St. Augustine, Fla. — Flagler College officially welcomed nearly 800 new students to the Flagler family Tuesday evening, during the college’s annual convocation ceremony in Lewis Auditorium. The students clutched railroad spikes, symbolic of their Flagler journey, as they listened to new President Dr. Joseph Joyner share his vision of great leadership and the core values that define the college.
Joyner began his talk by highlighting the merits of a college education. It is about more than economic security, he said, or civic duty: “College opens your senses as well as your mind to experiences that would otherwise not be available to you.”
An education anchored in Flagler’s core values and steered by a philosophy to serve others, he imparted, will help solidify a foundation for student success.
Joyner began as the college’s president this past July and introduced himself to students by underscoring his conviction in servant leadership, a philosophy focused on the principle of serving others and based on the work of management expert Dr. Robert Greenleaf.
Servant leadership is comprised of several characteristics, including listening, empathy, healing, awareness, conceptualization and a commitment to the growth of people, among others. The philosophy, he said, fits well with the culture and principles of Flagler College.
“The essence of servant leadership is the desire to see others grow and become servants themselves,” he said. “There is true and lasting joy is seeing growth in others. One of the distinguishing characteristics of Flagler College students is their service to our community, and I have been favorably impressed at the level of that service.”
Practicing good citizenship and giving back to the community are just two core values of Flagler. Joyner also noted others: The college is student-focused, committed to teaching and learning, quality-driven and devoted to cultivating civility, integrity and stewardship.
It is these values, which underpin the college’s ethos, that help students shape their own experiences at Flagler, and ultimately, their life legacy.
“We are stewards of Flagler College for the time we are here, and that doesn’t mean just the beautiful buildings we are blessed with,” he said. “We are stewards of the idea that is Flagler College, St. Augustine and indeed America. We are now more than a community — we are a family.”
The upcoming four years, he said, is an opportunity for self-exploration and growth.
“(They) might be the greatest opportunity for you to go beyond the prosaic and find your passion,” he said. “Use your creative nature to dream those great dreams and develop the passion necessary for a life well-lived.”
The ceremony was part of Flagler’s Building Your Legacy program, which includes meeting First-Year Advisers, participating in a five-day orientation to ease the transition from high school to college and taking an honor pledge. The program is designed to ensure that all first-year students begin with a solid foundation for what will become their legacy.