Dr. Joyner inaugurated as the fourth president of Flagler College
Flagler College inaugurated its fourth president, Dr. Joseph G. Joyner, on Saturday, Feb. 24, in a formal ceremony that drew presidents from some of the state’s largest universities, local politicians and other dignitaries.
Joyner officially began his presidency in July 2017, but an inauguration is a college’s formal ceremony that both installs and celebrates a new president.
Dignitaries who spoke at the inauguration included St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver, John Thrasher, president of Florida State University, and Dr. John C. Hitt, president of the University of Central Florida. Joyner holds degrees from both Florida State and Central Florida.
Shaver said she couldn’t imagine St. Augustine without Flagler College. “It is a rich and essential contributor to our story, our partner in historic preservation, in the challenge of sea level rise, it’s an important economic contributor, and it stimulates our thinking,” she said. “We definitely look forward with great anticipation to working with you as the next chapter of our hometown college is written.”
Florida State University President Thrasher talked about serving in the Florida Senate and working with Joyner when he was Superintendent of Schools for St. Johns County.
“He has a leader’s courage, a scholar’s curiosity and a servant’s heart,” he said. “There was nothing I enjoyed more than getting on the floor of the Senate and saying I represented the best school district in the state of Florida. I can’t wait to see where he takes Flagler College.”
Student Colton Neubauer, a junior and president of the Student Government Association, said Joyner has already shown a commitment to students in the short time he has served at Flagler, even helping out with his wife, Susan, on move-in day to settle new students into their dorm rooms. “The Joyners truly set the precedent that they are dedicated to the Flagler family,” he said.
Joyner said his father, who was his high school principal and passed away about five years ago, was his inspiration for pursuing educational leadership. “I absolutely fell in love with the ringing of the bells for what he did. I just so much wanted to be like my dad,” he said. “Today I know he is very, very proud of me. I know he is.”
Joyner said he was grateful for the opportunity he had been given and the kindness shown to him since he was selected as president and took office.
“I have no intention of letting you down, and I kept the stewardship of Flagler College my highest priority,” he said. “While I may be an unworthy servant, I possess a great deal of passion and determination. It is my firm intention to bring continued greatness to this wonderful college.”
An installation poem, “Prospecting for Gold,” was written and read by poet and Associate Professor of English Dr. Liz Robbins.
Prior to his position as president of Flagler College, Joyner was Superintendent of Schools for the St. Johns County School District in St. Augustine, Fla., a position he had held since July 2003. In this capacity, he oversaw a budget of $633 million and had oversight of 21 major construction and renovation projects exceeding $387 million.
Under Dr. Joyner’s leadership, the School District was recognized as the highest achieving of Florida’s 67 school districts
The inauguration of Joyner capped a week of community-focused events centered on the theme of “Citizenship in a Diverse Democracy” and focused on the college’s core values of civility, integrity, collegiality, stewardship and community. Events included:
- A student-led community service day put on by FC Volunteers, and attended by more than 200 students, faculty, staff and alumni.
- A Naturalization Ceremony for 31 men and women from 21 different countries who all received their U.S. citizenship.
- An Investing in the Community event that included Personal Finance and Business Workshops led by Flagler faculty and alumni.
- An alumni panel on “Citizenship in a Diverse Community.”
- An Art & Science Day featuring the sound installation “Four Channels: A Collaborative Project Between the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum and the GTM Research Reserve.”
- A keynote address on "Diversity in a Democracy: What Can We Learn from Socrates?” by Dr. Georgia Nugent, the senior fellow at The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), president emerita of Kenyon College and former interim president of The College of Wooster.