The mission of Palm Beach Atlantic University is to prepare students for lifelong learning and leadership by offering excellent undergraduate, graduate and professional programs of study in the Arts, Humanities, Sciences and selected professions. Palm Beach Atlantic University is a private, independent university dedicated to the intentional integration of Christian principles. As a community of learners, the University provides students with a rigorous educational environment that leads to intellectual, spiritual and personal character development.
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. 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. 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. David W. 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.Hardin resigned the presidency of PBA on March 4, 2011, 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. On March 10, 2011, William M. B. ï¿½Billï¿½ Fleming, Jr., the university's vice president for development, was named interim president by the university's Board of Trustees. After a nationwide search Fleming, who had served as interim president for more than a year, was elected by the trustees as the Universityï¿½s eighth president, beginning his presidency on May 8, 2012