The history of the University of Florida is firmly tied to the history of public education in the state of Florida. The University of Florida originated as several distinct institutions that were consolidated to create a single state-supported university by the Buckman Act of 1905. The earliest of these was the East Florida Seminary , one of two seminaries of higher learning established by the Florida Legislature.The East Florida Seminary opened in Ocala 1853, becoming the first state-supported institution of higher learning in the state of Florida. As it is the oldest of the modern University of Florida's predecessor institutions, the school traces its founding date to that year. The East Florida Seminary closed its Ocala campus at the outbreak of the American Civil War and reopened in Gainesville in 1866
The other primary predecessor to the University of Florida was the Florida Agricultural College , established at Lake City in 1884 by Jordan Probst. Florida Agricultural College became the first land-grant college in the state, and the small college emphasized the scientific training of agricultural and mechanical specialists. In 1903, the Florida Legislature changed the name of Florida Agricultural College to the "University of Florida", in recognition of the legislature's desire to expand the curriculum beyond the college's original agricultural and engineering educational missions.
The Buckman Act of 1905 completely restructured Florida's higher education system. Six state-supported institutions were combined and reorganized into three schools segregated by race and gender. Four institutions – the East Florida Seminary, the University of Florida at Lake City (formerly Florida Agricultural College), the St. Petersburg Normal and Industrial School in St. Petersburg, and the South Florida Military College in Bartow – were consolidated to form the new University of the State of Florida, a school for white males.At the same time, the legislature created the Florida Female College and the State Normal School for Colored Students, both in Tallahassee. These schools would eventually evolve into Florida State University and Florida A&M University, respectively. Gainesville and Lake City competed to be the home of the new university. Gainesville was chosen, and construction on a new campus began just west of town in late 1905.
The University of Florida's student enrollment grew from 102 when it opened in Gainesville in 1906 to about 2,000 in 1930 and 10,000 in 1950. The school began accepting some white women students starting in 1924 and became fully coeducational as a result of the influx of new students brought in by the GI Bill after World War II. It became racially integrated in 1958. The school grew substantially in size and increased in academic prominence during the second half of the 20th century. It became a member of the Association of American Universities in 1985, and enrollment topped 50,000 by 2000.
In 1823, the Territorial Legislature and the United States Congress began to plan a system of higher education for Florida.As early as 1836, Congress authorized the establishment of a "University of Florida," and the first constitution of Florida Territory in 1838 specifically guaranteed that seminaries of higher learning be created. It was not until the 1850s, however, that the Florida Legislature took steps towards implementing these plans.
In 1851, the legislature voted to allow the establishment of two seminaries on either side of the Suwannee River: West Florida Seminary and the East Florida Seminary.On January 6, 1853, Florida governor Thomas Brown signed the legislation that provided public support for the seminaries. Gilbert Kingsbury was the first person to seek state support under the legislation, and his East Florida Seminary in Ocala, Florida became Florida's first state-supported institution of higher learning when it opened in the fall of 1853. The West Florida Seminary opened in Tallahassee in 1857.
The East Florida Seminary closed in 1861 as Florida seceded from the US at the onset of the Civil War. Between a lack of students and funding, higher education in the state came to a virtual standstill during and immediately after the conflict.
James Henry Roper, an educator from North Carolina and a Florida State Senator from Alachua County, established the Gainesville Academy in 1858 only to close it three years later. The Academy's facilities were still vacant after the Civil War, so Roper offered the property to the state as a new home for the East Florida Seminary. The state accepted his offer, and the seminary was reestablished in Gainesville in 1866. Epworth Hall, the main building of seminary's Gainesville campus, still stands near downtown outside the modern university's campus.
In 1884, Jordan Probst established what became the other major predecessor to the University of Florida, Florida Agricultural College in Lake City. Florida Agricultural College became the first land-grant college in the state, and as it named implied, its curriculum focused on the scientific training of agricultural and mechanical specialists.
Florida's post-Civil War 1868 constitution required the establishment of a state-sponsored university. The state's first attempts to establish a multi-college university came in 1883 in Tallahassee, where the legislature merged the West Florida Seminary with the Tallahassee College of Medicine and Surgery to create the "Florida University."The old West Florida Seminary became the new university's Literary College and contained several "schools" or departments, though its "separate Charter and special organization" was maintained. The university charter also mentioned three more colleges that were to be established at a later time: a Law College, a Theological Institute, and a Polytechnic and Normal Institute.
