Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) is a comprehensive interdenominational (there are more than 26 denominations represented in the student body) faith-based university with a core emphasis on character formation by integrating a Christian worldview with the liberal arts and selected professional studies. It is located in West Palm Beach, in the U.S. state of Florida approximately one mile (1.6 km) from the Atlantic Ocean on the Intracoastal Waterway. Its purpose is to offer a curriculum of rigorous studies and a program of student activities dedicated to the development of lifetime learning, leadership and service to mankind. The mean SAT is 1270. The student to faculty ratio is 12:1 with 174 faculty. William “Bill” M. B. Fleming, Jr. serves as president of the university.


Palm Beach Atlantic University was the vision of and was founded by Jess C. Moody in 1968 while he was the pastor of First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach. He served until the first class graduated in 1972 and resigned from the presidency to focus on his duties at First Baptist Church. Two laymen of the church, Donald Warren and Riley Sims, became involved as trustees before the university began and continued to contribute time and support for many years. Warren served as chairman of the trustees for 38 years until 2007.

In July 1972, Warner E. Fusselle, previously President of Truett-McConnell College, became the second President of the university and led the accreditation process with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools which was achieved in December 1972.

Dr. George Borders, Vice President of Student Affairs at Stetson University, became the third President of Palm Beach Atlantic University in 1978. He was popular with students and the Florida Baptist Convention. After his resignation in 1981 to become the President of the Florida Baptist Foundation, Claude H. Rhea became president.

Rhea's leadership saw the development of the Rinker campus and expansion of academic programs.

Dr. Paul R. Corts, previously president of Wingate College, became the fifth President of Palm Beach Atlantic. He presided over the addition of two graduate programs, from 1991 until 2002. He resigned in 2002 to accept a position as Assistant Attorney General for Administration with the United States Department of Justice.

Dr. David C. Clark, President of FamilyNet, and founding provost of Regent University became the sixth President in 2003. During his presidency enrollment grew from 2600 to 3291. Five new buildings were completed including the magnificent Warren Library, a mini campus in Wellington was built, and 96 acres (390,000 m2) for a new athletic campus were acquired. The university budget grew from $43 million to $73 million. Over 4,600 or 40 percent of all degrees were awarded during his tenure. President Clark announced his retirement during the 2008-9 academic year the end of June.

On July 1, 2009, Lu Hardin took office as the seventh president of Palm Beach Atlantic University. A former Arkansas state senator, Hardin had previously served as the president of the University of Central Arkansas.[4] Hardin resigned the presidency of PBA on March 4, 2011,[5] shortly before pleading guilty in federal court in Little Rock, Arkansas, to two federal felony charges (wire fraud and money laundering) which occurred during his tenure at UCA.[6]

On March 10, 2011, William M. B. “Bill” Fleming, Jr., the university's vice president for development, was named interim president by the university's Board of Trustees.[7] After a nationwide search Fleming, who had served as interim president for more than a year, was elected by the trustees as the University’s eighth president, beginning his presidency on May 8, 2012.[8]


Palm Beach Atlantic University

PBA's campus is located in West Palm Beach. The first structure built specifically for PBA, the W.G. Lassiter Jr. Student Center, was completed in 1982. This was followed by Johnson Hall and Sachs Hall in 1989. A new campus was established in Orlando in 2002 and in Wellington in 2002. The Wellington campus ceased operations in 2017.

Residence halls include Oceanview Hall, Rinker Hall, Baxter Hall, Johnson Hall, Weyenberg Hall, Flagler Towers Apartments, Samaritan Gardens Apartments, Coastal Towers Apartments, Lakeview Apartments, and Mango Apartments.

Classroom buildings include the Vera Lea Rinker School of Music and Fine Arts, the Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy, Borbe Hall, MacArthur Hall, Rinker Hall, Pembroke Hall, Oceanview Hall, The Greene Complex for Sports and Recreation, and the Okeechobee Building.

A continuous building program has characterized the last decade of growth at Palm Beach Atlantic University. In January 2007 the first phase of the state-of-the-art 62,000 sq ft (5,800 m2). Warren Library was dedicated. The second phase was completed in December 2009 and is a total of 86.000 sq ft (7.9897 m2). The building is named after Donald Warren, who served as the first chairman of the Board of Trustees for 38 years. The university has an extension campus in Orlando offering adult and graduate degrees.

