More than 400 attendees witness the Investiture of James J. Annarelli, Ph.D.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL (October 12, 2023) – Eckerd College’s sixth president, James J. Annarelli, Ph.D., formalized his appointment during an investiture ceremony at 4 p.m. on Thursday, October 12, in Fox Hall, 4200 54th Avenue South, St. Petersburg.
In addition to presentations from the office of St. Petersburg’s Mayor Ken Welch and the Eckerd College Board of Trustees, the occasion was marked with gifts from across the college community, including a personalized long skateboard and a silver buttonwood sapling to be planted in Annarelli’s honor on the 188-acre campus on Boca Ciega Bay.
In his remarks, Annarelli reflected on the original mission of Florida Presbyterian College, founded in 1958 and renamed Eckerd College in 1972, and how those values may be carried through to the next generation of leadership. “We must not only protect but also foster the academic freedom of our faculty as well as the freedom of inquiry and expression of our students—and be willing to wrestle with the occasional tensions and conflicts that result,” Annarelli explained. “We must affirm that the educational and scholarly work of the college or university should not be governed by public polls or surveys or by the decisions of those external to the scholarly community, but by scholars themselves in accordance with the principles of scholarly competence and academic peer review. We further must affirm and reaffirm that the embrace of difference, of diversity of all types, is a prerequisite to the creation of a vibrant academic community.”
Trustee Board Chair Ian P. Johnson ’89 and Vice Chair Susan A. Slaugenhaupt ’85, Ph.D., presented Annarelli with a chain of office cast in nickel bearing the College seal created in 1972 by the late Professor of Art Margaret “Peg” Rigg and the College’s graphic arts consultant Allan Olson.
The celebration was followed by a campuswide reception held in the James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences Wrenn Hall.