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President's Letter: Preserving a National Historic Landmark

Mar 19, 2015

In December, we began a major undertaking to restore the exterior of Ponce de Leon Hall — a National Historic Landmark and the centerpiece of the Flagler College campus. Thanks in part to a $2 million grant from the state of Florida, we have launched one of the college’s largest historic preservation projects, which coincides with this year’s 450th anniversary of the founding of St. Augustine.

The former Hotel Ponce de Leon is an iconic building, not just for the city of St. Augustine, but for the entire state of Florida. In 1888, Henry Flagler opened the doors to the Hotel Ponce de Leon and marked his entry into the development of the east coast of Florida.

Flagler once famously said, “I think it more likely I am spending an unnecessary amount of money in the foundation walls, but I comfort myself with the reflection that a hundred years hence it will be all the same to me, and the building the better because of my extravagance.”

That sentiment holds true today, and as stewards of the former hotel, we are proud to continue our commitment to restoring and preserving this historically important building.

The restoration of Ponce de Leon Hall is just one of many exciting stories we have to tell in this issue of Flagler College Magazine. As you flip through this publication, you will also read about cross country runner Corey Mundy, who competed for the second year in a row at the NCAA Division II National Championships. Golfer Spencer Schindler recently received the David Toms Overcoming Adversity Award, a tremendous accomplishment for this student-athlete. We launched a new major in Criminology this past fall, and we plan to begin a new major in Hospitality and Tourism in the fall of 2016. Finally, we have a new fundraising initiative called “Women of Vision” that was created for the purpose of providing scholarships for some of our most talented female students.

It’s truly an exciting time to be a member of the Flagler College family, and I hope you will agree as you read through this issue of the magazine.

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