The recent arrival of Lu Hardin as president of Palm Beach Atlantic University is yet another instance of a wayward soul landing in South Florida in hopes of escaping an unsavory past. Whether you're a disgraced college president like Hardin or a disgraced basketball executive like Isiah Thomas or an ex-counterfeiter with literary ambitions or an alleged fugitive for murder, this region is a mecca for those seeking to reinvent themselves.
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But Hardin's pilgrimage has a little extra intrigue because he's landing at a Christian school that prizes the secular principles of a liberal arts education. One of which is skepticism.
On one hand, the university's new president, Lu Hardin, certainly deserves to be monitored by a jaundiced eye, given his checkered recent history.
But then a university with Christian principles ought to demonstrate its faith in human redemption. Right?
You can see the same conflict play out among those who saw the worst of Hardin. Check out this column by Paul Greenberg. I've read it a few times, and I still can't tell whether he is sincerely praising the young Christian students at Palm Beach Atlantic University or if he's patronizing them.
Probably, it's both. A columnist for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette of Little Rock, Greenberg won the Pulitzer for editorial writing in 1969. Which means he has at least 40 years in this cynic-making biz. Here's the blog post he's writing about. The comments field shows students wrestling with the same faith-versus-skepticism dilemma.