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St. Petersburg City Council member to discuss how PEL changed her life

By Tom Scherberger
Published May 15, 2014
Categories: Academics, PEL

St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice, who says her bachelor’s degree through Eckerd College’s Program for Experienced Learners has made a major impact on her career, will talk about her experiences at a May 21 open house on campus for prospective students.

Rice graduated with distinction from the Program for Experienced Learners (PEL) in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in American Studies. She will talk about how the program changed her life and how a quality liberal arts education can help professionals no matter what field they are in or want to go into.

“My career took off after I graduated from Eckerd,” said Rice, who took a position as National Conservation Organizer with the Sierra Club in 2001. “PEL puts you through your paces in writing and critical thinking, and improving those skills was vital to advancing my career.”

Rice was elected to the St. Petersburg City Council in 2013, representing District 4. She has deep ties to the community through years of involvement with organizations such as the St. Petersburg Museum of History, St. Pete Preservation, NAACP and the League of Women Voters of the St. Petersburg Area.

Rice’s talk will be from noon to 1 p.m. in the Eckerd College President’s Dining Room. Her presentation is part of an open house for prospective students set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at PEL’s offices, located in the Franklin Templeton building on Eckerd’s main campus in St. Petersburg. The event is free and open to the public.

Admissions counselors and PEL faculty will be on hand to discuss the program and to answer questions.

If prospective students can’t attend but are interested in the program, they can call or e-mail Admission Counselor Julee Breehne at (727) 864-8226, or at