In 1885, the Florida Legislature voted to rename the school in Tallahassee as the "University of Florida" but did not supply additional funding, and the institution struggled to finance its expanding academic programs.The school never actually adopted the name, and the medical college relocated to Jacksonville later in 1885. Florida Agricultural College in Lake City announced its desire to merge with Florida University for the 1887 school term, but the legislature did not act on the idea. The Tallahassee-based school adopted the name "Florida State University" from 1891 until 1901, when it became Florida State College.
In 1903, the Florida Legislature transferred the "University of Florida" designation to Florida Agricultural College in Lake City in recognition of the school's desire to expand its curriculum beyond its original focus on agriculture and engineering.It operated under that name for two school years before Florida's system of higher education was completely reconfigured and restructured by the Buckman Act and all state-sponsored schools were consolidated.
In 1905 the state passed the Buckman Act, which reorganized the State University System of Florida and empowered the Florida Board of Control to govern the system. The act, named for legislator Henry Holland Buckman, mandated the consolidation of the state's six institutions into three: one for African Americans, one for white women, and one for white men. Four of the institutions – the University of Florida at Lake City (formerly Florida Agricultural College) in Lake City, the East Florida Seminary in Gainesville, the St. Petersburg Normal and Industrial School in St. Petersburg, and the South Florida Military College in Bartow – were merged into the new University of the State of Florida.
The University of the State of Florida served as the institution for white men; the State Normal School for Colored Students (the future Florida A&M University) served African Americans, and the Florida Female College (the future Florida State University) served white women.A fourth school provided specialized training and education for the deaf and blind (the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind).
Though several cities vied to be chosen as the site of the new university, Lake City and Gainesville quickly emerged as the two leading candidates. Newspapers and leading citizens of the nearby towns extolled the virtues of their community in the media, and in July 1905, both sent delegations to the meetings of the state Board of Control where the placement of the school would be decided. Lake City offered the use of the campus of Florida Agricultural College plus additional acres of adjacent land, while Gainesville's proposal included over 500 acres of land west of the town, the extension of Alachua Road (now West University Avenue) to the site, and water service to the university "without charge in perpetuity".On July 6, 1905, the Board of Control voted 6 to 4 to establish the new University of the State of Florida in Gainesville, much to the disappointment and anger of the citizens of Lake City.
Since the facilities of the East Florida Seminary were not large enough to accommodate the new university while construction commenced on its new campus, the Board of Control decided to house the institution at the FAC campus at Lake City for the 1905–1906 academic year. Andrew Sledd, president of the University of Florida at Lake City, was chosen as the first president of the new university, and architect William A. Edwards was commissioned with designing the first permanent buildings for the new Gainesville campus in the Collegiate Gothic style.
The school's first year was a time of transition. Classes were held on the existing Lake City campus while supplies and personnel where gradually moved to Gainesville against the wishes of Lake City leaders, who filed a series of unsuccessful legal challenges attempting to halt the move. In the summer of 1906, the university attempted to procure the use of wagons to move the final shipment of supplies and equipment to the train station, but no Lake City livery stable would take the job, and wagon teams had to be brought from Gainesville. A crowd of angry Lake City residents watched as the last four wagons left the campus on July 23, the professor in the lead wagon holding a rifle across his knees to discourage interference.
President Andrew Sledd oversaw the designing of the new school's courses of study, the opening of its campus in Gainesville (Buckman Hall and Thomas Hall being the first buildings completed), and the establishment of its athletic program, and classes began in Gainesville on September 26, 1906, with 102 students enrolled. However, Sledd drew increasing criticism from members of the Florida legislature and Board of Education for setting high admissions standards which they felt limited the university's growth potential. On the other hand, members of the university's Board of Control defended Sledd and insisted that the new school should not compromise its academic standards to artificially raise enrollment. To end the controversy, Sledd resigned as the school's president near the end of the spring 1909 term.
The fledgling school's name was simplified to the University of Florida in 1909, the same year that Albert A. Murphree was appointed to be its second president. Murphree had previously served as the president of Florida State College and had led its transformation into the Florida State College for Women. During his 18 years as UF's president, Murphree oversaw the establishment of many of its constituent colleges and schools: the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Law, the College of Agriculture, the College of Engineering, the College of Education, the School of Pharmacy, the School of Architecture, and the College of Commerce and Journalism along with the university's graduate program.Student enrollment increased from just under 200 when Murphree arrived in 1909 to over 2,000 when he unexpectedly died in 1927.
