President Ed Meadows has canceled his own inauguration ceremony, which was slated for Sept. 24. Meadows plans to take the money that was to be spent on the ceremony and use it for student scholarships instead.
He made the decision to cancel the expensive event in light of the current economic struggles PJC is facing, including the recent lay-offs.
“These are unusual times with an uncertain economy, and even though no institutional funds would be used, private donations for this event could take away from funds that could be raised toward scholarships,” Meadows wrote in an e-mail to his staff.
Granted, the ceremony was planned from the start to be an austere event, according to Patrice Whitten, executive director of college development and alumni affairs at the PJC Foundation.
The budget for Meadows’ ceremony was under $30,000, as opposed to the $57,000 spent on the inauguration of PJC’s last president, Dr. Tom Delaino.
“From the beginning, Dr. Meadows said that no college or institutional funds would be spent on the inauguration. That meant that private funds would need to be raised, which happens through the PJC foundation board of governors,” Whitten said.
Companies, corporations, and individuals made numerous in-kind (non-monetary) donations, while others pledged a total of $10,000.
The ceremony, which is a “time-honored” tradition, would have been held on the Pensacola campus in the Lou Ross auditorium. Local political figures were invited to attend, as well as everyone involved with PJC, from board of trustees members to parents of students.
But, Whitten believes that any disappointment guests might be experiencing is well out-weighed by their respect for Meadows’ decision.
“Everyone understands that these are different times we are living in. And, it was a courageous and honorable decision on [Dr. Meadows] part to forgo [the inauguration ceremony] and make sure that funds were used for student scholarships,” she said.