LEESBURG, Fla. — The board of trustees at Beacon College is among five winners of the 2017 AGB John W. Nason Award for Board Leadership presented by the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. AGB recognized the board for its bold and dynamic leadership weathering a difficult recent presidential transition.
Led by former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a panel of seven presidents and board members chose the trustees at Beacon College — the first college or university accredited to award bachelor’s degrees primarily to students with learning disabilities, ADHD and other learning differences — from a record pool of nearly 70 candidates.
The Beacon “story stood out to the judges because it highlighted the board’s strong leadership in the face of significant challenges,” wrote AGB President Richard D. Legon in the award letter. “The judges were unanimous in their decision that your board should be one of this year’s award recipients.”
The Nason Award is named for the former president of Swarthmore College and Carleton College, and president of the Foreign Policy Association, who perhaps is best known for helping more than 3,000 Japanese-Americans march from World War II detention camps into college classrooms. AGB notes it salutes “boards that go above and beyond what boards should do, and instead take board-driven measures to advance their institutions in ways that truly matter.”
Winning boards exhibit:
- Exceptional leadership and initiative;
- Distinct contributions to strengthening governance and trusteeship;
- Unusual courage in the face of difficult circumstances; or
- Significant achievement that benefits the institution, system, or foundation.
Beacon College’s board of trustees sets the institution’s strategic direction in broad strokes, directs critical investments in personnel and infrastructure and provides support and oversight to the president and the college’s leadership team. Because of its legacy as a college founded in Leesburg in 1989 by parents, several board members are chosen from among accomplished alumni parents.
“For any college or university in the United states, AGB’s Nason Award is a high honor because it recognizes the hallmark of American higher education — that is, institutions of higher education are governed by a body of citizens who dedicate their time and expertise to protecting the public trust,” said Dr. George J. Hagerty, Beacon president. “For a young and maturing institution of higher education, an award such as this is tribute to the work and vision of our founders and those who are carrying the torch to create the best college of our kind in the United States.”
AGB representatives will present Beacon College its award at a future board meeting. AGB also will salute the 2017 Nason winners during the April 2 plenary session of its National Conference on Trusteeship in Dallas, Texas. In addition, AGB will present a case study of Beacon trustee’s excellence in the March/April 2017 issue of AGB’s Trusteeship magazine and on AGB.org.
“The Nason Award is a prestigious acknowledgement of the commitment and achievements of the Beacon College Board of Trustees,” said Eileen Marinakis, who served as board chairwoman during the transitional period. “The Beacon board has always held a belief in their ability to effectively govern a prestigious college devoted to high-quality baccalaureate education for a population of learners who have long been underserved. We have been aided by President Hagerty and an outstanding administrative staff and faculty. We feel honored to have been recognized with this outstanding honor by AGB.”
Beacon is the first college or university accredited to award bachelor’s degrees primarily to students with learning disabilities, ADHD and other learning differences. With 320 students and nine academic programs, it is nationally recognized as a topflight institution for supporting and preparing students who learn differently to prosper in a global economy.
The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), with a membership of 1,300 boards representing 1,900 colleges, universities, and institutionally related foundations, is the premier organization centered on governance in higher education.