In high school, Antonio “Tony” Puente was encouraged to pursue a vocational track after graduation by his counselor. He chose not to.
Today, he serves as the 2017 president-elect of the American Psychological Association (APA), the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychologists in the world. He credits the opportunities he received at FSCJ for making his success possible.
Tony started college at FSCJ in 1970 on the San Diego Campus, which is now the Douglas Anderson School of the Arts.
“I did not have a great deal of financial support at the time,” he said. “My family and I are immigrants from Cuba and we were trying to settle into the U.S. At the time, one semester at FSCJ cost $100, which was an affordable investment for my parents.”
He helped by working at a 5 & 10 store while not in class. FSCJ became his pathway to a college education that was not otherwise possible under the circumstances.
“The College was made for people like me,” Tony said. “People who wanted to continue their education but did not have the resources available, or mentorship for that matter. FSCJ was manna from heaven. I did not have the resources to go to UF, I didn’t even know how to apply. But I went down to San Diego Campus, applied, they took me in, and the rest is history.”
Tony graduated in the spring of 1972 with an associate in arts degree. After being offered a presidential scholarship to continue at Florida State University, he decided that the psychology program at the University of Florida was stronger so Tony continued his education in Gainesville. He was accepted in August of 1972 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
After graduating from UF, Tony returned to Jacksonville where he worked for a year in a psychiatric hospital before being accepted to graduate school at the University of Georgia in 1974. He later graduated with his master’s degree and Ph.D. in 1978. Today, Tony teaches, does research and has his own clinical practice.
To read more about FSCJ’s impact on Tony’s professional endeavors, click here.