Inauguration FAQs

What is an Inauguration?

The formal installation of a president is one of the most important milestones for any college, and it is something that occurs infrequently, thus lending even more significance to the event. Still, many are unclear as to what an inauguration is and what it entails. So what exactly is an inauguration, and what should you expect at one?

Similar to the inauguration of President of the United States, the inauguration of a university president is the formal ceremony to recognize and celebrate the new leadership of the college. While Dr. George Hagerty was appointed to the position of president in June of 2013, this event gives everyone in the larger Beacon community, including alumni, board members, and the public, an opportunity to assemble and commemorate their shared commitment to the institution.

The word “inauguration” has a Latin root “augur.” This was a member of the official Roman body who would observe and interpret omens or signs from the gods for guidance in public matters. Recognizing a new ruler was an important event for Roman society as it was believed that the gods preferred new beginnings.

Unlike the U.S. president’s inauguration, which occurs as soon as the presidency is begun, universities tend to wait a few months before holding their ceremonies. As in the case of Dr. Hagerty, this time allows the new president to get a better and more complete feel for the college and the community surrounding it and to consider plans for the future direction of the college.

The inauguration is an ideal time to communicate the current strengths of the college as well as to express ideas for the future. Members of the Beacon College community, as well as government officials and special guests are invited to attend, and speakers expected to attend Dr. Hagerty’s inauguration will be announced as they are confirmed. It is also common to have events planned during the week leading up to the inauguration, and Beacon College will be no exception, as special events are planned with current students, alumni, and the greater Beacon community in mind.

What time is the ceremony, and when should I arrive?

The ceremony will begin at 2pm on Friday, February 21st. Staff should begin preparing for the processional at 12:30 pm. Students will gather in the parking lot behind Beacon Hall at 1:30 pm. A convocation will be held before the event so that everyone, including staff, faculty, and students, will know exactly where to be and at what time. We are expecting a large crowd, so it is recommended that guests plan to arrive 30 minutes before 2:00 pm to allow time for parking and finding a seat.

Where will the ceremony take place?

The ceremony will be on the grounds immediately next to Beacon Hall, which is located at 105 East Main Street.

How long will the ceremony be?

We are expecting the entire ceremony, including the processional, to last around one hour and 15 minutes.

Who will be attending the ceremony?

We expect all current members of the College community, including all employees and students, to attend, as well as other Beacon community members such as board members, alumni, and parents. Additionally, we expect special guests to attend as well. The local community is welcome to attend. No RSVP is necessary.

Who will the keynote speaker be?

Dr. Yvonne Pennington, psychologist and mother to Ty Pennington, will be the speaker at this event. Dr. Pennington has 40 years of experience in the field of psychology and is very familiar with learning disabilities and ADHD, having several presentations and publications on the topic and having found ways of helping her own son recognize the benefits of ADHD and excel in his life.

How should I dress for this event?

This is a formal event, so please dress accordingly.

What happens after the formal ceremony?

All guests are welcome and encouraged to stay for a formal reception after the event.

Will Beacon College classes be canceled due to the inauguration?

Afternoon classes (those starting after 12:00 pm) will be canceled on both Thursday, February 20th and Friday, February 21st so that students may participate in the inauguration events. All students are expected to attend the formal inauguration ceremony, and they are encouraged to attend all of the events leading up to it.

What other inauguration events should I be aware of?

  • On Wednesday, February 19th, there will be an art exhibit opening from 4:00-6:00 pm in our art studio featuring the work from Beacon College art professors Russ Bellamy and Van Galyon.
  • On Thursday, February 20th, there will be an academic panel discussion entitled “Replacing Superstitions with Science” presented at 1:30 pm.
  • At 11:30 am on Friday, February 21st, the Founders’ Room located in the Beacon College Library will be formally dedicated.
  • On Saturday, February 22nd, an Open House will be held at Angelo’s Ristorante Italiano: 2270 Vindale Road (off 441); Tavares, FL 32778 from 11 am – 2 pm, allowing a more informal opportunity to meet with the president and other key members of the Beacon College community.

Will I have a chance to meet the president?

A reception will immediately follow the inauguration, which will permit a chance to meet and talk with the president. Additionally, an Open House will be held at Ristorante Italiano in Tavares on Saturday, February 22nd from 11:00 am-2:00 pm, providing an even better opportunity to talk with the president and other key members of the Beacon College community.

I have a question that isn’t listed. What should I do?

Contact Keri Phillips, Director of Development, at 352-638-9768 or