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Leslee Keys: Faculty and Staff

Leslee F Keys PhD
Assistant Professor, Director of Historic Preservation and Special Initiatives



Research, Professional and Creative Activity:


Area of Research:

Research efforts focus on contemporary and social issues in US history and historic preservation, in particular the effects of sea level rise on cultural resources.  

Recent awards and recognition include:

  • 2013 Joy McCann Foundation Grant: Menorcans in St. Augustine through Public Archaeology
  • 2015 St. Augustine Foundation, Publication Grant:  Hotel Ponce de Leon:  The Rise, Fall, & Rebirth of Flagler’s Gilded Age Palace
  • 2015 Historic St. Augustine Research Institute and St. Augustine Foundation Research Grant: Kenan Women in St. Augustine
  • 2017-2018 William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, Publication Grant with Dr. Tom Graham for the forthcoming monograph:  Flagler College:  The First 50 Years, 1968-2018
  • 2018-2021 National Park Service, Research Grant with Dr. Lori Lee and Ms. Julie Dickover: Castillo de San Marcos:  Interpreting Tribal Heritage at Fort Marion 

Professional Profile:

   Dr. Keys enjoys a career in history and historic preservation that has combined service in the public and private sectors and academia, bringing a unique and diverse perspective to the classroom. She serves as a guest lecturer for Preservation Institute:  Nantucket and is the Flagler College director for the partnership with UF – Preservation Institute:  St. Augustine. She oversees historic preservation efforts on the Flagler campus and is responsible for the fine and decorative arts collection. She is the program director for the Ideas & Images:  Scholars & Artists in Residence program. 

   Recent awards include: 2015 - Roy Eugene Graham Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation Education, Florida Trust for Historic Preservation; 2016 - Dean's Award for Excellence in Service and Professional Development; 2016 - William L. Proctor Best Book on St. Augustine Award, Historic St. Augustine Research Institute; 2016 - Distinguished Alumni in Historic Preservation, UF College of Design, Construction and Planning; 2017 - Outstanding Achievement Award for Restoration and Rehabilitation and Historic Preservation Community Education Award, both from Florida Trust for Historic Preservation

Teaching and Related Service:


   Dr. Keys graduated from Ball State University's honors program, majoring in history, pre-law and political science. She completed master’s programs in history and in urban and regional planning, both from Virginia Tech, and holds a doctoral degree in historic preservation from the University of Florida. She served as an adjunct faculty member at Flagler College for ten years until 2012 when she became a full-time faculty member. Prior to that, she taught at Florida State College at Jacksonville, the University of Louisville, and Barry University. 

Classes Taught: 

In addition to the courses listed below, participation has included Learning Communities.

  • United States History to 1877 
  • United States History Since 1877
  • Historic St. Augustine 
  • History of Florida 
  • Women in American History 
  • American Architectural History
  • Historic Preservation 
  • Grantsmanship
  • Applied Preservation Materials and Technology
  • Neighborhood Conservation
  • Preservation Institute: St. Augustine

More Information:

   Dr. Keys served on the Hotel Ponce de Leon 125th Anniversary committee, is currently the Faculty Senate representative to the Flagler College 50th Anniversary Steering Committee, is a Past President of the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation and the St. Johns County Chamber of Commerce's Historic St. Augustine Area Council. She served the College as representative to the State of Florida for the Viva Florida 500 events in 2013 and the St. Augustine 450th Commemoration in 2015. She directed the College’s participation in the visit by Their Majesties King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia of Spain, including planning the Royal Luncheon hosted by Flagler College for sixty international dignitaries. Beginning in 2017, she serves as a Trustee for the United States Committee on the International Commission on Monuments and Sites. 

Photo Credit: Brian Miller, Really Swell Photography