Beacon College

Hurricane Updates

Irma Updates BlockHere you will find the latest information and updates regarding Hurricane Irma and Beacon College. The college’s Crisis Response Team is monitoring Irma’s path and stands ready to activate its coordinated emergency response plan — including its campus text alert system — to ensure the safety and security of students should Hurricane Irma pose an imminent threat to Central Florida.

The Office of College Communications will also disseminate periodic updates and the latest information as warranted through email and the college’s social media channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.


Latest Updates

Hurricane Update – September 12, 2017

Dear Beacon Community and Families:

This morning, the College focused on assessing damage and preparing our buildings and campus to resume scheduled Wednesday, September 13, classes.  With power now restored to all major buildings and residences, we feel confident that we can resume our daily routines.

Intermittent interruptions with the internet and Wi-Fi may persist; however, our full IT staff is busy resolving post-storm issues.  The College’s telephone system is operational.  Tuesday’s evening meal will be served at the Chopping Block and run according to its regular schedule thereafter.  The Student Center has resumed its normal operating hours of 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

We understand that students returning to campus may experience travel delays.  We have anticipated this likelihood – professors are aware of this – and we will exercise flexibility in accommodating returning students.  Our greatest priority is their safe return to Beacon.

In closing, I extend my profound thanks to the Beacon employees and those of Sodexo-Beacon who prepared for and oversaw the details of the College’s response to Hurricane Irma.  Our students and campus were protected throughout the ordeal by the selfless acts of many – especially representatives from our Academic and Student Affairs Division and Resident staff, Campus Safety, Facilities and Dining, Counseling, and the Learning Specialists in the Center for Student Success.  A particular note of appreciation is due to Drs. Shelly Chandler and Kerry Greenstein, our Provost and Dean of Student Affairs, whose leadership guided the campus throughout the weekend.


George Hagerty
President, Beacon College

Hurricane Update – September 11, 2017 12:20 PM

With the worst of Hurricane Irma behind us, the College has shifted focus to restoring normal operations.

As mentioned in an earlier update, electricity remains out in the Woodward Apartments. Repairs are being arranged and contingency plans are in place to support affected students.

Off-campus students who left town during Irma and return to power outages and/or flooding can come to campus. Temporary housing arrangements will be made.

Flooding and electrical issues at the Chopping Block have been resolved. Students will be transported to the eatery for hot meals this evening.

Tuesday, academic and support services will resume as outlined this past Friday.

Our timeline for resuming classes Wednesday Sept. 13 stands.

We understand that students who left campus to hunker down elsewhere during the storm might run into complications with return travel plans. Instructors and college officials understand this and we will act with appropriate flexibility.

Our primary concern is the safe return of students to the Beacon community.

Because of gas concerns, the sheer number of students with different arrivals, and the fact that our shuttle capacity will be in service on campus, Beacon will not be providing shuttle service from Orlando International or Sanford Airports.

We recommend students arrange for a ride-sharing pick-up such as Lyft or Uber or arrange in advance for a pick-up with Lake Limo Transportation Service: 800-448-2808.

We believe we have provided the best available information we can today. We will provide another update late tomorrow once more thorough campus inspections and discussions have been conducted.

Hurricane Update – September 11, 2017 8:46 AM

Irma - Chowtime Monday morningIrma barged into Leesburg last night, an unwelcome guest, but the students and staffers who weathered the storm in the Student Center Sunday night emerged unscathed this morning.

Team Beacon arose early Monday morning to check on students and to survey the aftermath.

Power remained on through the night. Two of the three residence halls have power this morning, and crews are working to restore the third. The campus sustained minor wind and light flooding in the Chopping Block, but emerged largely not too worse for wear.

Students are putting on the feedbag w ith breakfast by dawn’s early light.

Classes tentatively will resume Wednesday, but a final determination is pending.


“Team Beacon”

Irma - Team Beacon2

Ready for action

Hurricane Update – September 10, 2017

Security sweeps on student residences — check. Staffers and counselors in place — check. Students accounted for and hunkering down in place in Beacon College Student Center for better than an hour — check.

Beacon Hunkers Down During Hurricane irma

Beacon Shelters In Student Center During Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Update – September 9, 2017 4:50 PM

Dear members of the Beacon community and families:

My previous messages this week have explained the preparations underway for Hurricane Irma’s Central Florida impact. As of this Saturday morning, all measures are now in place to protect our students and the campus in the expectation of the most severe weather projected (i.e., Category 3 winds, 10-12 inches of rain, and sustained power outages). We are all hoping for much better circumstances than this worst-case scenario, but stand ready as a community to confront such a situation.

My interest now, as the storm prepares to make landfall to our south, is to detail our actions during and in the wake of the hurricane:

  • All data from the National Weather Service, the National Hurricane Center, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency indicate that winds of 45 mph are not expected to affect Leesburg until mid-afternoon on Sunday, September 10.
  • As we wish for our students to enjoy one more night of rest in their beds, a mandatory shelter-in-place in the College’s Student Center directive will be effective at noon Sunday. The Student Center will open at 9 a.m. Sunday, so that students may bring those items essential for sleeping and comfort.
  • We are encouraging students to go to the Chopping Block between 9 a.m. and noon to enjoy a hot meal, as, if power outages do occur, our service, while ample, will likely be limited to cold offerings (e.g., cereals, snacks, sandwiches, and luncheon rolls).
  • Once the students and our staff (including, a nurse and counselors) are “sheltered in place,” the group will remain in the Center until College officials deem that weather conditions permit students to return to their residences (and, for those off-campus students who are joining us, to their respective homes and apartments).
  • Our director of campus safety, Ryan Nesbitt, and his officers, in conjunction with the housing and resident life staff, will conduct a complete tour of all campus residences to ensure that all students comply with the mandatory Student Center “shelter-in-place” order. They will ensure that each room has been secured, with doors and windows locked, as well as electrical devices unplugged and water turned off.
  • Students will have their cell phones, so staffers will encourage them to update parents that they have sheltered in place and are safe. Since there will be limited availability for students to recharge their phones — and a power outage would thwart recharging — we ask our students and family members observe brief conversations to conserve battery life. We encourage our students to arrive with their phones and other electronic devices fully charged.
  • We learned much from Hurricane Matthew last October, including those activities and supports that help time pass more comfortably. Dean of students Dr. Kerry Greenstein and his student affairs staff are well prepared.
  • As power permits, you will be receiving brief regular updates from our director of communications, Mr. Darryl Owens, via our website. Assuming that we experience a sustained power outage on campus, we will endeavor to use alternative methods of communication, including direct text messaging and emails.
  • The storm is expected to continue with sustained winds through mid-afternoon on Monday. Once the winds calm to 20-25 mph, Mr. Sam Morgano and our facilities team will inspect the campus for any issues that might jeopardize the safe return of our students to residences and, ultimately, to the Chopping Block for dining services.
  • Once Provost Shelly Chandler and Dr. Greenstein determine that the campus is safe for students to return to their residences, we will transport students to their housing via the College’s shuttle buses. If weather conditions follow the current projections, we expect this will occur no earlier than Monday evening or Tuesday morning.
  • With students safely in their residences, our attention will turn to providing hot meals as quickly as possible. We have secured gas grills should power not be restored by Monday evening.

At present, students on campus are pursuing their daily routines (with additional shuttle service to Wal-Mart for some last-minute shopping). All of the students with whom I have interacted today (20 to 30) are upbeat, although understandably anxious about the impending storm.

For our students departing for Italy from JFK this evening, we wish you Godspeed. For those who are away from campus for the next several days, we await your safe return to us. Know that, for those of us on the Beacon campus, students and staff, the days ahead will be guided by the dictates of safety. Assuredly, we shall all celebrate Hurricane Irma’s ultimate departure.


George​ Hagerty
President, Beacon College

Hurricane Update – September 9, 2016

President George Hagerty later this afternoon will issue his latest update on Beacon College preparations for Hurricane Irma and the plans for getting back up to speed after the storm. Similarly, nearly a year ago, Beacon College weathered the first hurricane in nearly a decade to threaten Central Florida, Hurricane Matthew.

President Hagerty rode out the storm with Beacon students and later chronicled the experience and the true grit of Beacon students in this essay for The Orlando Sentinel:–101616-20161017-story.html.

Hurricane Update – September 8, 2017

Dear Beacon Community and Families:

Weather reports now confirm that the City of Leesburg and Lake County, the home to Beacon College, will need to brace for a Category 2/3 hurricane.  As you know, we have been making preparations for a range of options and, based on the likelihood of severe weather, the College is now able to more clearly focus its preparations:

