Student center dedication honors Ringhavers

Photo by Kati Huber

By Halie Trammell |

The name has been on the side of the building for more than a month, and now the Ringhaver Student Center has offcially been dedicated, becoming a part of Flagler College.

A ceremony was held for the dedication of the Student Center Sept. 19. The ceremony took place on the main level of the student center with chairs for about 100 people, and there were close to twice that many in attendance.

Photo Gallery: Virtual Tour of the Ringhaver

Several members of the Flagler College community spoke at the ceremony including President William T. Abare Jr.; Timothy J. Johnson, Chair of the Liberal Studies department; Dr. John Stewart, Vice President of Institutional Advancement; Daniel Stewart, Dean of Student Services; Brandon Collins, President of SGA, and Michael Bugg, Flagler alumnus.

Abare welcomed the audience and thanked them all for braving the weather. Abare said the event was “without a doubt another milestone event in the history of Flagler College,” and the student center “will become the hub of student life and activities.”

The Ringhaver Student Center is named for the Ringhaver family, who have been a part of Flagler College since its founding in 1968.

In 1971, the college went through its roughest financial year with a debt of $1.5 million, which happened to equal the entire operating budget for the year. In 1972, Randy Ringhaver signed a master promissory note to keep the college open.

Since 2001, $36 million in improvements have been made at Flagler, with $11.6 million of that funding the student center. More than $15 million of that total cost has been donated and raised.

Many rooms and areas in the student center were named for donors who made significant contributions, such as Bugg’s Bistro, which was named for alumnus Michael W. Bugg.

Dr. Stewart said if rain at a wedding is good luck for years ahead, then this was going to be the best student center in the United States, referring to the heavy rain occurring on the day of the dedication.

Dean Stewart spoke of his days at Flagler and what he and his friends had for entertainment: one ping-pong table, one pool table and a black and white television with enough room around it for about 20 people.

“Those were the good times,” he said.

The new student center will offer yoga, Pilates, aerobics, academic classrooms, coffee bar, grill, sandwich station, ballroom dancing classes, ping-pong tables, pool tables and lounge rooms. Soon, there will be high-definition televisions as well.

“This building was designed and built especially for students,” Dean Stewart said. “When we look back at our time in college, the memories we have 20, 30 even 40 years after we graduate are not from a class. Now, we have a chance to make those memories in this building.”

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