Saturday, April 4, 2009

Interview with Dr. David Clark, part two of two

The Bacon is proud to present the second portion of our interview with Dr. David Clark, the current President of Palm Beach Atlantic University.

The Bacon: Why are you leaving PBA?

Dr. David W. Clark: The comedian George Burns said,”always leave them wanting more.” It is always difficult to know when to leave a situation when things are going pretty well, but completion of the Warren Library, reaccreditation with SACS, reorganization of most areas of the university, completion of several buildings, recruitment of over 100 new outstanding faculty, the completed purchase and plans for the Hillcrest property, and the move into the top tier of MA granting schools in the South in this year’s US News rankings suggest that PBA is entering into a new period of maturation and quality development. Lois and I are in wonderful health. Our two sons are in Texas with our grandchildren. We long to live once more at our home on Eagle Mountain Lake near Fort Worth. I am considering an offer to become a professor in a PhD degree program in higher education at a university in Dallas. But I am keeping my options open until I have a chance to sit on the back porch and watch the sunrise on Sunrise Cove for a few months.

Bacon: What is your opinion of The Bacon?

Dr. Clark: I have read it and gotten some really good laughs. A few times, I wanted to cry as well. Humor is a difficult form of prose to write well, but irony has a very powerful influence. I believe in the free marketplace of ideas. I think that The Bacon serves this purpose at times. It adds color and sometimes steam to the issues in the PBA community. The challenge with blogs is the lack of responsible gatekeepers. Of course, occasionally, I have been offended, but I think you have done a really good job of avoiding ad hominems and gratuitous criticism. Besides I like bacon for breakfast, but only if it is very crisp!

Bacon: What advice do you have for the next President?

Dr. Clark: Listen for 6 months to everyone that you can talk with from faculty to students to staff before setting a course for the university. Spend time with Dr. Warren and Dr. Moody. Spend time with some of our retired trustees. Pray every day for PBA as you drive into work in the morning and as you drive home at night. It is such a challenging responsibility that unless the Lord protects it and blesses it you may fail. Continue to pick up paper on campus and eat frequently in the cafeteria so students can see you and talk to you. Then go home and swim laps in a pool or run around the block a few times and enjoy your family.


stephsousa said...

Dr. Clark is a great President, he will be missed. I just hope that the new President won't be stingy and only listen to administration, students have a voice too, we're practically the ones that help keep the place going financially.

disappointed said...

I couldn't even enjoy reading this because I'm used to the Bacon being funny.
Sorry Bacon :-/
I'm a loyal reader, but since when has it been being in competition with the Beacon?
Be yourself.

Anonymous said...

I'll paraphrase someone else's post from the other part of this article: The Beacon is like Fox News, while The Bacon is like Jon Stewart. While The Beacon caters to the PBA administration (:: Fox news : the GOP), The Bacon does funny and fake news, though they occasionally handle real news when the real news sources drop the ball.

I think it's awesome that The Bacon does stuff like this. It's not competition with The Beacon (let's face it: there is no competition); it's responsible journalism.

former PBA J-student said...

I've never seen anything like this.

As a student journalist for four years, and an avid observer of the administration, I have never seen Clark open up in this manner.

I don't know what the Bacon did, but they just conducted the interview that I thought never would happen. I don't know what they said to inspire Dr. Clark to speak with such openness and candor, but they did it nonetheless.

I would have loved to get an interview like this as a student, and it's sad the Beacon couldn't pull it off.

Thank you Bacon for making this happen, and showing us the very human side of the man who has led our school for these years.

You've done what no one else could do, and you deserve recognition for it.

These posts should be kept and archived by the school as THE student interview of the president.

Kristina Webb said...

The Beacon got an interview with Dr. Clark and covered his departure in September, when he announced that he would be retiring.

I know because I did the interview, and the answers that the Bacon received are nearly the exact responses that I received. It's a little frustrating to see people leaving comments on here that the Beacon has not spoken to Dr. Clark or done an interview with him, when we broke the news as soon as we could. It's difficult with a limited and sometimes lackadaisical staff of student volunteers to cover all of the events that we want to; thus the creation of PBA Local, and now the Beacon Blog.

