Palm Beach Atlantic University is a comprehensive Christian university with a core emphasis in the liberal arts. Its purpose is to offer a curriculum of studies and a program of student activities dedicated to the development of moral character, the enrichment of spiritual lives, and the perpetuation of growth in Christian ideals. Founded under the providence of God with the conviction that there is a need for a university in this community that will expand the minds, develop the moral character and enrich the spiritual lives of all the people who may come within the orbit of its influence, Palm Beach Atlantic University shall stand as a witness for Jesus Christ, expressed directly through its administration, faculty, and students.
To assure the perpetuation of these basic concepts of its founders, it is resolved that all those who become associated with Palm Beach Atlantic as trustees, officers, and members of the faculty or of the staff must believe in the divine inspiration of the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, that man was directly created by God; that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin; that He is the Son of God, our Lord and Savior; that He died for the sins of all men and thereafter arose from the grave; that by repentance and the acceptance of and belief in Him, by the grace of God, the individual is saved from eternal damnation and receives eternal life in the presence of God; and it is further resolved that the ultimate teachings in the University shall always be consistent with these principles. (These principles were adopted by the University’s founders and they serve as the preamble to the PBA bylaws).
Statement of Purpose
PBA is a Christian university which equips students to lead fulfilling lives through learning, leadership and service.
The vision for Palm Beach Atlantic University is to be a premier Christian university whose graduates are intellectually prepared, possess high moral character, demonstrate outstanding citizenship and are servant leaders in their communities, the nation and the world.
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 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.
Accountability: We will be accountable for our words and deeds to one another and to God.
Excellence: We will do everything with excellence, as unto our Lord Jesus Christ.
Integrity: We will be honest, open, and truthful in all our relationships.
Love: We will demonstrate love through our attitudes and selfless service to one another.
Respect: We honor the worth of the individual by recognizing that each of us has a right to be heard and that each contributes significantly to our community of learners.
Unity: We will demonstrate to the world that we are a unified body of Christian believers in all we do.
Committed to the discovery, preservation, and application of knowledge, the University, through its undergraduate and graduate curricula, seeks to generate broad exposure to and experience in the arts and humanities, natural and social sciences, human resource development, and selected professions.
The University esteems quality and currency in learning by encouraging faculty to conduct appropriate and meaningful professional activities and to utilize such experience to enhance student advisement and relevant classroom instruction.
Recognizing that human intelligence is more useful when animated by divine wisdom, the University seeks to complement its academic purpose with an emphasis on the spiritual, physical, and social development of its students. Accordingly, the University promotes a range of programs, services, and activities designed to impart a vision of the worldwide Christian community; a call to ministry within that community and a sense of responsibility to equip ourselves and others for effective service in a multicultural environment.
Believing also that freedom is an essential adjunct to the pursuit of spiritual and intellectual truth, the University encourages knowledge and understanding of democracy and the American heritage of private free enterprise.
Aspiring ultimately to prepare its students for service in a world of diverse cultural experiences, the University strives to model the community of faith by recognizing the intrinsic value of all persons as created by God.
Approved by the Palm Beach Atlantic University Board of Trustees December 9, 2005
History and Philosophy
Palm Beach Atlantic University was founded in 1968 as a coeducational Christian liberal arts university. The University was named for its location in the Palm Beaches and its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean. The first classes were held in the fall of 1968 with 110 enrolled. PBA held its first graduation in the spring of 1972 and later that year received initial accreditation from the regional accrediting association.
Classes were first held at 1101 South Olive Avenue in downtown West Palm Beach in the former facilities of the First Baptist Church. During the ensuing years, the historic auditorium building has served many different roles for the University. Today, the building has been renovated to serve as a portion of the Warren Library.
The University has a comprehensive campus master plan that incorporates approximately 27 acres of land from the Intracoastal Waterway west along Okeechobee Boulevard to Dixie Highway, south to Jefferson Street, and back east to the waterway. The first building completed was the Lassiter Student Center, which was occupied in 1983. In addition, the University has purchased nearly 100 acres just minutes from campus for the construction of an outdoor athletic complex. Recent additions to the campus, completed between 2002 and 2010, are:
- Vera Lea Rinker Hall, for the School of Music and Fine Arts, providing over 43,000 square feet of performance and educational space;
- Oceanview Residence Hall, providing housing for 196 students;
- Dixie Parking Garage, providing 526 parking spaces on 5 levels;
- DeSantis Family Chapel, providing dedicated worship space for 400;
- Lakeview Residence Hall, providing housing for 86 students;
- Gregory Hall for the Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy, providing over 40,000 square feet of research and educational space;
- School of Nursing educational space on the first floor of Oceanview Hall;
- Enlarged campus bookstore on the first floor of Oceanview Hall;
- Completed the first phase of construction on the Warren Library;
- In 2005, the Orlando Campus opened, providing 6,600 square feet of classroom and office space for evening and graduate degree programs;
- In Fall 2006, the Wellington Campus opened serving the residents of western Palm Beach County;
- In Fall 2009, the second phase of the Warren Library was completed, including renovation of the historic octagonal building which served as the original PBA structure; and
- The Fern Street Theatre Building, which houses faculty offices, classrooms and performance space, was added to PBA’s ever growing campus in the Fall of 2010.
