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Retiring faculty member illustrates campaign theme


No one person at UNF epitomizes the theme of The Power of Transformation campaign better than Paul Ladnier, a legendary assistant professor of art who recently announced his retirement.


Not only has he transformed the lives of an estimated 5,000 students who have been in his classes throughout his 34 years at UNF, but he has also reached out to the community in a way that demonstrates the symbiotic relationship between a city and a university.


Those bonds were illustrated in April when UNF faculty and staff joined numerous art and design alumni, community leaders and friends to name an endowed scholarship in his honor. The Paul E. Ladnier Endowed Scholarship will provide financial assistance to UNF painting and drawing students thanks to 60 donors, including longtime UNF supporters George and Dottie Dorion, who made the lead gift. Among the donors, 26 UNF faculty and staff members, led by the entire Art and Design Department, as well as 14 alumni contributed to the scholarship.


Ladnier, who received the designation assistant professor emeritus, estimated he has spent between 30,000 and 40,000 hours in the classroom. “In a bigger sense students have touched me. I’ve learned from them. They have inspired me,” he said. “Hardly a class went by that I didn’t let them know that I have my job because of them.”Ladnier said he still considers himself to be an “artist with no identity” because of the many and varied types of painting he has done during his career.


However for those who attended the reception, there is no doubt about Ladnier’s identity. His dedication to students is an identity that may explain why The Power of Transformationis more than just the name of a campaign.