|President William M.B. Fleming Jr. speaks to those gathered Sunday in the DeSantis Family Chapel for his formal installation as the University's eighth president.|
$50,000 Endowment Gift for Workship Announced
WEST PALM BEACH – William M.B. Fleming Jr. was formally installed Sunday as the eighth president of Palm Beach Atlantic University in a ceremony that focused on PBA’s future and the spiritual nature of University’s mission.
|PBA President William M.B. Fleming Jr. takes the oath of office with his hand on a family Bible held by his wife Pam.|
|As Dr. Kenneth L. "Ken" Mahanes (right) prays, selected University officials and two former PBA presidents join in a "laying on of hands."|
Fleming “is a man of deep faith who strives each day to live his life as an obedient servant of Christ,” Scott Hawkins, vice president of the PBA board of trustees, told some 350 gathered in the DeSantis Family Chapel. “His motives are pure and his words are measured as he provides leadership and vision.”
With his wife Pam at his side, Fleming took the formal oath of office in regalia with his hand on a family Bible as his mother, one son and several siblings looked on. Moments later he told a mix of faculty, staff, benefactors and friends of PBA, “Unless the Lord builds a University the workers labor in vain. But miracles and wonders continue at Palm Beach Atlantic because the Lord has built this place.
“It has, and will and will forever be a Christ-first university,” he said, adding a prayer that PBA “continue to be a beacon for Christ not merely for the southeastern portion of the United States of America but for the whole world.”
During his remarks President Fleming put particular emphasis on the Workship program – a concept created at PBA that requires students to perform 45 hours of community service per academic year. Since its inception, PBA students have performed some 2.5 million hours of Workship service.
Fleming announced that he and his wife have donated $50,000 to the University to create an endowment to support and enhance the Workship program.
“Workship is a primary differentiator for PBA … a center of excellence,” Fleming said afterward. “Pam and I wanted to invest in Workship to be sure that future students understand the commitment that we and the University have to servant leadership.”
Fleming was elected president of PBA by the board of trustees on May 7, 2012 after serving for 14 months as interim president. Prior to that, he served as vice president for development – arriving at PBA in 1992.
“Today was a reaffirmation of the University’s Christ-centeredness,” Fleming said after the ceremony during which selected members of the PBA leadership prayed over him -- resting their hands on his shoulders -- as he knelt. “It allowed the University to celebrate that in music and words, and to reflect on the significant and humbling role we at PBA are called to play in developing the next generation of Christian servant leaders.”
West Palm Beach Mayor Jeri Muoio noted the significance of the day, reading a proclamation honoring Fleming and noting the importance of the University to the city. “Bill Fleming inspires us as a leader and a friend, and inspires the students he serves,” she said.
“Bill Fleming is committed to the greatness of this school,” said former PBA President
David Clark. “The best days of PBA are ahead.”