Capital goals: Flagler College and Jacksonville University raising $275 million

The comprehensive capital campaigns are for student opportunities, faculty and programs.

  • By Max Marbut
  • | 12:00 a.m. December 8, 2023
  • | 4 Free Articles Remaining!
Flagler College President John Delaney announces the school’s “Flagler Forward” campaign to raise $100 million.
Flagler College President John Delaney announces the school’s “Flagler Forward” campaign to raise $100 million.
Flagler College
  • Higher Education
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‘Tis the season to raise money at two of Northeast Florida’s institutions of higher learning, with Jacksonville University and Flagler College in St. Augustine currently conducting comprehensive capital campaigns.

Neither campaign is focused on a single project. Instead, both intend to raise money to support future developments and enhancements to curriculum, student opportunities and community impact.

JU President Tim Cost announced the public launch of “Future. Made.” on Oct. 21 with the goal to raise $175 million.

Jacksonville University President Tim Cost announces the school’s “Future. Made.” campaign to raise $175 million.
Jacksonville University

With the funds, the university said it will address climate change; cybersecurity; access to quality health care services; the value of artistic expression in an AI world; the shortage of nurses and pilots; antibiotic-resistant pathogens; the mental health crisis; and respectful, civil discourse that promotes a stronger democracy.

“Our university has a sense of urgency around the possibilities we see on the horizon. We are at a critical time when meaningful, positive change is within reach for those who are willing to think differently, are open to partnering and not afraid of the hard work it will take,” Cost said Oct. 21.

Flagler President John Delaney announced the public launch of “Flagler Forward” at a gala Oct. 19 in the Ponce Dining Hall on the campus in downtown St. Augustine.

The college said the campaign will expand scholarship opportunities to enhance student recruitment; establish new endowed faculty positions; create more experiential learning programs, international programming and undergraduate research opportunities; and build new academic and athletic facilities while restoring the college’s historic spaces.

Opened in 1889 by Standard Oil Co. co-founder Henry Flagler, the former Hotel Ponce de Leon is the architectural centerpiece of Flagler College in St. Augustine. The college was established in 1968.
Flagler College

The $100 million goal for the campaign is augmented by a $35 million historic preservation grant approved by the state Legislature to finance restoration of the Hotel Ponce de Leon, the architectural centerpiece of the college.

“Our vision for moving forward encompasses not only the growth of our institution but also the advancement of our people, the enhancement of our programs and the transformation of our places,” Delaney said Oct. 19.

Higher education fundraising: The strategy

Conducting campaigns to raise money to support multiple initiatives and programs is part of an institution’s life cycle.

“Our campaign is driven by results of a lengthy strategic planning process that involved students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members. The plan reflects what the entire institution thinks priorities should be going forward,” JU Vice President of University Advancement Jonathan Meer said.

Flagler College Vice President of Institutional Advancement Kristy Myers said “Flagler Forward” is the first comprehensive campaign in the college’s history.
Flagler College

While previous campaigns have raised money for specific projects, “Flagler Forward” is the first comprehensive campaign in the college’s history, Vice President of Institutional Advancement Kristy Myers said.

“You have to make sure a degree is worth it. The experience has to match the dollars. This campaign is to ensure we get the best and brightest students and faculty and provide programs that are impactful,” Myers said.

In addition to making more scholarships available for prospective students, part of the money raised will support increased salaries for professors who are experts in their fields, Myers said.

Myers said another part of Flagler’s campaign is focused on preservation of the Hotel Ponce de Leon that the college’s namesake, Gilded Age entrepreneur and Standard Oil Co. co-founder Henry Flagler, opened in 1888.

“We are restoring the hotel. We are not modernizing, we are just making it more user-friendly. It was the most beautiful hotel of its kind when it opened and we are paying homage to the past,” Myers said.

Choosing when to make a comprehensive capital campaign public knowledge also is part of the strategy.

Jacksonville University Vice President of University Advancement Jonathan Meer said the college’s campaign “reflects what the entire institution thinks priorities should be going forward.”
Jacksonville University

By the time Cost made the public announcement, 100% of JU’s board of trustees were pledging to financially support the campaign.

“Setting a goal to raise $175 million is not pie in the sky. We had raised more than $100 million, about 60% of the goal, when we announced the campaign to the public,” Meer said.

“That conveys confidence that the goal will be met.”

Meer said it was important to have the trustee pledges.

“That’s important when you approach foundations and large corporations for their support,” Meer said.

“You put out a bold, audacious goal that might seem unattainable, but when the community rallies, you can achieve great things.”

Two capital campaigns

Here is a look at the capital campaigns for Jacksonville University and Flagler College:

Jacksonville University

Jacksonville University’s “Future. Made.” is supported by five strategic funding priorities:

Pioneering with Purpose: Focuses on the strategic expansion of programs and specialties that match the market and reflect the needs of the community, 

Unwavering Exploration: Is a commitment to solve global issues and build stronger communities through research, applied learning and the arts.

Reimagining Experiences: Has the goal to transform the collegiate experience with enhanced facilities, immersive technology, community engagement and resources designed to help students thrive. 

Ready to Rise: Is dedicated to regional expansion, the continued ascent of JU athletics and informing the national conversation with faculty expertise.

Forever for the Future: Supports institutional longevity, stability and agility through unrestricted funds.

Flagler College

Flagler College’s “Flagler Forward” is designed to move people, programs and places forward.

Students: Nearly all Flagler students depend on financial aid and more than 120 new scholarships have been established. Expanded scholarship opportunities made possible by Flagler Forward will give the college a competitive edge in recruiting top scholars, leaders and athletes from across the country and internationally.

Faculty: Through Flagler Forward, the college will establish 10 new endowed faculty positions. Expanded research grants and teaching excellence awards for faculty will help Flagler recruit, reward and retain the best scholars and teachers.

Programs: Flagler Forward will allow the college to create new academic programs such as experiential learning programs, study abroad and undergraduate research opportunities for students that allow them to work with faculty, present at conferences and publish before graduation.

Places: Flagler Forward restores and protects the college’s historic spaces while creating new community spaces to work, play and create.



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