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History of the College


Clearwater Christian College began with a burden in the hearts of the founders concerning the trends in evangelical colleges away from biblical standards of morality and the historic biblical fundamentals. The founders perceived a growing casual attitude toward doctrine and lack of emphasis on personal soul-winning. They were burdened about the tendency of Christian colleges to drift toward the ecumenical movement, new evangelicalism, and ecumenical evangelism.


Founder Dr. Steele
A central figure in those early days was founder and first president Dr. Arthur E. Steele. Under his leadership and direction, the possibility of a Christian college on the west coast of Florida became reality in January, 1966, when Clearwater Christian College was officially incorporated in Pinellas County, Florida. The College acquired 50 waterfront acres at the eastern entrance to the city of Clearwater and began construction on campus buildings in early April. On September 17, 1966, the College opened with fifteen students. The Lord providentially supplied funds, friends, faculty, facilities, and a promising student body. The great enthusiasm and sense of expectancy during that first year has continued.

As the College grew in those early days, the board of directors, administration, and faculty were persuaded to align with the possibility of regional accreditation. After much prayer and preparation, Clearwater Christian College received full *accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges in December, 1984, and this status has continued to the present. This recognition by a secular, non-governmental agency signifies the College's commitment to basic educational standards, as compared with other accredited colleges and universities, without compromising its historic position on doctrinal issues or its high standards of personal conduct. In 1994, the College received approval for its teacher education program thereby making education graduates eligible for state certification. In 2008, the Florida Department of Education granted full approval for elementary education graduates to be certified with a reading endorsement.


Steele Hall Under Construction
In January, 1987, the board of directors named Dr. George D. Youstra to succeed Dr. Arthur E. Steele. Dr. Youstra brought an extensive record of accomplishments in Christian education and government to his leadership role. During Dr. Youstra's administration, the College enrollment grew significantly, new buildings were added, 88 additional acres were acquired, and new programs were offered.

In May, 2002, Dr. Richard A. Stratton assumed the presidency. In addition to his heart's desire to preach, Dr. Stratton brought to his position a wealth of experience in education and business. One of the major accomplishments during Dr. Stratton's presidency was the establishment of the CCC Graduate Studies program. In December, 2007, CCC received approval from the Florida Department of Education and the *Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to grant the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership.


Dr. John F. Klem
In May, 2012, Dr. John F. (Jack) Klem succeeded Dr. Stratton in the presidency. Dr. Klem has extensive theological, pastoral, and administrative experience. It is his desire to see the College intricately connected to the Great Commission through the spiritual and educational training of men and women.

The College's position against doctrinal extremes and apostasy, and its commitment to the historic Christian faith has not changed through the years, and the College family has seen the Lord provide miraculously for the continuance of this ministry. Clearwater Christian College began in the will of the Lord through much prayer and will continue to operate seeking His guidance, protection, and provision.



*Clearwater Christian College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate, bachelors, and masters degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of Clearwater Christian College.

CCC Timeline


January 18, 1966 - College is officially incorporated in Pinellas County, Florida

February 5, 1966 - Thirty-five acres purchased in Clearwater on Courtney Campbell Causeway

April 2, 1966 - Ground-breaking ceremony. Construction begins on main campus

September 17, 1966 - Undergraduate classes open at Clearwater Bible Church with 17 students

December 5, 1966 - Classes first held on new campus

January 15, 1967 - Inauguration of Dr. Arthur E. Steele as first president and dedication of Dambach Hall/student residence facility

May 30, 1969 - First college graduation with class with five graduates

April 5, 1970 - Dedication of the College Library

October 1974 - Dedication of menís residence hall and gymnasium

Summer 1980 - Dr. Gary G. Cohen named second president

Summer 1981 - Dr. Arthur E. Steele returns as president

September 16, 1983 - Cathcart Hall dedication

December 11, 1984 - College receives initial regional accreditation from SACS

February 13, 1987 - Inauguration of Dr. George D. Youstra as third president

October 19, 1989 - Dedication of Easter Library and Margaret M. Murray Collection after expansion of building and collection through purchase of Yankton College library

November 16, 1989 - Dedication of Paden Hall-new womenís residence facility

October 31, 1990 - Dedication of Gospel Center Memorial Chapel after expansion/renovation of Dambach Hall

July 1, 1993 - College receives state approval of its teacher education programs

January 24, 1994 - Dedication of Merritts Hall-new menís residence facility

February 1, 1997 - Dedication of the Paden Hall addition

May 1997 - Expansion of gymnasium facility to include music wing, student cafť, bookstore

January 30, 1998 - Eighty-nine acres purchased adjacent to existing campus

September 15, 1999 - Dedication of Steele Hall-additional classroom space and menís residence facility

September 15, 2002 - Inauguration of Dr. Richard A. Stratton as fourth president

December 10, 2007 - College approved to offer graduate studies

June 9, 2008 - Graduate classes open on campus with three students.

April 27, 2010 - The State of Florida gives full program approval for the masters in Educational Leadership program.

May 8, 2010 - Marla Blakemore and Sarah Pannone become first graduates from the CCC graduate program.

May 7, 2012 - Dr. John F. Klem becomes fifth president.