Founded in 1968 on the grounds of St. Augustine’s legendary Ponce de Leon Hotel – a luxury resort founded in 1888 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places – Flagler College was destined to be an unusual institution. Flagler owes its existence to Lawrence Lewis, a distant relative of Henry Morrison Flagler, the oil and railroad baron who almost single-handedly invented Florida’s tourism industry, including the Ponce de Leon; Lewis dedicated millions to his vision of creating a small liberal arts college in the historic space, and served as chairman of the college’s board for two decades. Currently, Flagler is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the #2 regional institution in the South, and has long been recognized as one of Florida’s most elite and prestigious small liberal arts colleges.
Flagler College is, at its heart, a traditional liberal arts college, dedicated to the classical values of a well-rounded general education. A student:faculty ratio of 16:1, small classes, and a student body that remains small by design, all contribute to the solidarity, support, and collaboration that makes the liberal arts model of education such a long-lasting one. All students come in to the First Year Experience, a collaborative model that helps new students acclimate and learn the basic skills of college, contributing to a high freshman retention rate. The values of the liberal arts – communication, critical thinking, adaptability, and curiosity – are on full display in Flagler’s core curriculum.
Flagler offers more than 60 specialized majors and minors, from the humanities and liberal arts to pre-professional programs in business and education. Flagler has one of the best sports management programs in Florida, as well as a model Hospitality & Tourism Management degree – not a surprise for St. Augustine, Fl, the oldest city in the US and a major tourist destination. In addition, Flagler is known as a leader in Deaf Education, and, as an important corollary, Flagler is one of the nation’s top colleges for accessibility technology. Flagler is deeply involved with the government and industry of St. Augustine, giving students excellent entry into career-making internships and other experiential learning opportunities, making Flagler’s graduates job market-ready no matter what field.
St. Augustine, FL, is central to Flagler’s student life. As the oldest continuously-occupied city in the US, St. Augustine is rich in history and one of Florida’s most beloved tourist attractions, and Flagler’s students make the most of it, from service activities to the world-renowned beaches just a few minutes away. The city’s nightlife and daytime activities keep students busy, as do more than 50 student-led clubs and organizations. With a student body of around 2500, Flagler students take part in professional organizations, cultural and religious groups, honor societies, and special interest clubs from Anime to Quidditch. The Flagler Saints compete in 14 NCAA Division II varsity sports, including one of the nation’s top women’s volleyball teams – again, a natural fit for Florida.