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Campus News

All of Palm Beach County’s halls of higher education, both private and public, have continued to expand in size and stature from 1980 to the present.

Palm Beach Junior College, Florida’s first junior college, grew rapidly under Dr. Edward M. Eissey, president of the college from 1978 to 1996. The third campus opened in 1980 in Palm Beach Gardens and was later named for Dr. Eissey. The Boca Raton campus opened in 1983, adjacent to Florida Atlantic University. In 1988 the school’s name changed to Palm Beach Community College (PBCC). In 1999 PBCC took over responsibility for adult vocational programs from the Palm Beach County School District. The college was approved by the Florida Board of Education to offer its first bachelor’s degree in 2008, and soon after, the institution’s name was changed to Palm Beach State College.

Florida Atlantic University opened the John D. MacArthur campus at Jupiter in 1999, where it located Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the first public honors college in the nation to be built from the ground up. Honors College students take mostly honors courses from instructors exclusive to the college.

The only state university in Palm Beach County, FAU was named one of the 146 "Best Southeastern Colleges" in the United States by the Princeton Review. FAU brings in more than $50 million a year in outside research money and has been classified as a "Research University - High Research Activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The MacArthur Campus was chosen as the site for Scripps Research Institute, and Max Planck Florida Institute, a German biotechnology firm.

The university conducts underwater research at SeaTech in Dania Beach and at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute in Fort Pierce, part of FAU’s reach beyond Palm Beach County. In 2008 about 27,000 students attended one of FAU’s ten colleges on seven campuses, including Port St. Lucie, Davie, and two in Fort Lauderdale.

Not far from FAU in Boca Raton, the private College of Boca Raton attained university standing in 1991 and was renamed Lynn University, for philanthropists Eugene M. and Christine E. Lynn. (FAU’s College of Nursing is also named for Christine Lynn). The school’s first president, Donald Ross, was succeeded in 2006 by his son, Dr. Kevin McAndrew Ross. Lynn has a 25% international enrollment and an international study requirement for all students.

During the 1980s, Palm Beach Atlantic College, a private Christian school, developed its Rinker campus in downtown West Palm Beach, named for early donor and trustee Marshall E. “Doc” Rinker Sr. The college became Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBAU) in 2002, and opened satellite campuses in Orlando in 2002 and Wellington in 2007. The Princeton Review ranked PBAU One of the Best Southeast Colleges in 2008.

Northwood Institute was established in Michigan in 1959 and added a campus in Texas in 1966, with a focus on bringing lessons of the American free-enterprise society into the college classroom. Through two private gifts, Northwood built a conference center in West Palm Beach in 1982, which was converted to a two-year college in 1984. Northwood Institute became Northwood University in 1993.
 

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