“I was surprised and overcome when I was informed that I would be receiving the medallion,” Kenan said. “I remember when my late father received it in Palm Beach, and he was very thrilled and grateful, as am I.”
In 1985, Frank H. Kenan was the first to receive the medallion — the highest honor Flagler bestows to an individual who has made significant contributions to the development of the college.
The Medallion is awarded by the Board of Trustees, and no more than 10 medallions may be issued to living recipients at any given time. Kenan is the 11th person to receive the award.
College President William T. Abare Jr. says Kenan has been a loyal supporter of the college from its earliest days.
“He has encouraged us; he has supported us; he has challenged us in terms of the quality of our faculty, the quality of our academic programs and in terms of fundraising,” Abare said.
Flagler College Board of Trustees Chairman David Drysdale said the board was unanimous that there could be “no more fitting recipient.” He commended Kenan for his support of the college as an individual contributor and as a trustee of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.
Abare said, in terms of significant milestones in the college’s history, the Trust has played a major role in some of the college’s biggest projects.
“In my opinion, the college’s accreditation, the construction of Kenan Hall and the construction of the Proctor Library were the top three milestones in the history of Flagler College,” Abare said. “It was essential that we have their very, very strong support from the beginning. Both Kenan Hall and Proctor Library were funded primarily by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust.”
Kenan said he has always had a keen interest in Flagler, and that the college and the former Hotel Ponce de Leon have always been a part of his family. “It [Flagler College] has been a part of my life since the 1960s,” he said.
Abare emphasized Kenan’s strong beliefs in the value of family and relationships.
“I think that relationship is key,” Abare said. “I can’t think of anybody who epitomizes the importance of relationships more than Tom Kenan.”
The William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust has primarily supported institutions of higher education. According to Abare, the Trust also contributes to numerous other colleges and universities.
Kenan was jointly responsible for establishing the William R. Friday Endowed Scholarship for the Arts at Flagler College. The scholarship is awarded annually to a student majoring in art. He was also jointly responsible for establishing the William R. Kenan, Jr. Endowed Scholarship in honor of Mary Lily Wiley Flagler. This scholarship is awarded annually to a student majoring in either fine art or graphic design.
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