I appreciate the work that the Bacon does; it provides a different perspective that the staff of the Beacon sometimes thinks, but can never say. The Fall 2009 Beacon staff is already planning for big changes, and we're looking for input. I encourage everyone to e-mail me and tell me what the Beacon can do to provide better coverage:

I also encourage students to contribute. If more comprehensive coverage is desired, then we need more writers who are willing to work hard. The existence of the Beacon Blog is to allow the journalism students a chance to get more practice with breaking news, editorials and feature writing. We are also going to try to have more comprehensive sports coverage and weekly columns.

The Beacon will be evolving within the next couple of semesters to keep up with what the students are demanding of it. Although we may not having the funding or staff to provide a print issue that is comparable to most other student newspapers, as journalism students we are facing the fact that print journalism is quickly becoming extinct. The Beacon Blog will be providing more multimedia content, including photo galleries and videos of events.

I know this is sounding like a press release. I'm hoping that students won't shut out the Beacon, but will help to improve it. It is the school's newspaper, and to make it more efficient, I hope that everyone that reads this will send me an e-mail with at least one suggestion.

One more thing: I love the Bacon. It makes me laugh. And I love to see my articles lampooned, so please keep it up. (Yes, I am serious. What good is putting your work out for the public to read if you are afraid of feedback?)

Anonymous said...

Kristina, I think the issue with the Beacon is that students know by now that it isn't reliable. It doesn't address what we want to know about or discuss with other students because it's censored too heavily by the administration. Not to be a downer, but I don't think that's going to ever really change. The Beacon is a weekly representation of the school and its administration and must meet the expectations of the higher-ups. Sadly, that means that censorship is key to the continued existence of the official student paper.

Kristina Webb (again) said...


What we are striving to do is increase the trust between the students and the Beacon. The administration has already lightened up quite a lot on the content we can cover. Dean Meeks approved all of the content on PBA Local, which came as quite a shock since there was a "Found" piece that included a line about Christians eating babies.

We are going to try to loosen up a lot, cover more feature-style news in the print edition and more breaking news online. The format will be more of a weekly news magazine than trying to be a daily. It's not possible to do what the staff has been trying to do in the past. Obviously, the format has not been working well enough, so it needs to change.

Not only that, but jobs are disappearing as fast as newspapers can close their doors. As journalism students, we are trying to make ourselves more marketable and relevant. The Beacon will hopefully reflect that, in both its online and print editions, within the next year.

I will definitely be taking your comment into consideration. Please, if you know of any issues that we can raise in the next two issues, e-mail the Beacon with the tip before Saturday for the April 20 issue, and Friday, April 17 for the April 27 issue. You can even write an opinion piece, which I'm sure Luther Hollis would be thrilled to have for his section. Opinion pieces are always welcome from students.

TIRED Kristina Webb said...

And obviously, it is time for bed since I just left a comment that included the line "if you know of any issues that we can raise in the next two issues." Brilliant.

Pillowse said...

Luther Hollis is a great man.

tate tryon said...

Kristina if you got "the exact responses" then why does the September Beacon interview read more like a press release?

Readers, compare:

The Bacon interview balances the achievements of Dr. Clark, but for the first time, we see a little bit into his soul through his humor, humility and human frailty.

For a moment, Dr. Clark put down his guard and had a real honest chat.

Maybe it was because the Bacon asked the right questions, and struck a chord. Did The Beacon ask what his biggest regrets/failures were? Did the Beacon bother to really ask why he was leaving? (I'm assuming they did, but there's nothing in that article that translates to more than a talking points answer.)

But the Bacon one is different. It contained a human response, and for that I am grateful.

And for the record: The Bacon broke this news 10 days before the Beacon. Hopefully the Beacon Blog will change the rate of breaking news.

dom said...

Here's the Beacon article she was referring to:

Dr. Clark to retire
Published Date: September 29, 2008
by Kristina Webb

On June 30, 2009, Dr. David W. Clark will step down as President of Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Clark, who has been with PBA for six years, will be retiring to his home on Eagle Mountain Lake in Texas.

Although saddened at the idea of leaving PBA, Clark said he feels his time here has been well-spent.

"We’ve made a lot of progress," Clark said. "In the six years I've been here, we've been able to raise almost 45 million dollars."

Clark said he feels confident that the school has progressed since he became president citing the student and teacher development programs and PBA’s "unique status as a Christian university."

In Clark’s time as president, he has overseen the expansion of several buildings on campus, including the Warren Library, a $22 million project built debt-free through efficient fundraising efforts.

