Dr. Jonathan Grenz, director of the Master of Dvinity program at Palm Beach Atlantic University, greets M.Div. students Eric Aquino and Ryan Mating during a dedication ceremony prior to the start of classes.
As classes for the fall semester begin this week, Palm Beach Atlantic University welcomes 730 new students and a new provost, adds a residence hall and opens the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Athletic Campus.
In this academic year, the University is on track to surpass previous records for total enrollment, although official figures will not be available until later in the fall. Last year’s total enrollment was 3,764, which includes all undergraduate, adult undergraduate, graduate, professional and online students.
According to admission data, 73 percent of the incoming class is freshmen with the remainder transfer students. The new students come from 43 states and 27 countries outside the United States. Sixty percent of new students will live on campus in one of 10 residence halls.
The newest residence hall, Coastal Towers at 1001 S. Flagler Drive, opens this fall with 21 units available for undergraduate student housing. The remaining 21 apartments are expected to become available for spring and summer semesters 2015 after renovation.
Another physical plant change this year is the University’s acquisition of the former Quattlebaum Funeral Home property, which has been transformed into campus green space and parking. The addition of this parcel and Coastal Towers expands the University’s footprint in downtown West Palm Beach to nearly 29 acres.
The largest impact is fall is being felt by the opening of the Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Athletic Campus at 3410 Parker Ave., 1.5 miles from the downtown academic campus. A ceremonial ribbon cutting is set for September 4 prior to a men’s soccer match. In addition to intercollegiate competition for baseball, softball, soccer, lacrosse and tennis, the 76-acre site provides facilities for campus recreation.
In other sports news, Palm Beach Atlantic begins competing in the Sunshine State Conference this fall as provisional members. An agreement was signed with the conference effective July 1.
Among the new faces this fall is new provost and chief academic officer Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr., who joined the University in June. Dr. Fant previously served as executive vice president for academic administration and dean of the faculty at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.