Another important event that occurred during Murphree's tenure was the naming of the Florida Gators. The university had established an athletic program immediately upon opening in Gainesville in 1906, but its teams did not initially have a mascot. This changed in 1911, when a local vendor designed and sold school pennants and other regalia featuring an alligator. The school colors of orange and blue, also chosen about the same time, are believed to be a combination of the blue and white school colors of the University of Florida at Lake City and the orange and black school colors of the East Florida Seminary in Gainesville, the university's two primary predecessors.
In 1924, the Florida Legislature permitted women of a "mature age" (at least 21 years old) who had completed sixty semester hours from a "reputable educational institution" would be allowed to enroll during regular semesters at the university in programs that were unavailable at Florida State College for Women. Before this, only the summer semester was coeducational, to accommodate teachers.Lassie Goodbread-Black from Lake City became the first woman to enroll at the University of Florida, at the College of Agriculture in 1925. However, the percentage of women students in Gainesville remained quite low until after World War II.
John J. Tigert became the university's third president in 1928. Before arriving in Gainesville, Tigert had been the president of Kentucky Wesleyan College; a philosophy professor, athletic director, basketball coach and football coach at the University of Kentucky; and the U.S. Commissioner of Education for seven years. Tigert brought many new ideas for reforming academics, athletics and administration to the university. Disgusted by the under-the-table payments being made by universities to athletes in this era, Tigert advocated the grant-in-aid athletic scholarship program in the early 1930s, which was the genesis of the modern athletic scholarship plan currently used by the NCAA.Under Tigert's administration, UF founded the University Athletic Association (UAA) to raise funds and administer the university's sports programs. UAA's first project was the construction of a new football stadium, Florida Field. and two years later, Florida became a charter member of the new Southeastern Conference. On the academic side, the school awarded its first doctoral degrees, was granted a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, established the new University College, and placed new emphasis on liberal arts general education requirements during Tigert's presidency..
When the United States entered World War II following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, most students withdrew to enlist in the U.S military. Having survived the financial stresses and strains of the Great Depression, the university could have failed financially when most of its student body departed. To survive the financial stresses of the war years, the university offered its campus, classrooms and dormitories to the U.S. Government for the training of aircrews for the U.S. Army Air Force.
When World War II ended and veteran students began to return to Gainesville in 1946, the university was overwhelmed with both returning and new students buoyed by their GI Bill of Rights (Servicemen's Readjustment Act) educational benefits. By 1947, over 7,500 students were enrolled, more than three times the number of students in 1928.
Unable to accommodate the immediate increased demand for college education in Florida, the Florida Board of Control opened the Tallahassee Branch of the University of Florida on the campus of Florida State College for Women in Tallahassee. –1947 school year, 954 men were enrolled at the Tallahassee Branch. The following semester, the Florida Legislature returned the Florida State College for Women to coeducational status and renamed it Florida State University, and the University of Florida began open enrollment of female students. Thereafter, all of the university's various colleges and schools were open to female students. The J. Hillis Miller Health Science Center was founded in 1956 and Shands at the University of Florida was founded two years later, at the same time as the College of Medicine was established under the direction of dean George Harrell. Rapid expansion of the university's campus structures and student population began in the 1950s under presidents J. Hillis Miller, Sr. and J. Wayne Reitz. Under Reitz, the university peacefully integrated and African-American students were allowed to enroll in the university in 1968.By the end of the 1946
In 1985, Florida became a member of the Association of American Universities (AAU), a higher-education organization presently composed of sixty-two public and private United States and Canadian research universities. Florida is one of thirty-four public universities that belong to the AAU. In 2009, President Bernie Machen and the University of Florida Board of Trustees announced the future reduction of the number of undergraduates, and an increase of resources for graduate education and research.
The University of Florida has continued to rise in the U.S. News & World Report college and university rankings. In 2001, Florida was labeled a Public Ivy, and, in 2010, was ranked second in Kiplinger's "Best Buys of Education," behind the University of North Carolina).U.S. News & World Report currently ranks the University of Florida thirty-fifth among national universities, public and private, and eighth among all public national universities.
