Leadership

The President's Report 2017-18

A message from PBA President William M.B. Fleming Jr. 

Formal photo of PBA President William M.B. Fleming Jr.

This year we’ve chosen a global theme for the President’s Report, as Palm Beach Atlantic students and alumni increasingly are weaving a global tapestry with the three threads of the university’s motto: Enlightening Minds, Enriching Souls, Extending Hands. Read the feature stories inside and you’ll see how these three goals all blend together.

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In classrooms, lab sessions, study groups and office hours, PBA professors and students always have worked together in the quest to enlighten minds, but many have found a special, extra benefit when they take that process to other countries. In the last academic year the David and Leighan Rinker Center for Experiential Learning sent nearly 400 PBA students, faculty and staff abroad. You can read about students such as marine biology major Katie Robertson, whose study trip to Costa Rica took her to Texas A&M’s Soltis Center for Research and Education and the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve.

“It was probably the most exciting thing I’ve ever done,” Katie said. She called the experience an “absolutely amazing” opportunity toward her goal of graduate studies in reef systems and conservation. Students went to 30 countries, studying, serving and growing in many ways. You’ll read about how they stepped out of their comfort zones, shared their faith and ministered to others. Then you’ll understand how God enriched the souls of our students as well as the souls of many abroad.

A Cambodian widow, a Ugandan malaria victim, the newly appointed secretary of agriculture in Costa Rica: these were just a few of the people PBA students touched.

Through Workship, PBA’s signature community service program, students have served untold numbers of people with more than 3.3 million volunteer hours since the university’s founding in 1968. So it was only natural that Workship veteran and Assistant Dean of Students Kate Magro played a key role in setting up fieldwork projects for our new master’s degree in Global Development. In Rwanda, Uganda and Costa Rica our graduate students extended their hands in research toward sustainable projects to raise the standard of living for many.

After eight weeks of overseas summer fieldwork, these students now enter the second year of their graduate studies. They’ll take what they learned alongside refugees and struggling farmers and work with supervising professors to write academic papers outlining practical recommendations toward lasting chnage.

Ed Amos is one of seven students just back from that fieldwork, his team studying how to increase efficiency in Costa Rica’s agricultural sector. He sees the Global Development master’s degree as wonderful preparation for his future work, perhaps with the State Department or with entrepreneurship in developing countries.

Graduate students in pharmacy also served abroad, sent by the Gregory Center for Medical Missions. Fourth-year pharmacy students took leadership roles in medical missions, earning academic credit as they further developed their skills in teams helping more than 1,800 patients.

Meanwhile, at the University of Oxford and other ancient halls of learning you’ll find PBA grads earning graduate degrees and teaching. And you’ll find our Fulbright Student Esther Hagan heading out to teach
in Taiwan.

When I consider all the exciting examples of engaged learning and service among PBA students, faculty and alumni, sometimes I shake my head in wonder. How is all this possible from an institution so young? And then I turn to the back pages of this report and find the answer there, in the lists of those who support the university by giving of their time and their financial resources. Our thanks go out to you volunteers and donors. God has blessed your generous gifts, which are going global. And this year as we begin to celebrate 50 years of His favor, we Dream of blessings ahead, immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. 

The Report