Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight Credits SCF in Life’s Journey

(Bradenton, Fla., Jan. 31, 2019) — Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight credits Manatee Junior College (MJC) now State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) with both his personal and professional accomplishments. That’s a pretty big accreditation for a local college, but Knight is unwavering in his praise of the institution.

Knight, who grew up in south Sarasota County, chose to go to Manatee Junior College just after the college announced plans to build a campus in Venice. He planned to pay for college himself and wanted an affordable and convenient option. The new MJC location, which opened in a shopping center and was nicknamed “Brickyard University,” offered him the option he needed. “I had no plans to leave Venice,” Knight said. “Back then, you had to pay your own way or you didn’t go to college.”

His father, who worked in construction, asked Knight what he wanted to do after high school. When the future sheriff chose to go to college, his father gave his full support. To this day, Knight said he is grateful for his dad’s reaction and for the path that allowed him to take. Knight lived at home, attended classes, and paid for college by working in construction and delivering furniture.

Knight says he is also grateful “somebody had the vision to open classes in a shopping center,” rather than wait to build a campus in Venice. “As humbling as it was, it was a lot of fun,” Knight said. “The campus had a dirt parking lot, but it served the leadership’s vision to make education a priority.”

The sheriff took 80 percent of his classes for his associate in arts degree at the old Brickyard University. “It was fun because it was so tight-knit,” he said. “We were all in it together and we were one big family because it was small. The teachers were terrific including Dr. Jack Dale. He was a true visionary.”

He recalls Glenn Compton as a professor. Compton was “very interested” in the environment back then and Knight is impressed that he is still active in environmental causes. Compton’s dedication is just one example of the commitment his professors had for their work and what they taught.

Knight finished college at Florida State University (FSU) along with his future wife, Tracy, who he met while attending Venice High School. Although he proudly claims FSU as his alma mater, Knight credits SCF for putting him on the right path and helping him realize he could succeed in college.

“I remember going to Florida State my junior year and sitting in a class with 300 people. That was when I realized I missed home and I missed Brickyard University,” Knight said.

He believes some high school graduates can get lost going to big universities. “It is more intimate at SCF which makes for a better transition for new students.  The classes are smaller, you are still home, and you can continue some type of employment.”

Knight, who graduated college nearly debt-free, says he recommends SCF to students to this day. “For local students and adults going back to school, SCF gives you the opportunity to live at home and defer costs. The opportunity is unmatched and the campus is right here, in our own back yard.”

Sarasota County Sheriff Knight

SCF Recognizes Two Alumni on National Screenwriters Day

(Bradenton, Fla., Jan. 3, 2019) — State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) is highlighting Mike Le and Rob McKittrick, two SCF alumni and the college’s favorite screenwriters, in recognition of National Screenwriters Day Jan. 5.

Both had movie releases this year when McKittrick saw “Tag” hit the big screen and Le saw wide release of “Patient Zero.” Both McKittrick and Le say they had a deep appreciation for movie scripts long before they ever headed to Hollywood. They were the kind of guys in high school who could quote whole sections of dialogue from movies and they knew what they liked.

McKittrick broke into screenwriting with “Waiting,” a film he wrote while waiting tables in Orlando. Le was an assistant to Owen Wilson when he started his screenwriting career. He also is the creator and writer of “Mayhem!” the best-selling comic book series published by Image Comics.

The pair were at SCF around the same time and took script writing courses from Del Jacobs. They have kept in touch with their professor and mentor over the years, sometimes asking for feedback on their projects. McKittrick and Le are working in the industry full time and frequently pitch new ideas to the film studios.

During the spring term at SCF, McKittrick and Le have both agreed to offer their insights into what it takes to be a professional screenwriter.  Jacobs will once again lead a script writing course at SCF. The course introduces students to the elements necessary for understanding and appreciating the motion picture screenplay and provides instruction on the techniques of writing professional scripts. Students will study the core elements of the screenplay: dialogue, character, imagery and plot. Alfred Hitchcock once said: “To make a great film you need three things – the script, the script and the script.”

For more information contact Jacobs, multimedia/film program manager, at or 941-752-5593.