SAINT AUGUSTINE – An exhibition “Flagler 50: Celebrating a College and a Preservation Legacy, 1968-2018” has opened as part of the upcoming repertoire of 50th anniversary celebrations at Flagler College. Various events are scheduled across the spread of the academic year 2018-19, finally culminating with Alumni Weekend in spring of 2019. This particular event was purposefully scheduled to coincide with the 100th birthday of college founder, Lawrence Lewis, Jr., the grandnephew of Henry Flagler, Lewis was instrumental in fostering restoration of many buildings in St. Augustine, not just the Hotel Ponce de Leon. He was recognized for his efforts with the Order of La Florida Award by then-Governor Bob Graham, and also with a National Trust for Historic Preservation Honor Award.
The exhibit features historic photos and morsels of information about the humble beginnings of the college through today. As most St. Augustine residents and tourists alike know, the college opened its doors in the old hotel during the impactful year of 1968. Now a National Historic Landmark, the former hotel building was only the start of well-needed restoration to local landmarks such as Markland House, and incorporations of new buildings like Abare Hall, for revitalizing historic areas; the latter part of a $23 million complex on the San Sebastian River.
“When I see the transformation of Flagler over the past 50 years, I am amazed at the commitment of our dedicated alumni and former faculty, staff and administrators. I am humbled to continue their work in leading this great college into its next 50 years,” said President Dr. Joseph Joyner.
The exhibit can be accessed in many ways including via Flagler’s Legacy Tours, through the Florida Stories phone app available for free download, or a newly-created 24-page self-guided tour booklet about the historic campus. Flagler’s Legacy Tours are free for St. Johns County residents. The booklet is available to pick up in the Rotunda of Ponce de Leon Hall, where the Legacy Tours begin.
The research, design and installation of the exhibit was performed by Director of Historic Preservation and Special Initiatives at Flagler College, Dr. Leslee F. Keys and her students in her Historic St. Augustine, History of Florida and U.S. History to 1877 classes, as well as through partnerships with Olympus Group and Creative Marketing Designs, both consultants from Orlando.
St. Augustine Mayor Nancy Shaver will open the exhibit with remarks on the college’s preservation efforts in the community and invited guests will begin the first tour of the new exhibit. Patricia Putman, Associate Director, Florida Humanities Council and Andy Witt, Executive Director of the St. Johns Cultural Council, are scheduled to attend on behalf of their respective organizations.
The project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Historical Resources and the State of Florida, and the St. Johns County Tourist Development Council.
The “Flagler 50” exhibit in the Flagler Room of Ponce de Leon Hall is scheduled to run through June 30, 2019. For the list of “Flagler 50” events, please visit www.flagler.edu/flagler50.