Also accomplished by Clark was the $3 million purchase of the Hillcrest property, 96 acres of real estate, originally valued at over $50 million. This land will house a new athletics department for the school.

"Our Board of Trustees is grateful to Dr. Clark for the tremendous advancement," said Board Chairman John P. Greene, III in a PBA press release.

As for life after PBA, Clark and his wife, Lois, plan to spend time with their two sons, daughter and four grandchildren, all currently living in Texas. Clark stated that he would really like to "vegetate a bit" and get some reading done. He and Lois would also like to travel.

"My family roots are in East Sussex...We actually want to go back and live in England for a while," Clark said.

Already a search firm has been brought on, and its members have begun to interview faculty and staff.

"The Lord has, I'm sure, woven the right individual to come here," Clark said.

"For everything there’s a season," Clark said. "We are convinced that this season of our time at PBA is coming to an end."

Anonymous said...

Kristina, everyone knows that you work your butt off for the Beacon. I think it's commonly accepted that you're one of the few good things the Beacon has going for it. Just know that your hard work does not go to waste. It's a pity that the rest of the staff isn't as talented and devoted as you are.

Think-a-dink said...

Kristina, I appreciate your work for the Beacon and the balanced response you have given here. But if you can't see the difference between the article that was in the Beacon and this interview then I don't know what to say. Clark really opened up here. I wonder if he was just honored that the Bacon, who has poked fun at him for the past few years, wanted a serious talk with him. Thanks Bacon for showing us a glimpse of Clark the man. Also: 1. The Bacon did in fact break Clark retiring before the Beacon. 2. I like the balance of funny and serious (Jon Stewart). I mean disappointed, how do you know if the Bacon is being itself? It doesn't say anywhere that it has to be only satire.

Kristina Webb said...

Wow. Anonymous, thank you for what you have said. That is extremely kind. I appreciate that more than you can realize.

Think-a-dink and tate, I see the difference. The Bacon has published more of a feature, in a question and answer format. My article was more news, an example of me trying to be serious. It was also one of the first articles that I wrote for the Beacon, and therefore one of the first articles that I had written in two years. It was hard getting back into the swing of things. (For evidence, please speak to our distinguished Features Editor as to what a train wreck my "Dining Room" article was when first turned in. Hah.)

I was in no way trying to diminish what the Bacon has accomplished in this interview. In fact, I'm proud of them for being able to take a step back and look at something from a serious perspective; that is a sign of true journalism. My point was more to the comments that the Beacon has not covered Clark's departure. We have, and we are also trying to provide updates on the presidential search.

How come no one is taking me up on my offer? I have received no e-mails. Come on, folks.

Oh, and yes, the Bacon broke the news before the Beacon, because at that time we were working on moving the Beacon online, and were still under the constraints of sending an issue to press.

Thank you guys for all of the great feedback. Keep it coming.

Tate Tyron said...

I find Webb's willingness to dialogue on this forum refreshing. That was bold.

ultra curious said...

This is true. Since we have your attention, can you please tell us why your editors are so terrible? I mean they missed an obvious misspelling of our student government president Adam McKinney(spelled Adam KcKinney) and these sorts of things are very common (the worst one that comes to mind was the misspelling of Ten Shekel Shirt [spelled Ten Shenkel Shirt] that was misspelled not only in the article but in the bolded title of the article). Why are they so bad?

Kristina Webb said...

Tate, thanks!

Ultra, it's important to keep in mind that the editors are students. We try to always cover our bases; with the changes coming to the Beacon, trust me, perfection will be demanded, but the Beacon is and will continue to be a learning device. Humans make mistakes, and as journalists, we are learning how to minimize what mistakes scamper past us into print.

I think the Beacon Blog is going to be a fantastic opportunity for students to practice writing clean copy in a timely fashion. It will also be a challenge for the editors to keep up with the flow of articles. I'm rather excited about the entire thing.

Anonymous said...

I want to get back to the bigger picture, and that is this interview, both parts 1 & 2:
It reminds me of the lyrics of a very old song:

"When the moon is in the 7th house,
and Jupiter alligns with Mars
and peace will guide the planets,
and love will rule the stars!"

