Pensacola State College’s designation as a Military Friendly School holds special significance for Charlie Switzer, a PSC alum and Alumni Association Board Director. Born at NAS Pensacola, he grew up with an appreciation of the military, joined the Navy around 1970, and during the Vietnam War era.
After his last tour of service, Switzer returned to Pensacola in 1978 to join his wife Fran who was completing her Navy career at NAS Pensacola. The couple, with their young son Jason in tow, saw college as their next step.
Although Fran had already begun taking classes at the PSC (then PJC) Center aboard NAS, Charlie says he felt a little trepidation about starting PSC due to his less than stellar attempt at college years earlier. However, his reluctance was soon replaced by success.
“The marvelous thing for me was that PSC embraced veterans,” Charlie said. “I got college credits for my hours in Navy schools, and I benefited from a grade forgiveness program that kept my first attempt at college from hurting my grade point average.
“That wonderful gesture allowed me to go to class with the confidence that I could succeed. It was amazing what that attitude allowed me to accomplish. Fran and I both graduated from PSC and then the University of West Florida, with honors. PSC’s atmosphere was very supportive of a young veteran’s family.”
Their success climbed even more as Charlie put his economics degree to work at Shell Oil Company and the Lamar Corporation. Through the years, the Switzers continued their connection and support of Pensacola State.
In August, Charlie and his brothers Robert and John joined with their extended Switzer, Lamar and Reilly families to present their second $1 million gift to Pensacola State to support expansion of the Anna Lamar Switzer Center for Visual Arts at PSC.
“Giving back has been a tradition in our family,” Charlie said. “This gift is a testimony of the importance of PSC to our family.”