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- 2013 - September - 4th -

Workspace: Tim Cost, Jacksonville University president

  • Jacksonville University President Tim Cost tries to represent the many components of the college on his office shelves, including pieces from many of the sports teams.
    Photo by Tracy Jones. Purchase this photo
  • Rather than sitting at his desk, Cost prefers to often sit at the conference table and work so he can watch the students and staff from the windows.
    Photo by Tracy Jones
  • The hardhat represents construction projects, including renovating the president’s old house to an education facility.
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  • Much of the original wood paneling and furniture remains the same from when Fran Kinne led the school, Cost said.
    Photo by Tracy Jones. Purchase this photo
  • One of Cost’s favorite pieces in his office is a JU figurine his girlfriend gave him after he pitched a game for the university as a student. That girlfriend became his wife, Stephanie. They’ve been married for 31 years.
    Photo by Tracy Jones. Purchase this photo
  • A 3-D art piece is exhibited in the waiting room of Cost’s office. The piece is called “Towers of Learning” by Patrick Hughes.
    Photo by Tracy Jones. Purchase this photo
  • Cost likes to feature the athletic programs available on campus on his bookshelves, including the school’s soccer, lacrosse and baseball teams.
    Photo by Tracy Jones. Purchase this photo
  • This dolphin sculpture on a table outside his office represents the school’s mascot.
    Photo by Tracy Jones. Purchase this photo
  • Cost and his wife, Stephanie, donated furniture for the office’s waiting room, soon after moving to Jacksonville.
    Photo by Tracy Jones. Purchase this photo
  • Cost’s own JU degree is still waiting to be hung though he’s been there since February. It was given to him by Fran Kinne in 1981. He still turns to her frequently for advice and inspiration.
    Photo by Tracy Jones. Purchase this photo

by Tracy Jones, Contributing Writer

Tim Cost often spends time staring outside the wall of windows from his office that faces Jacksonville University's campus.

Each student who walks by represents a way for the university to improve, Cost said.

From those windows, he noticed students would get mud and grass clippings on their shoes while walking on a popular unpaved path. So, he asked that a sidewalk be installed during a school break.

Other changes he's made since being named president in February include extending dining hours and renovating buildings. Cost said many of the changes may seem small but are important because they improve the student experience.

"To feel the optimism of the incoming students and their parents, it's a compelling reason to want to try and help serve, and I serve the students," he said on the second day of the fall semester.

One of his main goals for this school year is to cater more to students' ever-changing habits by adding more dining options and more wireless spots on campus.

"It's not up to me or the administration or staff to put a template down on top of these students," Cost said. "It's our job, in my opinion, to listen to these students and (decide) how do we enhance and enrich this learning experience that they have."

Cost came to Jacksonville in February from Philadelphia, where he was a consultant for PepsiCo. He worked for decades in the business sector, but has strong roots in Jacksonville. The Syracuse, N.Y., native was recruited to play baseball for the school and graduated from the university in 1981. There are still faculty members at JU who taught when he was a student.

"It is a pleasure to be around this kind of intellectual horsepower on a daily basis," Cost said.

Someone he draws much inspiration from is the woman who gave him his diploma – former JU President Fran Kinne. Many of her dolphin-inspired art pieces remain in Cost's office.

He also kept the office's original wood paneling, preferring the money be spent on other campus improvements that benefit students more directly, he said.

Cost said it is important to make the learning experience for students as strong as it can be and to make the university an integral part of Jacksonville. Being an alumnus only strengthens his desire to improve the school, he said.

"There's a very deep commitment to make sure this place is a great, great institution," Cost said.

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