Palm Beach Atlantic University Provost and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr. bears a long, intimidating title. One of the most down-to-Earth administrators to ever grace the campus, his southern twang and charm will leave an impression which all who have been able to meet him will surely miss.
Fant accepted a job offer as President of North Greenville University (NGU) last month and will soon call South Carolina home.
“Being at PBA for three years has been an amazing experience, and I really hoped it would be a lot longer than that,” Fant said.
Fant claims NGU is the perfect fit for his skill set and believes God is leading him to the prestigious Baptist university.
“Presidencies are actually pretty rare things and to have the opportunity to be able to be called into a presidency was something that we just frankly had to consider,” Fant said.
Mentors early in Fant’s career urged him to prepare for being an administrator at a university, which lead him to unknowingly equip himself for the emergence of an opportunity he could not pass up.
Fant believes his deans worked as an incredible team while encouraging him each day. They were able to accomplish innovation in many programs, which Fant believes will continue when School of Ministry dean Dr. Randy Richards fills his position as provost.
“Randy Richards is an amazing administrator, he also has a gift of encouragement,” Fant said. “When I found out that’s who the president had asked to step into the role I was very relieved because I knew what that would mean as we would be able to sustain the forward momentum that we have in all the different areas at the university.”
In a press release regarding Fant leaving PBA, President Fleming used the phrase ‘Gene Fant is a people builder,’ which is what Fant is most proud of during his three years here. Knowing he has influenced and empowered people across campus is his most satisfying takeaway from PBA.
“What I love is. . . to think ‘I did what I was called to do here.'" More times than not that’s had to do with helping people to see something that maybe they hadn’t thought of or to empower them to do things they’ve longed to do but have not yet been able to do.
When asked what he would miss most about PBA, Fant revealed that his son Ethan will join PBA’s freshman class beginning this fall. Accordingly, he answered his son, but the amazing people he has met while at PBA take a close second.
“I tell people this all the time, if I’m sending my own kid here, that means I think pretty highly of the place,” Fant said.
He is convinced his son will receive a transformational education at PBA.
“There is something happening with millennials that I think causes them to seek after a genuine and authentic faith that is able to be applied to serve those who are under resourced and those who are living lives of spiritual poverty as well as physical poverty,” Fant said. “Really what I feel like I’m doing is swapping lanes a little bit and helping to lead another place that is doing in many ways the same things PBA has been trying to do.”
Fant's new position begins June 1 after a much-needed family vacation.