Addressing a diverse body of new and returning faculty and staff, Palm Beach Atlantic University President William M.B. Fleming Jr. spoke of unity, one of PBA’s six core values, as a guide for the new academic year during his annual State of the University presentation on Monday.
President Fleming opened his remarks in the DeSantis Family Chapel with a new University tradition of sharing a theme for the school year — PBA One: One Mind, One Voice.
“Everyone in our culture wants to be No. 1, but we are one in Christ,” President Fleming said. “I hope that we may demonstrate that again and again this coming year.”
The theme, which is based on Romans 15:5-6, appears on a banner that hangs in the Warren Library. The banner was unveiled during a prayer vigil attended by nearly 300 faculty, staff and students on Sunday evening.
|Palm Beach Atlantic University President William M.B. Fleming Jr. speaks to faculty and staff during Community Day.|
The State of the University address was among the highlights of Monday’s Community Day activities. Held in the week before classes begin, Community Day includes a worship service and an employee service award presentation. The ceremony is followed by a luncheon in the Rubin Arena of the Greene Complex for Sports and Recreation.
Classes officially will begin on Aug. 26. President Fleming noted that as the University embarks on its 46th year, “the state of your University has never been more robust, never been more prepared” to ask the critical questions “that will allow us to move to a new standard of excellence.”
He said that from enrollment to retention to financial strength to student engagement, the key trends are all on an upward trajectory.
In fact, he said, the University is anticipating its largest first-year class in the history of the University with about 800 students. He also noted that many of the students are high academic achievers. “They bring with them the best preparation we have ever seen,” he said.
Seventy-six of the incoming students have been admitted into the University’s Frederick M. Supper Honors program, more than double the number of students admitted last year, he said.
He also said that the University’s Residence Life team will provide housing for a record 1,200 students, and he thanked the team for their hard work.
|Mary Jacobs, director of special projects and parent relations, receives the 2013 Employee of the Year award from President Fleming.|
President Fleming also addressed the University’s recent acquisition of the neighboring Quattlebaum Funeral and Cremation Services property, which was announced in July. “That is a critical puzzle piece to the University’s campus master plan,” he said.
The funeral home will continue to operate there through the end of 2013, he said. One short-term plan under discussion involves demolishing the existing building and creating a lighted, landscaped parking area while the master plan is reexamined, he said.
Another highlight of Community Day was the announcement of the employee of the year, which took place following the State of the University address.
Tim Worley, executive assistant to the president, announced that Mary Jacobs, director of special projects and parent relations, is this year’s award recipient.
Jacobs, who has worked at PBA since 2007, coordinates some of PBA’s biggest annual events, such as Family Weekend and American Free Enterprise Day. She also serves as liaison to the PBA Parents Council.
Jacobs is described as “always smiling” and someone who “goes above and beyond the call of duty” and is “a go-getter with a winning personality that is contagious,” Worley said.
Worley also noted that Jacobs keeps a meticulous record of past projects and tries to improve on them each year. She also volunteers with a number of community organizations, including the Girl Scouts, the March of Dimes and Boys and Girls Club, he said.