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Jax Daily Record Wednesday, May 18, 202208:00 AM EST

Flagler College receives $12 million gift

The donation provides matching funds for scholarships, building improvements and enhanced programs for students.
by: Max Marbut Associate Editor

Flagler College in St. Augustine received a $12 million, 3-1 matching gift from the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust.

A news release from the college May 17 says the gift, to be paid over four years, is the largest single donation to Flagler College since the college’s founding in 1968.

“Flagler College has enjoyed remarkable successes in its first 50 years, with strong support from the Kenan Trust,” Flagler College President John Delaney said in the release.

“Our hope is to provide every deserving student at Flagler the opportunity to not just survive but to thrive on our campus and we know this landmark gift will have a lasting impact on our students and our facilities.”

The gift will provide $36 million for increased student financial aid, academic program enhancements, technological infrastructure and the restoration, preservation and better utilization of the campus’s historic buildings, specifically the former Hotel Ponce de Leon.

Up to $2 million of the gift will be a match to other donors in establishing up to 85 new endowed scholarships for students with financial need, as well as minority and first-generation college students.

Up to $1 million is available to match donors interested in providing enhancements to the Flagler Sophomore High Impact Program which aims to deliver educational experiences that benefit the entire student population.

Improvements to the former hotel building, budgeted at about $7 million, will include upgraded climate control, updated corridors, creation of study lounges, community spaces and other enhancements.

In addition, $500,000 will allow creation of classrooms and studio space for the music program that the Kenan Trust helped establish in 2018.

Technological infrastructure improvements also are budgeted through the gift, including a new Enterprise Resource Planning and Student Information System that will streamline student registration, optimize students’ schedules and generate financial statements and budgets on mobile devices.

“We know Flagler College will take this gift and multiply it to provide a world-class education to its students,” Thomas Kenan, Kenan Trust trustee, said in the release.

The relationship between Flagler College and the William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust goes back to the founding of Flagler College and its first major project, which was the renovation of Kenan Hall in 1982, named for William R. Kenan Jr. 

Construction of the Proctor Library in 1996 was funded largely by a grant from the trust. 

Other projects in which the Kenan Trust participated include the restoration of the dining room, the rotunda and the grand parlor in 1989; establishment of the Kenan Endowed Professorship Fund in 2000; renovation of the Molly Wiley Art Building in 2007; a challenge grant to fund student scholarships in 2011; construction of Pollard Hall in 2014; and providing startup funds to launch Flagler College’s music minor in 2018.


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