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 from 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.
Dr. Steele and Clearwater Mayor Turner at groundbreaking
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 a 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.
Construction of Emmons Hall
As the college grew in those early days, the College Board, 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 Commission on Colleges
of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS-COC)
in December 1984. This status has continued to the present with official reaffirmations in 1999 and 2009. This recognition by a secular, non-governmental
agency signified 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 programs
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 this leadership role at the college. Since 1987, the college enrollment
grew significantly, new buildings have been added, 88 additional acres have been acquired, and new programs offered.
Four Presidents (left to right: Dr. Stratton, Dr. Youstra, Dr. Cohen, and Dr. Steele)
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 has been
the establishment of the CCC Graduate Studies program. In December 2007, CCC received approval from the Florida Department of Education
and the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to grant the M.Ed. in Educational Leadership.
Dr. John F. Klem
As this historic narrative winds down to the present day, the college acknowledges one last major event. On May 7, 2012, Dr. John F. Klem
became the fifth president of Clearwater Christian College. Dr. Klem comes with extensive theological, pastoral, and administrative
experience with the Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Virginia Beach, VA, Northland International University in Dunbar, WI and churches
in New York, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.
Through the years, the college "family" has seen the Lord provide miraculously for the continuance of the ministry. This provision is
due to the college's commitment to the position the college has taken against doctrinal extremes, apostasy, and error, and its commitment to the
historic Christian faith. Clearwater Christian College began in the will of the Lord through much prayer and will continue to
operate seeking His guidance, protection, and provision.
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.