By Emma Anderson| firstname.lastname@example.org
Flagler College is making history as officials prepare to inaugurate the fourth president of the college.
Dr. Joseph Joyner officially took office as president of Flagler College in July after former President Dr. William Abare retired with 45 years under his belt at the college, 15 of those years spent as president.
Joyner will be inaugurated on Saturday, Feb. 24. It will be the first inauguration ceremony the college has ever held.
Joyner smiled when asked how he felt about the upcoming inauguration.
“They’ve never had an inauguration here and so they wanted to celebrate Flagler College and where we’ve come,” Joyner said. “This is a significant transition with a new president, so they talked me into it. I’m certain it will be very special but, it’ll also be nerve-wracking.”
He said he finally gave into the inauguration ceremony because it was a means to celebrate the college and the students, which is what it should be about.
“I’d been a trustee for three years and had sort of fallen in love with Flagler,” Joyner said. “The longer I was here the more I learned and loved about Flagler. What I loved about Flagler was the students and being involved with the students.”
Joyner said he took a chance when he applied for the president’s position at Flagler because he wasn’t sure if he’d get it.
“I previously spent 14 years as a superintendent of schools here in St. Johns County and loved every minute of it,” he said. “So, when Dr. Abare announced his retirement I just decided to take a shot and apply, not knowing whether or not I would get that position.”
Donna Washburn, administrative assistant to the associate vice president for the Office of Academic Affairs, said she is impressed with the new president.
“He is fair and honest, so I think he is a good fit,” she said. “He definitely has the experience for the job.”
Joyner said he grew an appreciation for educational administration through his father who was his high school principal. He jokingly said he knew he always had to behave while in school.
“I saw all of the things that administrators could do in a positive way to help students and I saw how you could really change people’s lives in a positive way through education,” he said. “I like watching what he did. I felt drawn to become an administrator.”
Joyner said that he believes that there is so much potential in the students at Flagler College and that his favorite part of the job is getting to step back and watch what they can accomplish.
“I like this age group of students, like the college age, you know, there’s so much hope in their eyes and students want to change the world and I love that,” Joyner said. “I’ve had about seven months now as president. I love it. I love here. I love every minute of it.”
Kayla McManama, a sophomore at Flagler College, said she appreciates the president’s willingness to meet and talk with students.
“I think it’s pretty important to have a close relationship with the president because it allows the students to feel more comfortable talking to him about what they want to see changed around campus,” McManama said. “Personally, I always like it when students see the president walking around and they feel comfortable enough to smile and wave and he always smiles and waves back.”
Joyner said he is eager to bring out Flagler’s full potential.
“One of the first things that I wanted to do was create a common vision and to answer the question of what does greatness look like at Flagler College five years from now,” Joyner said. “So, we have a committee now that’s a very diverse committee. We plan to address how we will accomplish what’s going to distinguish us in the future.”
Although Joyner has only been at Flagler for seven months, he said he feels at home and is optimistic about the future.
“I love it here,” he said. “I know I’m supposed to be here. I know I have a purpose. I can’t wait for the next day. I just know it’s the right place.”