Jennell Retamar, Staff Writer

For the 2016 Founder’s Day Convocation, the Honorary Chancellor that is set to speak is world-renowned author, Nicholas Sparks.

“We were trying to think of someone students would draw to, someone who has done something extraordinary with their lives,” Dr. Robert Tate, vice president for advancement, said.

According to President Anne Kerr, “Nicholas Sparks’ poignant works have touched the hearts and minds of millions through his bestselling novels and popular film adaptations.  His commitment to creating educational opportunities for young people around the world through The Nicholas Sparks Foundation and other charitable work is an admirable example of service to our global community,” Kerr said.

The Nicholas Sparks Foundation is committed to inspiring and transforming students’ lives through education, curriculum development, and life changing international experiences, so they are prepared to embrace a life of being active learners and engaged global citizens. Its goals for our future leaders include instilling confidence, introducing foreign languages, and exploring cultural versatility, while offering a global perspective to help them prepare for the 21st century.

“We are pleased that he will serve as Florida Southern’s eighty-second honorary chancellor, where his literary achievements and dedication to cultural understanding through education will inspire our students,” Kerr said.

After college at Notre Dame, Sparks pursued a writing career after having much of his writing rejected. He published ‘The Notebook’ in the 90s. Throughout his college years at Notre Dame, Sparks wrote two books that remain unpublished.

Sparks was inspired to write at the age of 19 because of a remark his mother had said to him. “Your problem is that you’re bored. You need to find something to do….Then she looked at me and said the words that would eventually change my life. ‘Write a book.’… I was nineteen years old and had become an accidental author,” From ‘Three Weeks with My Brother’.

Several of his international bestselling novels have been adapted as films such as: Message in a Bottle (1999), A Walk to Remember (2002), The Notebook (2004), Nights in Rodanthe (2008), Dear John (2010), The Last Song (2010), The Lucky One (2012), Safe Haven (2013), The Best of Me (2014), The Longest Ride (2015), and The Choice (2016).

A Chancellor is someone who exemplifies the values and the mission of Florida Southern. The Honorary Chancellor tradition has been around since the 1920s. Some of the past Chancellors have been President Gerald Ford, Jean Michel Cousteau, Arnold Palmer, Walter Cronkite, and even Robert Kennedy Jr.

“I am so ecstatic about him coming to campus to speak to us. I think that a lot of students will walk away with a piece of advice from him,” junior Ashlyn Gibbs stated.

During the week of March 14, Florida Southern will hold its Homecoming celebration.

Photo from