Abare hands seniors their diploma for the last time as president

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During Saturday’s spring commencement ceremony, about 359 Flagler College students received their undergraduate diplomas at the St. Augustine Amphitheater stage; but it was the last time they will be presented by Dr. William T. Abare, Jr., before he retires as president.

Doug Dvorak, ’84, served as the commencement speaker. During his address, he spoke to the graduating class about the importance of leaving a lasting legacy.

“Dr. Abare started in 1971, when Flagler College only consisted of the Ponce de Leon Hotel and Markland House,” Dvorak said. “He took a risk on Flagler, on building a college. Class of 2017, what will your legacy be?”

The alumnus encouraged students to be motivated, stay focused and finish something: “Take risks like Dr. Abare did, and dare to swim in the rough waters.”

Dvorak highlighted five legacy lessons for Flagler students: “You will fail often,” he said. “The quality of your life is directly proportional to the commitment of excellence you choose to make in your field of endeavor; keep moving forward; never, never give up; and remember that success is not getting what you want, but wanting what you have.”

At the end, Flagler College President Dr. William T. Abare, Jr. conferred on Dvorak an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for his distinguished career and accomplishments in sales and marketing.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Alan Woolfolk presented the President’s Award for Leadership to student Mary-Jo Lendering and the President’s Award for Service to Christopher Rhodes.


Later Saturday, the college’s Public Administration program graduated 14 additional seniors in a second ceremony held in the Lewis Auditorium. The PAD program is designed specifically to meet the educational and career objectives of public sector professionals and includes courses such as management, program evaluation, public budgeting, human resources, administrative ethics, public policy and grant writing.

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