A permanent home for Sailfish athletics is in the form of a 78-acre Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker Athletic Campus at 3401 Parker Avenue in West Palm Beach — just a short drive from Palm Beach Atlantic University. The campus, located between I-95 and Parker Avenue just north of Southern Boulevard, provides facilities for training and hosting intercollegiate and intramural and club sport competitions. The facility opened in September 2014 and was completed in August 2017. [9] The athletic campus includes lighted competition baseball, softball and soccer fields, an intramural softball field, Mitch Gornto Tennis Center with 12 match courts and one championship court. Outdoor basketball, racquetball and sand volleyball courts are to be completed at a later date.


PBA provides a Christ-centered education experience with more than 50 undergraduate and graduate programs. The University is composed of nine schools, granting various undergraduate and graduate degrees. These schools include

  • Rinker School of Business : - Accredited by the International Assembly of Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), the Rinker School of Business offers undergraduate majors in Accounting, Finance, International Business, Management and Marketing. A Masters of Business Administration (M.B.A) is also offered.
  • School of Arts and Sciences : - The School of Arts and Sciences offers many undergraduate degrees in the areas of arts, humanities, natural sciences, mathematics and computer sciences.
  • School of Communication and Media : - The School houses the 12,000 square foot Fern Street Theatre and a 2,300-square-foot television studio, while offering undergraduate majors offered include: Cinema-Television, Communication, Journalism, Public Relations and Theatre
  • School of Education and Behavioral Studies : - The School offers majors in the areas of Education, Psychology and Health and Human Performance. Additionally, the School houses the Graduate Counseling Center and the Human Performance Laboratory.
  • MacArthur School of Leadership : - The Catherine T. MacArthur School of Leadership at Palm Beach Atlantic University prepares students intellectually, spiritually, and professionally, for local and global leadership. The school offers a B.S. in Organizational Management and a M.S. in Leadership.
  • School of Ministry : - The school offers undergraduate degrees in Ministry, Biblical and Theological Studies and Cross-Cultural Studies, as well as an Masters of Divinity degree.
  • School of Music and Fine Arts : - The School offers an array of majors such as art education, graphic arts and voice performance. PBA is one of just three Christian institutions in the nation to offer a dance major.
  • School of Nursing : - Palm Beach Atlantic University offers one of the top nursing programs in Florida and the only Christian nursing program in the state nationally accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Degrees offered include a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a Master of Science in Nursing and a Doctor of Nursing Practice
  • Gregory School of Pharmacy : - The Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. PBA’s pharmacy graduates have routinely exceeded both the State and U.S. average in the NAPLEX pass rate. GSOP students have placed first in the annual Florida Pharmacy Association NASPA/NMA competition four of the past five years. In addition GSOP students complete annually over 4,500 hours of service both locally and abroad.

Ministry life

Chapel is held four times weekly in the DeSantis Family Chapel, Monday through Thursday at 11 a.m., as well as other times, dates and locations that are listed on the chapel calendar. Chapel is a requirement for all full-time undergrad students. Students must attend 24 chapels per year. [10]

Workship is a distinctive community service program that responds to human needs with Christ-like action in the community and the world. Through community service, students can discern their vocation and develop a lifelong habit of servant leadership. To date, Palm Beach Atlantic students have volunteered more than 3.1 million hours.

Mission Trips are offered yearly for students. Mission teams travel to countries all over the world and minister through evangelism, performing arts, street ministries, construction, medical outreach, sports workshops and more. The teams travel during the summer on a multi-week trip and on a one-week Spring Break trip. [11]

Frederick M. Supper Honors Program

One of the school's most distinguishing features is the Frederick M. Supper Honors Program, in which students read primary texts and take part in Socratic dialogue to understand the predominant and defining ideologies of the major historical epochs. The program seeks not only to provide a rigorous education in the liberal arts, but also to incorporate students into the Great Conversation among writers of the Western canon.

The program is separated into six major "World of" classes in the following sequence: The World of Polis and the Covenant, The World of Caesar and Christ, The World of Christendom and Islam, The World of Humanism and Reform, The World of Reason and Revolt, and The World of Despair and Hope. Official descriptions for each honors course are listed below. During the first two semesters, students also take courses that are analogous to Public Speaking and Composition I and II, respectively known as Rhetorical Eloquence and Writing About Literature. The program is initiated (with Rhetorical Eloquence) and terminated (with Christian Vocation and Worldview) with instruction from the Honors program coordinator. Upon exit of the program, students are required to defend their studies in an oral exam with the coordinator and two additional professors of their choice.

