The St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission to hold inaugural meeting on July 18

U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar to attend; Public encouraged to attend

The St. Augustine 450th Commemoration Commission will hold its inaugural meeting in St. Augustine on Monday, July 18 will be broadcast live on WFCF-88.5, Flagler College Radio. . It is certain to be a very important day for the entire community and in particular as it continues to plan for its 450th anniversary set for 2015.

The commission will meet in the Flagler College Auditorium, 14 Granada Street, starting at 10:00am and the public is encouraged to attend. Click here to read an updated news release issued Thursday, July 14, by the Department of the Interior. 

The live broadcast will start at 9:45am and the meeting is expected to last approximately two hours.

The broadcast may also be heard online at  In addition, the college’s communication’s department will video record the meeting for possible rebroadcast via St. Johns County’s Government Television (GTV).

While we encourage all who can attend to do so, we recognize that many will not be able to take time away from work or other responsibilities to be present,” said Paul K. Williamson, the city’s Public Affairs Director. “Through this partnership with Flagler College’s WFCF Radio we will be able to truly make this an open public meeting by making it possible for all who are interested to listen and to learn.”

U.S. Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar, Florida Senator Bill Nelson, and Congressman John Mica, are expected to offer remarks at the meeting.

Congress established the Commission as part of the Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 and charged it with ensuring a suitable national observance of St. Augustine’s 450th anniversary by complementing the programs and activities of the State of Florida and the City of St. Augustine. Secretary Salazar announced the members of the Commission in April.

“I am pleased that these passionate and accomplished individuals have agreed to serve St. Augustine and our nation by serving on this Commission,” Secretary Salazar said upon announcing the appointments. “As stewards of our nation’s great history, the Department of the Interior and the Commission will work to ensure that the story of St. Augustine and our Spanish ancestors is recognized and preserved for generations to come.”

“The story of St. Augustine is a microcosm of the story of America itself, with a tapestry weaved by Native Americans, Europeans and Africans as the city developed, changed hands in times of conflict, struggled with issues of justice and equality and eventually flourished,” said Director of the National Park Service Jon Jarvis in April. “The members of the commission will ensure that the anniversary will be an opportunity to expand the understanding and appreciation of the significance of the founding and continuing history of the city.”

The members of the Commission are:

• Joseph L. Boles, Jr. , Mayor of St. Augustine;
• Katharine H. Dickenson, Historic Preservationist;
• Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami-Dade State Attorney;
• Michael Francis, Professor of History, University of North Florida
• Michael Gannon, Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History, University of Florida
• Bob Graham, former Florida Governor and U.S. Senator;
• Jay Kislak, President, Kislak Mortgage Corp. and National Park Foundation Board Member;
• Eduardo Padron, President, Miami Dade College;
• Bruce Smathers, Former Florida Secretary of State;
• Robert Stanton, Senior Advisor to the Secretary, Department of the Interior;
• Thomas S. Willis, Pastor, Cathedral Parish, St. Augustine, Florida;
• Gordon Wilson, Superintendent, Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monument;
• Andrew Young, former U.S. Representative, Mayor of Atlanta, and U.N. Ambassador.

For biographical information on the Commission members, click here.

The Commission’s duties, as defined in its charter, are to:

• plan, develop, and carry out programs and activities appropriate for the commemoration;
• facilitate activities relating to the commemoration throughout the United States;
• encourage civic, patriotic, historical, educational, artistic, religious, economic, and other organizations throughout the United States to organize and participate in anniversary activities to expand understanding and appreciation of the significance of the founding and continuing history of St. Augustine;
• provide technical assistance to States, localities, and nonprofit organizations to further the commemoration;
• coordinate and facilitate for the public scholarly research on, publication about, and interpretation of, St. Augustine;
• ensure that the commemoration provides a lasting legacy and long-term public benefit by assisting in the development of appropriate programs; and
• help ensure that the observances of the foundation of St. Augustine are inclusive and appropriately recognize the experiences and heritage of all individuals present when St. Augustine was founded.

For more information, please contact the City of St. Augustine Public Affairs Department at 904.825.1004 or email

Please note that one or more members of the St. Augustine City Commission may be in attendance.

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