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Fifty years worth celebrating at Flagler College Gala

Feb 28, 2019

The 50th anniversary year culminated in a gala last week, held in the Lewis Auditorium and Ponce de Leon Dining Room. In the spirit of gratitude for those who have sacrificed their time and treasures, there were many thanks said and tributes spoken. However, the focus was on the students and how Flagler is moving forward.

The evening’s program showcased important relationships formed throughout the years, reminisced “the good ol’ days” and highlighted how the Flagler Family has changed. Friendships have been cultivated, mentorships created and partnerships built through connections with peers, employees and the growing alumni body.

“Besides my family, Flagler’s the best thing that ever happened to me,” Louise Foster said her dad and a founder of Flagler, Lawrence Lewis, often mused.

Thomas S. Kenan III was a distinguished guest, a trustee of the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust which has made multimillion-dollar donations over the years and recently established within the faculty four Kenan Distinguished Professorships.

He proclaimed that faith, vision and courage were attributes Henry Flagler espoused when building up St. Augustine, and so too were demonstrated by the dedicated faculty, staff and students who stuck with Flagler through the early hard days. Those pioneers were all working toward one goal, which was shared by Kenan, that “A good education is the most cherished gift a person can receive.”

It was an evening that truly focused on the students and how far the student experience has come and still has yet to be imagined. They themselves took the purpose of the event and the historic moment in time that it denoted, and reimagined it for the special audience. Students played a thank you video to all those who’ve donated to scholarships, gave remarks on various topics, sang the new alma mater along with the Flagler College Chorale, and showcased their musical talents with a 1968 song mash up and several one act plays portraying the early days of Flagler, a “50th Anniversary Oral History Project.” It was complete with all the well-known characters from that era including Dr. William Proctor, Bob Carberry, Enzo Torcoletti, Phyllis Gibbs, Tom Rahner, Dr. Beverly C. Carmichael, Lawrence Lewis, Dr. Thomas Graham, Dr. Drew Dillon, Viki (West) Freeman, Dr. Daniel Stewart, Janet (Wiseman) English and Mimi (Cox) Roberson, Dr. William T. Abare Jr., Dr. Joseph G. Joyner, Dr. Yvan Kelly, Kathleen Meehan and Sally (Corwin) Glei. The students were directed by Leah Page, visiting assistant professor of theater.

This was the students’ expression to the campus on how they see this 50th anniversary celebration.

Trustee Nancy Rutland, ’80 charged everyone in attendance to, “Take pride in this special institution.”

Before the rest of the evening’s eating and dancing were to begin, Trustee Mark F. Bailey Sr. thanked the crowd and had everyone imagine for one moment St. Augustine. Then he said, “With your continued support, thankfully we’ll never have to know what St. Augustine would be like without Flagler.”

To view the slideshow of photos from the 50th Gala evening, please go here.

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