Kay Burniston needed a job and Tom Furlong knew he would soon need some help. The two knew of each other through their work in education, but they had never met.
Ten years later, Burniston, Vice President of Baccalaureate Programs and University Partnerships, vividly remembers that first meeting.
“We met at a restaurant at BayWalk,” she said. “I got there ahead of him and really wasn’t completely sure what he looked like. Fortunately, I walked up to him and had it right.”
It was the start of something big. Furlong had just been hired by the college to start the baccalaureate programs and Burniston had just moved to the area with her husband, John, an insurance consultant who had been transferred here. She had spent most of her career in education but had not worked for Furlong, who started at SPC as the Vice President of Baccalaureate Programs and University Partnerships.
In 2002, Furlong and Burniston put together the baccalaureate model that paved the way for the college to become a leader statewide in offering four-year degrees at community colleges. What started with three programs has since grown to 24.
“Hiring Kay to join me here and get this off the ground was the best decision I could have ever made,” Furlong said. “We hit it off right away and seemed to always be on the same page.”
He credited Burniston with being the primary author of the successful SACS proposal seeking Level 2 (baccalaureate) status for the college.
“Getting the four-year program started here has been the most rewarding thing I have done in my career,” Burniston said. “I will always look back fondly on my time here and the many friends I was able to make. It has been a great 10 years.”
Burniston will close that chapter of her life June 29 when she leaves SPC to become the Executive Director of the Foundation at Daytona Beach State College. It will be her second stop at Daytona Beach; her first stop was as Vice President for Planning, Research and Development, which included Marketing and Grants.
“We left because John was transferred to New Jersey,” she said. “My mother still lives in Daytona Beach and this will allow me to be closer to her, but I will miss my friends and time here.”