Palm Beach Atlantic University faculty and staff opened the University’s 45th academic year on Monday with prayer, song and fellowship during the University’s annual Community Day activities.
Held in the week before classes begin, Community Day is a PBA tradition that began with a worship service in the DeSantis Family Chapel and concluded with a luncheon and employee service award presentation in the Rubin Arena of the Greene Complex for Sports and Recreation.
|Financial Aid Director Todd Martin, center, receives the Employee of the Year Award from University President William M.B. Fleming Jr., right. At left is Director of Admissions Jamie Zugelder, last year's award recipient.|
Following the worship service, President William M.B. Fleming Jr. shared his vision for the coming year during the annual State of the University address. President Fleming also spoke about the new University theme for the 2012-2013 school year: Engagement Empowers.
The theme invites students, faculty and staff to become stronger together as they become more engaged with one another and with the greater community, he said.
“I believe that the Holy Spirit will bless us, enrich us, if we are true to our calling to truly engage people,” President Fleming said.
He said that many times we would rather take the straight path to our destinations, whether on campus or elsewhere, but the needs of others sometimes cause us to take a slightly different route, he said.
“Don’t always take the straight and easy path,” he said, “but be engaged.”
The theme is based on Ephesians 3:16-18: “I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.”
A large banner displaying the University’s theme for the year was unveiled in the Warren Library on Sunday evening during a prayer vigil attended by faculty, staff, students and their families. The banner will remain in the library throughout the coming school year.
The banner bearing last year’s theme, “Lead by Example,” has been moved to the University Archives, President Fleming said.
Another highlight of Community Day was the announcement of the employee of the year, which took place during the luncheon. As faculty and staff entered the Greene Complex, they were greeted by cheers from student volunteers who are on campus early in preparation for Welcome Week.
This year, the employee of the year selection committee received a record number of nominations, said Tim Worley, executive assistant to the president.
The award recipient, Financial Aid Director Todd Martin, was described by those who nominated him as a “servant leader who leads by example” and someone who “continues to break down barriers on campus.” He also was described as someone who has improved the service that the University offers to students.
“The only reason I have this is because of my team,” Martin said. “You can’t do it by yourself.”
Before coming to PBA in 2010, Martin spent 10 years working in higher education financial aid with six years at the director level. While living in the St. Louis area, he served on the Academic Quality Improvement Program of the Higher Learning Commission-North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The first day of classes for students is Monday, Aug. 27.