Press Release for Thursday, September 28, 2017
UNF Professor Emeritus Honored for Service by Belize Government
Media Contact: Amanda
Department of Public
Dr. Betty Flinchum, Professor Emerita of
Curriculum and Instruction in the University of North Florida’s College of
Education and Human Services (COEHS), was presented with the Order of
Distinction, a high honor by the government of Belize. Flinchum is the first
ever non-Belizean citizen to receive the honor.
“This tribute has given me the greatest joy
imaginable,” said Flinchum. “I am sincerely grateful to all my former students,
colleagues, Belizeans friends and families, to the Belize government and to all
the Belizean people for this great honor and the privilege to work with this
country for more than 30 years.
I felt humbled to be among those honored and upon
receiving my honor, I felt truly Belizean.”
Flinchum was recognized in a formal Tribute to
Belizean Patriots ceremony September 14 for giving years of service to the
country, in supporting educational programs and facilitating a process where
more than 500 Belizean nationals have been able to earn degrees from the
University. In attendance at the presentation was a large group of alumni,
coworkers, junior college presidents, deans and friends.
“There are hundreds of Belizean professionals
whose lives have been positively impacted and changed forever by Dr. Betty
Flinchum. Her sterling contribution is through her personal commitment and
dedication to Belize’s development,” according to the program from the Belizean
Office of the Prime Minister.
Flinchum served for 32 years as a professor of
education and director of International Programs at UNF, now called the
International Center. As a founding faculty member, she initiated and developed
the University’s international programs, which included the establishment of
study-abroad programs, international student programs, faculty linkages and
exchanges with numerous countries. During her tenure there, UNF’s international
student body grew to include young scholars from over 100 foreign countries.
On her retirement, she was elected as Emeritus,
an honor and high distinction for retired faculty at the University. She
initiated a government-funded international program between the University and
Belize in 1986, founding the Consortium on Belize Educational Cooperation, and
she currently continues to consult with the University on this project and in other
areas of international outreach.
In the early part of her career, she taught in
university positions related to the areas of movement education, motor
development of young children and teacher education. As her academic career
progressed, she served in university administrative positions for the majority
of her career and focused on international education and international
development. Flinchum had a distinguished career in education as a teacher,
professor, director and administrator at several universities.
In addition to her professional career,
Flinchum has been involved in several philanthropic endeavors. During her
tenure at UNF, she gave the initial monies to establish two scholarships, the Sir
Colville Young Endowed Scholarship/Fellowship for Belizeans who wish to study
education, and the Ellis F. White Founding Faculty Endowed Scholarship/Fellowship
for need-based students in COEHS.
Flinchum volunteers as an international
programing consultant for educational institutions in the United States and
abroad and continues to provide custom-designed international tours for
individual and group travel. Her most recent writing project “A Cultural
Legacy: Sir Colville Norbert Young, GCMG, MBE, and D.Phil. Governor-General of
Belize” was published in 2008 and is an authorized biography of a prominent
Belizean colleague and friend.
A few of her notable awards are the Lifetime
Achievement Award in International Development given by the City of
Jacksonville for her significant work toward making Jacksonville an
international city, the International Development Award for distinguished
service to UNF, and the Honorary Alumna Award for her devotion to students and
initiating/developing the University’s international program. Most recently, in
October, 2013, she was honored as a Woman of Distinction by her alma mater, the
University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Flinchum earned her bachelor’s degree at
Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina in 1957, her Master’s in Education
from University of North Carolina in 1962, and a philosophy doctorate from
Louisiana State University in 1972.
UNF, a nationally ranked
located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are
dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own
futures through a well-rounded education.