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Remembering Dean Robert Carberry

Oct 1, 2021

Robert F. Carberry, who was dean of Flagler College for 19 years and taught political science for eight years, passed away on Aug. 13, 2021, one day after his 90th birthday.

He arrived at Flagler in 1970 and assumed the role of dean of the College, which at the time, he liked to remind those who came later, did not have all classrooms air-conditioned. Flagler was only founded in 1968, and Carberry was instrumental in growing the young institution's academic programs, facilities and faculty.

He retired as dean emeritus in 1997, and returned to the faculty full-time as professor of political science at Flagler.

“It would be difficult to exaggerate his impact and legacy, thereby the debt of gratitude we all owe to him,” said Art Vanden Houten, interim vice president of Academic Affairs. “He did the absolutely critical work of hiring the first generation of Flagler faculty through the 1970s and 80s. Those faculty with his leadership, mentoring, and role model, were deeply committed to the finest work done at Flagler.”

Carberry leaves behind his loving wife of 50 years, Barbara, who also taught for years at Flagler, as well as children Christine Lusztig, Robert W. Carberry, Karen Hansen, and five grandchildren.

After retirement from Flagler, both he and Barbara did volunteer work: delivering Meals on Wheels, as home visitors for the St. Vincent de Paul Society, and helping to feed the homeless with Dining with Dignity.

In his 1997 commencement address, when he and Barbara retired from Flagler, he told graduating students: "Flagler College is a humane institution, a place where one can speak face to face with people, touch them intellectually, spiritually and physically, and be touched in return. It is a place where good, serious conversations can take place with no hidden agenda, no attempt to sell you anything or manipulate you. It is a place where trust comes easily. There are opportunities for friendship, humor, sometimes expressions of grief, sorrow, frequently of joy, and even frustration and anger, but very little boredom.”

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