Flagler College formally inaugurates Joseph Joyner as president

By Steve Patrick - News4Jax digital managing editor

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - Flagler College inaugurated its fourth president, Joseph Joyner, on Saturday in a formal ceremony that drew presidents from some of the state’s largest universities, along with local politicians and other dignitaries. 

Joyner officially began his presidency in July, 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, Florida State University President John Thrasher 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,” Shaver said. “We definitely look forward with great anticipation to working with you as the next chapter of our hometown college is written.” 

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.”

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. He and his wife, Susan, even helped students 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,” Neubauer said. 

Joyner said his father, a high school principal who died about five years ago, was his inspiration for a career in 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,” Joyner 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.”

Joyner was superintendent  of schools for the St. Johns County School District for 14 years. He oversaw a budget of $633 million and had oversight of 21 major construction and renovation projects exceeding $387 million. Under his leadership, the school district was recognized as the highest-achieving of Florida’s 67 school districts.

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