Impact (DRI), comprehensive plan, and concurrency due diligence for the acquisition and development of over $6 billion worth of Florida property in 32 different counties and 62 cities, including a $600 million due diligence of 12 properties for one acquisition/financing, and a dozen others over $100 million throughout Florida.

Mr. Weaver speaks regularly on land use issues and has written over 200 articles in national, local and regional publications, law journals and newsletters. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal on growth management, concurrency, property rights and takings cases. Mr. Weaver has published commentaries and articles in NAIOP’s Development magazine and the Urban Land Institute’s Urban Land magazine.