Commissioner Mel Ponder (📸 Okaloosa Public Information Office)

Ponder tapped to be NWFSC keynote speaker for Fall Commencement Ceremony

Commissioner Mel Ponder (📸 Okaloosa Public Information Office)

Earlier this week, Northwest Florida State College announced that Okaloosa Commissioner Mel Ponder will be the keynote speaker for the college’s Fall 2022 Commencement ceremony.

Since November 2020, Ponder has served as an Okaloosa County Commissioner for District 5.  He is also the association executive for the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors and the founder and president of Business Empowered (BE).  

  • Previously, Ponder served as mayor of the City of Destin as well as in the Florida House of Representatives, District 4, before coming back home to serve the citizens of Okaloosa County.  

In addition to his various positions in public office, Ponder has over 10 years of banking, mortgage, and financial services experience and at one point reached the top 1% in the nation in mortgage origination.  

Some of Ponder’s elected leadership roles include serving as chair of the Children, Families, and Seniors Subcommittee, vice-chair of the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, chair of the Legislative Prayer Caucus, and deputy whip within the House Majority Office.  He now serves as chairman of the Okaloosa Board of County Commissioners.

He is also on the statewide board for CareerSource Florida, the Florida Association of Counties, and the Florida Faith-Based and Community-Based Advisory Council.  Locally, he serves on the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, the Transportation Planning Organization, and as an ex officio board member for the Niceville-Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce.

“We look forward to welcoming Mel Ponder to Northwest Florida State College as we host our inaugural Fall 2022 Commencement Ceremony,” said NWFSC President Dr. Devin Stephenson. “As our graduates prepare to make a difference in the world, I have no doubt they will find inspiration in his words and in his story.”

Northwest Florida State College’s Fall 2022 Commencement Ceremony will be held on December 16, 2022. 

Never heard Mel speak or give a prayer? Click here to watch his powerful 3-minute prayer at the Joint Session back in January,

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