Before an assembly of faculty and staff Thursday, Robert Simpson, chairman of the Palm Beach Atlantic University’s board of trustees, announced the selection of William “Bill” M. B. Fleming, Jr. , the University’s vice president for development, as interim president.
“Bill is a man of quiet strength who will fill the role as interim president well while the University embarks on a comprehensive search for its eighth president,” Simpson said. “When his name was introduced, the board of trustees was in unanimous agreement that Bill Fleming has a complete understanding of the University’s mission and values, and can maintain the University’s culture and valued traditions.”
Fleming, 59, is well known in Florida and in higher education circles nationwide. He joined Palm Beach Atlantic in 1992. Previously he served in several administrative roles at Wingate University and Guilford College, both in North Carolina.
As vice president for development, Fleming serves as the University’s chief institutional advancement officer. His responsibilities include all external relations activities, working with individuals, alumni, parents, corporations, foundations and the media in the pursuit of fundraising and marketing objectives. Since his arrival on campus, more than $114 million has been raised in support of annual, endowment and capital projects. Under his leadership, PBA actively seeks partnerships with the business, professional and nonprofit sectors.
Fleming is a past president of the Rotary Club of West Palm Beach and previously served on the Executive Council of the Gulfstream Council of the Boy Scouts. His professional associations include Palm Beach County Estate Planning Council, the Planned Giving Council of Palm Beach County, the Council for the Advancement of Secondary Education (CASE) and the Association of Fundraising Professions (AFP). He has provided leadership involvement for the Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida (ICUF), the Florida Independent College Fund (FICF) and the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities Chief Institutional Advancement Officers (CIAO). He presently serves on the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches. A Wellington resident, he is an active member of the St. Peter’s United Methodist Church along with his wife, Pam.
“I love Palm Beach Atlantic,” Fleming said. “My life’s career has been dedicated to providing the financial support that universities need to go about their business of training students in scholarship, citizenship, character and service. So, for me, it is an honor to serve as a steward to maintain the University’s excellence in Christian higher education.”
“I’ve known Bill Fleming since he came to Palm Beach Atlantic nearly 20 years ago,” said John Rinker, president of the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Foundation. “His high professional standards have won him the respect of community leaders and people of influence.”
Regarding the work ahead for the University, Fleming said, “Our job is to continue to build a community of students, faculty and staff that embrace collaborative learning and strive for high standards.”
Simpson added that a national search will be launched to seek Palm Beach Atlantic’s eighth president.