As I look at these last two interviews with Dr. Clark, having read the Bacon since the beginning, it's like all the stars lined up to do something I once thought impossible- the Bacon, this little rag tag underground student led anonymous website that once made some (I'm sure) wail and gnash teeth in Sachs, now has a new legitimacy! Dr. Clark's gracious interview legitimizes the Bacon in a way unimaginable just a year ago. It also shows that he (Clark) isn't some evil machiavellian ogre as some commenters have so wrongfully written in some Bacon comments in the past. He's human, and he reads the Bacon, and laughs (quick...alert the media!)

Take great comfort, Bacon editors and contributers. You have been placed on a new shelf of recognition. The big guy, where the PBA buck stops, has tipped his hat to you!

This is not to say that your future satire and rapier wit should now be dulled, softened or Beaconized, nor should you begin to look the other way when you see something that needs to be brought to the light of day on campus. These things are what you are known you for- this is what put you on the map and this is why you were birthed in the first place.Please, keep us laughing!

I would also like the fact that the Bacon editors didn't try to muck this up by putting silly sophomoric words in Dr. Clark's mouth, trying to satirize and be cute. You did it right, and for that, I thank you. Congratulations to the Bacon.

Everybody should take a moment to think about how far the Bacon has come- I never thought I see this in the Bacon- a legitimate verbatim interview with PBA's president. Cool.

Congratulations to all- to Dr. Clark for being so gracious and straightforward (by the way, this is the way he's always been with me- a great president, in my opinion) and to the Bacon editors, for giving this a shot, and doing it right.

I'd like to know...did the Bacon initiate this by sending in the questions, thinking you wouldn't get an answer, or did Dr. Clark initiate this?

Again, congratulations to all. This is a new level for the Bacon, and President Clark handed it to you on a silver platter.

name said...

If anything this is good press for Dr. Clark. I for one think that Dr. Clark was overall an average president. He did expand the school a lot but he also did a lot of centralizing of power which can never be a good thing. I really look forward to the new president and I hope one is chosen whose background is in academia.

that guy said...

Ya'll also got the major of our incoming class president wrong...

dissapointed continued said...

Well, I am used to looking at the bacon's reporting in a joking manner, so when they say something serious to 'one up the beacon', Its hard to say good job.

I have a feeling a lot of these "anonymous" comments praising the bacon & defending the bacon are from the bacon writers themselves.
How come we never hear from the writers of the bacon? I want some of this discussion from them as well. It's always anonymous.

I'm also curious as to how they got these interviews if the writers stay anonymous. I can't seem to picture Clark having the time to just randomly be free to interview for something kept secret.

Not A Bacon Writer said...

It's called email. They emailed him. Clark responded.

Kudos to Clark for trusting the anonymous Bacon writers with his words.

Kudos to the Bacon for keeping their word and posting Clark's very thoughtful comments.

And we do hear from the Bacon their articles.

I'm glad they don't get involved in the comment squabbles. They have allowed it to be a community forum, without interjecting and I find that commendable.

They don't fight back when people attack, and that takes a lot.

Sure, they have a lot of passionate defenders, but I highly doubt they praise themselves in the comments section.

The Truth Commission said...

Disappointed, you're just jealous that the Bacon is funnier than you.

also not a bacon writer said...

I'm curious. While I'm not asking who you are, would you mind telling us your demographic?

Are you a student? alum? faculty? admin?

I'm just curious as to what type of person is not happy with an interview with Clark.

Student Demographic said...

I read some of the comments on the old Feed the Worms article that was linked at the bottom of the Eggs article. Someone had put a comment that I think works well here (funny how people still complain the same way after two years of the Bacon's existence). I will paraphrase it.

"Commentors should stop trying to define what the Bacon should and shouldn't be."

Also, when did the Bacon say that they were trying to "one up" the Beacon? That was said by the people commenting on the articles.

The Bacon isn't even that different. They have been 98% comedy and 2% serious the semester. Keep it up Bacon

Suggestion Box said...

Kristina Webb:
Have your sports section cover more inter murals. I know more students attend some of the inter mural flag football games than any of the PBA sporting events. It might also be nice to post playoff schedules and stuff.

Anonymous said...

I like how someone just posted a suggestion to Kristina Webb on the Bacon comments section...

I'm sure an email would have done the trick. Or a comment on

dissappointed2 said...

I am a student.

Anonymous said...

thank u dissapointed

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