The projected master plan also calls for the construction of several other buildings, including a communication building, theatre, performing arts center, classrooms and residence halls and additional parking garages.
The University’s program has expanded significantly through the years. By the mid-1980s, the University was offering more than 20 major areas of study, and in 1988 the first graduate program was launched. In the late 1980s, the University also initiated a special program for non-traditional students. This program offers a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management through a curriculum offered in special modules in the evening hours throughout all 12 months of the year. The Supper Honors Program, a program for academically talented students, also began in the late 1980s. To be admitted to this program, which provides an interdisciplinary approach to the study of Western civilization and is designed to encourage the development of leadership skills, students must rank in the top 10 percent of the nation according to national test scores.
The University is organized into schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, the Marshall E. Rinker, Sr. School of Business, the Catherine T. MacArthur School of Leadership, the School of Education and Behavioral Studies, the School of Music and Fine Arts, the School of Ministry, and the Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy. In 2003, the School of Nursing and the School of Communications and Media were established.
Over the years the University has experienced steady enrollment growth. The University reached a 1,000 student population in 1985, a 1,500 student population in 1990, and now has an enrollment of more than 3,600. Current plans call for continued moderate growth. The University’s resources have also grown significantly during these early years. The University faculty has grown to 157 full-time faculty members and to more than 120 part-time faculty members. The full-time faculty is well prepared and highly trained with degrees from major research universities throughout the country. Approximately 80 percent of the University faculty has the doctorate or highest degree available in their fields.
The Library collections now include more than 126,000 volumes, significant computer and online resources providing access to national and international databases and a variety of other technologies, which enhance educational support. The University has a high quality intranet called PalmNET, which links faculty, administrative offices, student residence hall rooms, commuter students and off campus sites in a comprehensive computer network with a path to the information superhighway. PalmNET provides access to email, databases, libraries, the Internet, the World Wide Web and numerous other resources. In 2000, the University became Florida’s first wireless campus.
The University’s endowment support has grown dramatically in the past decade and, including funds functioning as endowments, the University now has one of the largest university endowments in Florida on a per student basis.
Palm Beach Atlantic has three guiding principles that have formed the core of the University’s total program. First, the University was founded by Baptist pastors and lay persons with a very strong commitment to the central role of the teachings of Christ in the affairs of the University. From its inception, the University has welcomed students of all faiths. The general spiritual tone of the University is in the historic Judeo-Christian tradition, guided by a commitment to the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of Scripture.
The Christian character of the University is evidenced in a faculty consisting of committed Christians, a curriculum that incorporates Christian teachings throughout all disciplines, a core of general education requirements that include the study of Christian scriptures, and rules and regulations governing campus life that reflect traditional Christian values. The University makes a concerted effort through many different aspects of university life to encourage each student to grow in his or her personal faith.
Second, the University was founded in the late 1960s. This was at a time when many American campuses were witnessing a breakdown in respect for the country, in respect for our symbols of patriotism and in respect for our American economic system of free enterprise. In this milieu, the founders committed PBA to the task of instilling in our students a love for country, traditional American values, and an understanding of and appreciation for the free enterprise economic system. This commitment is lived out through a general education course in the American free enterprise system and through a variety of other curricular and student life initiatives.
Third, the University’s founders were committed to a unique requirement that every student should be involved in community service. The original concept was based on the Judeo-Christian teaching, stressed so much by Christ himself through teachings and example, that a person should treat others as he or she would want to be treated. Christ lived the life of a servant and showed us the way to give of ourselves in service to others. The University called this program Workship, a blending of the words “work” and “worship.” Through the years our students have given two million hours of community service to a wide range of religious and social service agencies throughout the Palm Beach area. Today, each student at PBA is required during his or her undergraduate career to give 45 hours of community service each academic year “to touch a hurting world.”
In addition to these guiding principles, the University has adopted a distinctively Christian operating style that recognizes the importance of the individual as the key element in the collective community. Granting each student significant individual rights, that are limited by corporate rights framed by the traditions of the institution, the University operates as an extended family. Close personal interaction between faculty and students encourages cooperative effort toward common goals. The University encourages students to seek their maximum potential during their college years and to be well prepared to make a significant positive contribution to society.
Palm Beach Atlantic University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and a doctor of pharmacy degree. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097 or call 404.679.4501 for questions about the accreditation of Palm Beach Atlantic University. Persons wishing to review documents related to the accreditation of Palm Beach Atlantic University should contact the Office of Accreditation and Assessment at 561.803.2053.
Palm Beach Atlantic University has received specialized accreditation for its business programs through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), located in Lenexa, Kansas. The business programs in the following degrees are accredited by the IACBE: Master of Business Administration and Bachelors of Science in the following: Accounting, Finance, International Business, Management, and Marketing. The Bachelor of Nursing at Palm Beach Atlantic University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE); One Dupont Circle, NW; Suite 530; Washington, DC 20036. 202.887.6791.
The following agencies grant accreditation to Palm Beach Atlantic University’s academic programs: the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA), Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) and the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM). The Florida Board of Education provides approval for teacher education programs and the Florida Board of Nursing has granted its full approval to Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program. The School of Education and Behavioral Studies’ Teacher Education Program has received full approval for teacher certification for graduates from the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI).