Message From the President

Hello from the Florida College campus! As we begin our new fiscal year, I am happy to report that the College finished Fiscal Year 2021 in a strongly positive position despite the challenges of the year of the pandemic. Even the Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors experienced unusual challenges this year. The Leadership Team and I met with the Board in May as usual, but the meeting had to be extended into June because of COVID-related delays. Let me share with you what the Board heard and decided during those meetings.

Fiscal Year 2021 can best be summarized as a year of dramatic change and adjustment that affected every area of the College’s operation. The COVID-19 pandemic, which dominated the world stage from March 2020 to the present time, brought disruption and uncertainty in its wake. Through all of this, the College continued its move forward, building upon our liberal arts core by modifying existing academic programs and adding carefully selected four-year programs which fit well with our core values and which attract large numbers of students.

Our federal government reacted to the pandemic by providing three major stimulus bills and two payroll protection loans that helped both individuals and businesses, including Florida College, survive the worst effects of the pandemic. The Florida College family reacted with agility, creativity, flexibility, determination, and dedicated hard work!

The results coming out of this dramatic year, presented at the Annual Meeting of the Board, can only be described as remarkable and optimistic.

  1. Despite significant challenges in every phase of new student recruitment and an increase in withdrawals of registered students over the summer, our enrollment for fall 2020 was better than projected, and the spring 2021 enrollment was 26 students higher than predicted!
  2. Despite lower overall enrollment and significant increases in expenses due to the pandemic, we presented the Board with balanced budgets for both FY21 and FY22, which the Board approved. Our special thanks to our staffs at Florida College and the Academy for carefully guarding their budgets, and to our federal government for the extra funding. We must continue to be careful with our budgets going forward because in FY23 there will be no more federal funding.
  3. Despite greater challenges in fundraising, we made adjustments which resulted in a record year.
    1. The Adopt Program, the non-Leadership Dinner, Giving Tuesday, and the Week of Giving were all greatly successful.
    2. Several large gifts were received or committed, including a $1.8M commitment to fund the upfront costs for the nursing program over three years.
  4. The four new academic programs being added in Fiscal Year 2022 are all providing positive results for the College.
    1. The nursing program has received approval from the State of Florida and the Southern Association’s Commission on Colleges and has admitted 12 students into its inaugural class to begin in August 2021. The Admissions Office is projecting an additional 16 new students due to the addition of nursing.
    2. The Kinesiology, Marketing and Mass Media programs are attracting new and returning students with sufficient success that the Admissions Office is projecting a fall enrollment of 531 – 40 students higher than last fall!
  5. Despite one of the largest turnovers in personnel in its 75-year history, the College and the Academy have been blessed to find well-qualified, mission-minded, and highly motivated new employees to fill the needed positions.
  6. Several capital projects are underway to support the academic programs and other College needs across the campus.
    1. The renovation of the second floor of Wilson Hall to house the nursing program is due to be completed by the middle of July.
    2. The West Wing of the Chatlos Building is being renovated this summer to house the stacks, reading rooms and the special collections area of the library.
    3. The central area of the first floor of Chatlos will be renovated by January 2022 to house the new mass media laboratory, café, and learning commons.
    4. The Activity Zone on the green space is due to be completed by early August 2021 to provide much-needed outdoor venues for recreation, entertainment, and meetings on the west campus.

We look forward to welcoming all of you back in August with our campus back to normal – classrooms back to normal configurations, chapel back to normal proceedings, college activities and events back to pre-pandemic processes, and intercollegiate athletics activities in our new NAIA conference with full fan support.

Since no one can predict future circumstances relative to the pandemic, our plan is to follow the current CDC recommendations on quarantine of students or staff members diagnosed with COVID this fall. More details will come later in the summer.

Until August, our prayer is that God will bless you with a happy and productive summer season!

President Buddy Payne

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