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Q&A: Ten on Ten

Apr 2, 2012
by Tom Iacuzio, '06

Flagler College President William T. Abare Jr. looks back on a decade as head of the College

This academic year, President William T. Abare Jr. celebrated his 10th year as the head of Flagler College. It’s a decade that has seen remarkable change for the college, from major new buildings on campus to the move to NCAA for athletics teams. To celebrate this milestone, we decided to open things up and give alumni and students the chance to ask him ten questions.

How do you feel you have added to the legacy of Flagler College as only the third president in its 43-year history? – Tori Warenik, ’10, English
My interpretation of the word “legacy” is that it is something that an individual leaves behind or passes on to others. Another interpretation is how one wishes to be remembered. I’d like to think that I helped strengthen the college’s image and reputation, broadened its base of financial support, established a foundation for shared governance, and improved the campus infrastructure by investing in the construction, renovation and restoration of buildings and facilities to support the college’s mission, goals and objectives.

Where do you feel that the future of higher education lies? And what unique challenges will our future students face when they begin their studies? – Adrianne LaNeave, ’01, Political Science
The future of higher education will remain bright, because it is tied so closely to our economic prosperity and our status among other nations. While there will be a move toward different delivery systems like online or distance learning, there will be a place for the traditional college experience at colleges and universities across our land. The issue of college cost will not go away, and something will need to be done to ensure that all qualified students have the opportunity to attend college and earn a college degree.

What did you want to be when you grew up? – Holly Hill, ’02, Business Administration
When I was a young boy, I wanted to be a professional baseball player and play for the Yankees. In high school, I wanted to go to the U.S. Naval Academy and have a career in the Navy. In college, I studied to be a doctor, but changed my mind and decided to teach and coach, which I did for a couple of years.

In your 10 years as Flagler College president, what has been your biggest challenge? – Kathy Novak ’09 Communication
My biggest challenge has been to become an effective fundraiser and to raise money to support the college’s mission, programs and services.

What’s the next addition you want to bring to Flagler College? – Tom Iacuzio, ’06, Communication
Without question, the next major project will be the construction of a new academic building that will replace the existing Communication Building at 31 Cordova St. We need additional classrooms and special facilities for our Communication Department. 

If you were a superhero, what would your power be? – McKenzie Blaine, ‘12, Communication
I have always been a fan of Superman — able to leap tall buildings with a single bound.

Will Flagler College ever have a master’s degree track? If so, for what programs of study? – Samuel Gray Perlin, ’10, Theatre Arts
I am not sure whether Flagler will or should offer master’s degrees in the future. Typically, graduate programs are more expensive to operate and generally drain resources from undergraduate programs. The one master’s program that we might consider is in deaf education. We have an excellent undergraduate program in deaf education, and offering a master’s degree in that program would complement and enhance the undergraduate program. That being said, I do not think that we need to offer graduate programs to be a highly regarded and well-respected institution of higher education.

If you could change one thing about Flagler College, what would it be and why? – Laura Vizdos Tomas, ’92, Elementary Education
I would require students to live on campus for at least two years. I believe that this requirement would enrich the student life programs, increase school spirit and strengthen the ties of students to the College during the time they are enrolled and after they graduate.

What’s your favorite spot on campus? – Gorge Gallardo, ’12, Communication
I don’t know that I have a “favorite” spot on campus; however, if I had to pick a single location, it would be Markland House, because of its history, its appearance, and its many uses, most of which are very happy occasions.

What have been your most memorable moments during your 10 years as president? – Diane Evia-Lanevi, ’87, English
There have been a number of memorable moments: acquiring the Florida East Coast Railway buildings and renovating the buildings as dormitories; acquiring the Crisp-Ellert home; constructing the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum and landscaping and reconfiguring Sevilla Street; constructing Cedar Hall (this was my first construction project as president); constructing the Ringhaver Student Center; Kenan Hall Plaza; the locker room facility at Flagler Field; renovating the Molly Wiley Art Building and Kenan Hall; reaffirming our accreditation; establishing a Faculty Senate; increasing the number of full-time students by 46 percent and increasing the number of full-time faculty by 56 percent; witnessing our SIFE teams win two national championships and accompanying the teams when they competed in the World Cup competitions in Spain and Germany; and changing our athletic affiliation from the NAIA to NCAA Div. II, then joining the Peach Belt Conference.

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