History - Suwannee River Junior College

In 1958 when the state of Florida established North Florida Community College, it also established a system of segregated junior colleges for African-American students, one of which was Suwannee River Junior College located in Madison, Florida. SRJC existed from 1959 until 1966 as one of the "Magnificent 12," the name often used to described Florida's historically black junior colleges, before merging with NFCC (then North Florida Junior College) in 1966.

Read More About the History of NFCC and SRJC


Call for Nominations

2017 Jenyethel Merritt Award for Civic Service

NFCC’s Jenyethel Merritt Award for Civic Service is a  high honor bestowed upon a local African-American woman who lives or has served in NFCC’s six-county service district – Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee or Taylor County –  that has made significant contributions to her community.
History: The late Jenyethel Merritt was president of Suwannee River Junior College, an African-American community college established by the Florida legislature in 1958 and located in Madison, Fla. SRJC operated from 1959 until 1966 when it merged with North Florida Community College. Merritt was Florida’s first woman president of a public community college. She was reputed to be a strong leader who promoted positive college-town relations.

Award Criteria

  • Nominee must reside or have made a significant impact in Hamilton, Jefferson, Lafayette, Madison, Suwannee or Taylor County (NFCC service district).
  • Nominee must have made significant contributions to their community through professional service, public service and/or civic activities.
  • If selected as a finalist for the Jenyethel Merritt Award, nominee must be present at award ceremony on Saturday, June 24, 2017.

Nomination Process

To be eligible, nominations must be complete and submitted by deadline of June 1, 2017.
  • Letter of nomination explaining why your nominee should be considered for the award (no more than 1 page).
  • Completed Nomination Form and required support materials.
  • Nominations must be received or postmarked (if mailed) by June 1, 2017.
  • See nomination form for specific nomination requirements and instructions.

Selection Process

All nominations will be reviewed by the NFCC Suwannee River Junior College Committee. Top finalists will be announced no later than June 10. Top finalists must attend the award reception on Saturday, June 24, 2017.

Submit Completed Nomination Form by June 1

  • MAIL nominations to the Jenyethel Merritt Award Committee, NFCC Office of College Advancement, North Florida Community College, 325 NW Turner Davis Drive, Madison, FL 32340
  • EMAIL nominations to news@nfcc.edu
  • IN PERSON - Deliver nominations to the NFCC College Advancement Office (Bldg. 32, NFCC campus)
More Information: NFCC College Advancement, 850-973-1613 or news@nfcc.edu.

2016 Jenyethel Merritt Award for Civic Service

2016 Jenyethel Merritt Award for Civic Service Nominees

Shirley A. Washington is the 2016 Jenyethel Merritt Award for Civic Service Award recipient.

NFCC honored a total of seven outstanding award nominees on June 25 during the Jenyethel Merritt Award for Civic Service Award and Celebration Ceremony at Van H. Priest Auditorium and following Award and Scholarship Banquet in the NFCC Student Center. Nominees honored for their dedication, service and contributions to the NFCC community are Sarah Higginbotham, Dr. Rosalie "Rose" A. Hill, Keysha Horn, Deloris M. Jones, Elesta Pritchett, Flora Woodfaulk and award winner Shirley A. Washington. The award is named in honor of the late Jenyethel Merritt who served as president of the historic Suwannee River Junior College and was the first female president to lead a public Florida community college.

Former FAMU President Dr. Walter L. Smith, author of The "Magnificent Twelve: Florida's Black Junior Colleges", was the guest speaker at the Award and Scholarship Banquet and Dr. Eugene L. White, retired educator and former SRJC band director, provided music for the event. Proceeds from the banquet will benefit student scholarships at NFCC.

NFCC is celebrating the historic Suwannee River Junior College (1959-1966) throughout 2016. This year marks the 50th anniversry of SRJC's merger with NFCC, then North Florida Junior College, in 1966. SRJC played an important role in the history of NFCC, the Florida College System and education in our community.

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“The Merritt family greatly appreciates the opportunity to be a part of this historical and intriguing event for our mother, grandmother and mother-in-law with gratitude and honor,” said Candida Merritt Akins. "We would like to congratulate Mrs. Washington on the wonderful bestowed contributions gifted to her community. In addition, I would like to acknowledge all of the nominees, who showed and exemplified their outstanding duties in their civil services to the people within their communities. As a Humanist, I applaud all and encourage their continued success, support and contributions to our communities. Your contributions, time, finances and your love makes a difference in every way.”