  • Campus Dining Services, shuttle transportation, and services offered at the Center for Student Success will remain available as scheduled through 12 noon, Sunday, September 10;
  • Given the predicted path and timing of the storm’s arrival, Beacon will require that all students shelter in place in the Student Center commencing at 12 noon on Sunday.  This means that all students must leave their residence and transfer to the Student Center by that time (transported by Beacon’s shuttle service).  Students may arrive with their essential belongings at the Student Center as early as 9:00 a.m.;
  • Current projections of the hurricane’s path suggest that students should expect to shelter in place from Sunday afternoon until conditions have cleared and campus is deemed safe.  The timeframe may be shorter or longer and will be determined by the College as our individual and collective safety requires;
  • The Chopping Block will remain open for dining as long as weather and safety permit, so that students may continue enjoying hot meals for as long as rain and power allow;
  • With the current storm projections, the Leesburg area will likely have an interruption in power.  Generators have been tested and are ready to maintain as comfortable a climate as is possible during the duration of the storm in two main facilities: the Student Center and Beacon Hall;
  • Students and on-campus staff are encouraged to power up their phones and electronic devices prior to sheltering in place.  Although outlets will be available, they will be limited and susceptible to power interruption, even with generator backups;
  • Please remember that the most updated information will be available on the College’s website:, and for students and staff via the College-wide emergency texting system;
  • Please expect to receive one more update on Saturday before the required shelter in place move for all students in residences.

We believe that we have prepared well for any contingency and will celebrate Irma’s departure.


George Hagerty
President, Beacon College


Hurricane Update – September 7, 2017

Dear Beacon Community and Families:

Along with each of you, the College has been tracking the course of Hurricane Irma in expectation of it making landfall in Florida. Our planning has been guided by the regular updates of the National Weather Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the various responsible agencies of the Florida government. This has kept us well apprised of the range of possibilities confronting us and our neighbors – from relatively little impact to the possibility of 100-mph winds and heavy rain. I want to assure you that our preparations have assumed all circumstances and, I believe, Beacon is prepared to weather the storm, likely on Sunday and into the day on Monday.

We are a proud residential academic community and, as such, recognize that our highest duty involves ensuring educational quality and safety for our students. The best colleges and universities prepare and act decisively to protect the well-being of students during crises. These institutions, however, like Beacon, endeavor to maintain as normal a schedule and operation as possible until a weather event, such as Hurricane Irma, compromises student and community safety. This said, I believe it important for you to know the following information:

  • Regularly scheduled academic classes are cancelled through Tuesday, September 12. This action was taken to both ensure that our preparations for the storm could be completed in a timely manner, but also to allow those students who decided to depart the campus to do so safely and return once weather conditions allow. On the latter point, we do recognize that those returning to campus via air travel may find getting flight reservations difficult until Wednesday or thereafter. In these circumstances, we are flexible with the class attendance policy, but students are expected to complete assigned work by arrangement with the professor.

  • The College has endeavored to keep close track of our students and their whereabouts, requiring all students to report their plans to depart or stay on campus to their assigned Learning Specialists. From this information, the College is maintaining and updating, as necessary, a log on the status of each matriculated student.

  • In addition to student residences, three buildings will remain open for regular student use: the Student Center, the Stoer Building (Center for Student Success), and the Chopping Block. Beacon Hall will also remain as a center for administrative coordination and overflow in the event that all students are directed to shelter in place under the direct supervision of College staff (due to mandatory transfer from residences).

  • The Chopping Block and its dining services will be open for all regularly scheduled meals unless storm conditions demand closing the facility and those on campus move to the Student Center as a weather-related precaution.

  • Although College transportation will be limited to the Beacon campus, we do expect that the Beacon shuttle will honor its regular schedule unless the severity of weather conditions demands otherwise.

  • We are dedicated to keeping the academic and support services that define the Beacon Experience beyond the classroom available to our undergraduates in all but the most inclement of weather. Thus, the Stoer Building will be open all day on Friday, September 8, and Tuesday, September 12, for Learning Specialist support, with several Learning Specialists being available at the Center on Saturday. Even with classes suspended, students are encouraged to avail themselves of this service, as well as help from Writing Center and Counseling personnel that will be housed in the Stoer Building.

  • As is the case for all Floridians, Beacon is hoping for the best, but preparing for a very difficult storm. As this message is being prepared, College personnel are taking prudent steps in advance of a potential strong hurricane, including securing the College’s physical facilities and storing all outdoor campus equipment and furniture.

  • We do know that a number of our students hail from South Florida and along the coast up to Jacksonville. Current weather reports suggest these likely will be the areas of the State most vulnerable to severe impact from Hurricane Irma. If, for those families, Beacon College appears to be the safest location for your protection, we invite you to call Dr. Kerry Greenstein at 352-638-9796, so that we may make arrangements for your arrival, security, lodging, and food. You too are a concern of the Beacon community.

Our preparations continue fast apace with purpose and care. We pray for the safety and quick recovery for all confronting the prospects of this significant hurricane.

Remember, as well that the College will keep the most updated information with respect to Beacon’s planning and status on our website:

Warm regards,

George Hagerty
President, Beacon College