Also required for the Honors program is a special elective course. Students have many options for their elective. Some students choose to study abroad at the Scholars' Semester in Oxford (or another available study abroad opportunity), and many students choose to take an elective course on campus. Examples of courses that were offered in the past and currently as honors electives are: Design, Chance, and Necessity; Narrative Studies; Utopia; and Autobiographies.

The Centers of Excellence

Palm Beach Atlantic University has five centers of excellence, which provide opportunities for students to gain expertise in their given field.

Gregory Center for Medical Missions: The Gregory Center for Medical Missions collaborates with other medical mission organizations, works to develop best practices and trains individuals.

The LeMieux Center for Public Policy: Established by former senator George LeMieux in 2012, The LeMieux Center provides opportunities for students to engage with state and national elected officials, journalists, authors and other notable leaders. The Center also hosts a notable lecture series through the academic school year and manages a fellows program.

David and Leighan Rinker Center for Experiential Learning: The Center for Experiential Learning provides academic travel experiences for university students.

Center for Integrative Science Learning: The Center works with local elementary, middle and high schools to incorporate scientific principles all grade levels.

The Titus Center for Franchising: Titus Center offers academic coursework, internships, job shadowing and training at area franchises, including the global headquarters of United Franchise Group in West Palm Beach, Florida. Dr. John P. Hayes is the Center’s director.

National rankings

  • Palm Beach Atlantic achieved the status of 43rd in the Tier One Top 60 category of "Universities-Master's (South)" by US News & World Report[12]
  • The Princeton Review ranked PBAU "One of the Best Southeast Colleges" in 2008.
  • Listed in "100 Best Buy Colleges" in the United States for 2007. One of only four in Florida.
  • Listed by the Templeton Foundation as a "College That Encourages Character".
  • Listed by U.S. News as #46 in Colleges, Regional Universities (South) 2016.

Accreditation & memberships

Palm Beach Atlantic University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.

Membership is maintained in many organizations including:


As of August 2017, PBA is a member of the Sunshine State Conference, NCAA Division II. The Men's lacrosse team competes as a Division II member of the MCLA in the SouthEastern Lacrosse Conference. School colors are navy blue and white. The new athletic campus has soccer, lacrosse, baseball, softball, tennis, and running trails as well as a new state of the art weight and training room. The new 34,000 sq ft (3,200 m2) building houses locker rooms, meeting rooms as well as athletic offices. The university fields various men's and women's athletics:

Notable alumni


  1. ^ "Palm Beach Atlantic University's new president has controversial past". Palm Beach Post. Archived from the original on November 16, 2009. Retrieved January 14, 2017. 
  2. ^ As of March 22, 2017. "Palm Beach Atlantic University About PBA". Palm BEach Atlantic University. Retrieved March 22, 2017. 
  3. ^ "College Search - Palm Beach Atlantic University - PBA". Retrieved March 22, 2017. 
  4. ^ "Campus Community Gets First Glimpse of New President". 
  5. ^ "University President Lu Hardin Resigns". 
  6. ^ Brantley, Max (March 7, 2011). "Lu Hardin pleads to wire fraud, money laundering". Arkansas Times. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  7. ^ Abramson, Andrew (March 10, 2011). "Palm Beach Atlantic University appoints vice president to fill top job temporarily". Palm Beach Post. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  8. ^ "William Fleming named PBA President - Palm Beach Atlantic University". Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Rinker Athletic Campus - Palm Beach Atlantic University". Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  10. ^ "404 Error - Palm Beach Atlantic University". Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  11. ^ "404 Error - Palm Beach Atlantic University". Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  12. ^ "Best Colleges". US News & World Report. Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Live, From West Palm Beach, It's Commencement - Palm Beach Atlantic University". Retrieved June 14, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Jennifer Rothschild - About". Retrieved January 14, 2017. 


  • Paul W. Beasley. Guided By God's Hand: PBA's First 35 Years. (Atlanta: Crux Communication, 2003).
  • Donald E. Warren (2009). Miracles & Wonders: A Chronicle of Palm Beach Atlantic University. Palm Beach Atlantic University. ISBN 978-0-615-32688-7. 

External links

Coordinates: 26°42′13″N 80°03′05″W / 26.7036016°N 80.0513967°W / 26.7036016; -80.0513967