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The Student Newspaper of Palm Beach Atlantic University Volume 7, Issue 16

readmybeacon.com

Fleming takes the reins

Monday, March 21, 2011

Why Hardin left PBA By Anna Zetterberg Managing Editor

“We’ve got a team approach, creating an open and transparent, exciting process on campus.” -Bill Fleming

christina Cernik / photo editor

By Anna Zetterberg Managing Editor

W

hen Lu Hardin resigned, spring break began with a looming question for Palm Beach Atlantic University: What happens now? The question the PBA community faced on Friday, March 4 was resolved by the time school was back in session. PBA’s vice president of development agreed to take the reins as interim president until PBA finds its eighth president. William “Bill” Fleming hails from Jenkintown, Pa., a suburb of Philadelphia and graduated from Gilford College in North Carolina with a degree in political science. His wife serves

as assistant director at a preschool in Wellington and he has two sons. His eyes lit up when he said he’d been married 34 years to Mrs. Pam Fleming and like a proud father, described his sons, both married with successful jobs— an attorney in Birmingham, Ala., and an assistant strength conditioning coach at the University of Central Florida. “Bill is a churchman who loves his wife and his family. This goes a long way,” said Bernie Cueto, campus pastor at PBA. Fleming has been a part of PBA’s “team” since 1992. After nearly two decades at PBA, he has witnessed significant change and growth while on staff. “There were 1,500 students when I came; there are 3,600 now,” Fleming said, adding that buildings on campus

Beacon reporter soars with Missionary Flights

By Meghan Gilmore Staff Writer Missionary Flights International has been key in provided aid to Haiti in the aftermath of the earthquake, and on Saturday, March 5, I got to take a ride in one of the MFI airplanes. MFI holds an open house once a year where adults and children can go to the headquarters in Fort Pierce to have lunch, tour the hangar, meet the pilots, and best of all, go for a flight around the St. Lucie County International Airport for a $20 donation to MFI. “The open house is held once a year,” said Ric Hallquist, DC-3 captain and mechanic for MFI. “We had a good turnout this year, but it doesn’t provide much in the way of funds. It does make us known in the community and we certainly get volunteers to

help us, which is invaluable.” I attended the open house with fellow Palm Beach Atlantic University students Heisy Padilla and Jeremiah Dias. At the open house, I learned about the services that MFI offers. MFI maintains regular passenger service each week to and from the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Mission families, medical teams and work teams are transported for low prices. MFI also handles first class mail and parcel post for over 700 affiliated missionaries and their missions. Padilla, originally from Honduras, had never been on an airplane before. The captain warned that it may be a bit of a bumpy ride because of the wind, but Padilla didn’t think bumpy was a fitting description after the flight. “It was crazy!” Padilla said.

such as Baxter Hall, Oceanview Hall, Vera Lea Rinker Hall, Gregory Hall, Greene Complex, Warren Library, Pembroke Hall and DeSantis Family Chapel did not exist when he first joined. Fleming’s long stay at PBA has given him the opportunity to get to know faculty, alumni and students, who have welcomed Fleming’s leadership, expressing their confidence in his capabilities as interim president. “I’m very excited that Bill Fleming has been chosen as our interim president,” said Patrick Moody, pastor of Village Baptist Church. “As a member of the alumni board, I think he was an excellent choice and I know that he will do a superb work in that position.” see Fleming, page 2

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A group boards a Missionary Flight International plane on March 5. meghan gilmore / staff photographer

“I felt like I was on a roller coaster. I lost my stomach a couple of times. But despite the roughness, I loved it and I want to do it again!” Dias had a lot of fun and learned a lot. “Yes, it was most definitely a blast; nothing like hurtling into the sky at a couple hundred miles-per-hour to make for an epic day,” Dias said. Dias was really interested in learning about the history of see MFI, page 2

Just three days after resigning from his post as Palm Beach Atlantic University president, Lu Hardin pleaded guilty to two felony charges in federal court: money laundering and wire fraud during his time as president of the University of Central Arkansas. A sentencing date has not been set. Hardin served as UCA’s president from the fall of 2002 to the spring of 2009, before joining PBA in the fall of 2009. Taylor Lowery, editor of UCA’s student newspaper Echo, acknowledged Hardin’s contributions but said that ultimately, Hardin left a negative taste in UCA’s mouth. “During his time as president, Lu Hardin did a lot of good things for UCA,” Lowery told The Beacon. “What he will be remembered for, however, is tarnishing the reputation of a wonderful university and causing an unfair amount of negative attention to the administration, faculty and students who didn’t deserve it.” Since UCA is a public university, it receives funding from state coffers, tuition, fees and donations. Hardin was paid the maximum legal salary of $250,000 from state funds, prosecutors said. In 2005, the UCA board awarded Hardin a $300,000 bonus to be paid at the end of five years, prosecutors said. The monies were to come from private funds, since Hardin’s salary was already at the maximum legal amount allowed from public funds. Two years later, in 2007, the board awarded Hardin a $100,000 bonus to be paid from private funds. “Unbeknownst to the UCA Board,” prosecutors said, Hardin instructed those under him to pay him the sum immediately from UCA funds, which came from taxpayer dollars, not private donations. In 2008, Hardin presented forged documents to receive the $300,000 bonus immediately in order to help pay off his personal debt, prosecutors said. He wrote the letters as if they were from the UCA vice president of administration, the UCA executive vice president and the UCA vice president for finance. The board voted to give Hardin the $300,000, believing the funds would come from private donations, prosecutors said. “The payments were derived, in whole or in part, from public funds,” prosecutors said. According to the Associated Press,

inside...

PBA professor’s relatives survive tsunami in Japan.

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Justin Bieber’s new movie surprises.

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see Hardin, page 2

March 21 Issue  

The March 21 Issue of the Beacon. News Story: Why Hardin Left PBA.

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