In 2013, Florida Governor Rick Scott publicly announced his support for the University of Florida to ascend into the top ten among public universities, as measured by U.S. News & World Report. In 2017, the University of Florida became the first university in the state of Florida to crack the top ten best public universities according to U.S. News.The University of Florida was awarded $837.6 million in annual research expenditures in sponsored research for the 2018 fiscal year. In 2017, university President Kent Fuchs announced a plan to hire 500 new faculty in order to break into the top five best public universities; the majority of new faculty members will be hired in STEM fields. 230 faculty have been hired with the remaining 270 faculty to be hired by fall of 2019.
A number of the University of Florida's buildings are historically significant. The Campus Historic District comprises numerous buildings and encompasses approximately 650 acres (2.6 km2). Two buildings outside the historic district, the old WRUF radio station (now the university police station) and Norman Hall, are also listed on the historic register. The buildings listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places for their architectural or historic significance are:
|Andrew Sledd||1905 – 1909|
|Albert A. Murphree||1909 – 1927|
|* James M. Farr||1927 – 1928|
|John J. Tigert||1928 – 1947|
|* Harold Hume||1947 – 1948|
|J. Hillis Miller, Sr.||1948 – 1953|
|* John S. Allen||1953 – 1955|
|J. Wayne Reitz||1955 – 1967|
|Stephen C. O'Connell||1967 – 1973|
|* E. T. York||1973 – 1974|
|Robert Q. Marston||1974 – 1984|
|Marshall Criser||1984 – 1989|
|* Robert A. Bryan||1989 – 1990|
|John V. Lombardi||1990 – 1999|
|Charles E. Young||1999 – 2003|
|J. Bernard Machen||2003 – 2014|
|W. Kent Fuchs||2015 – Present|
|*Denotes acting/interim president|
See also List of University of Florida presidents
|College of Agricultural and Life Sciences||1906|
|Rinker School of Building Construction||1906|
|College of Education||1906|
|College of Law||1909|
|College of Engineering||1910|
|College of Liberal Arts and Sciences||1910|
|College of Journalism and Communications||1916|
|College of Pharmacy||1923|
|College of Design Construction and Planning||1925|
|Warrington College of Business||1926|
|P.K. Yonge Research School||1934|
|College of Health and Human Performance||1946|
|J. Hillis Miller Health Science Center||1956|
|College of Medicine||1956|
|College of Nursing||1956|
|College of Public Health and Health Professions||1958|
|Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences||1964|
|College of Dentistry||1972|
|College of Fine Arts||1975|
|College of Veterinary Medicine||1976|
|Division of Continuing Education||1976|
|Fisher School of Accounting||1977|
|Graham Center for Public Service||2006|
The University of Florida is a public land-grant research university in Gainesville, Florida. It is a senior member of the State University System of Florida and traces its origins to 1853 and has operated continuously on its Gainesville campus since September 1906.
Florida State University is a public research university in Tallahassee, Florida. It is a senior member of the State University System of Florida. Founded in 1851, it is located on the oldest continuous site of higher education in the state of Florida.
The State University System of Florida is a system of twelve public universities in the U.S. state of Florida. As of 2018, over 341,000 students were enrolled in Florida's state universities. Together with the Florida College System, which includes Florida's 28 community colleges and state colleges, it is part of Florida's system of public higher education. The system, headquartered in Tallahassee, is overseen by a chancellor and governed by the Florida Board of Governors.
Florida Blue Key is a student leadership honor society at the University of Florida which was founded in 1923.
Albert Alexander Murphree was an American college professor and university president. Murphree was a native of Alabama, and became a mathematics instructor after earning his bachelor's degree. He later served as the third president of Florida State College from 1897 to 1909, and the second president of the University of Florida from 1909 to 1927. Murphree is the only person to have been the president of both of Florida's original state universities, the University of Florida and Florida State University, and he played an important role in the organization, growth and ultimate success of both institutions.
Buckman Hall is a historic building located in Murphree Area on the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Florida, United States. It was designed by architect William A. Edwards in the Collegiate Gothic style and opened in 1906 as one of the two original buildings on the University of Florida's Gainesville campus along with nearby Thomas Hall. It once was a multi-purpose facility but has been used exclusively as a student dormitory since the 1940s.
Kathryn Chicone Ustler Hall is a historic building on the campus of the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, Florida. It was designed by William Augustus Edwards in the Collegiate Gothic style and opened in 1919 as the University Gymnasium. In that capacity, the building was the first home of the Florida Gators men's basketball team, and it continued to serve as the home court for most of the university's indoor sports programs until the Florida Gymnasium opened in the late 1940s. The university became co-educational at about the same time, and the building was rechristened the Women's Gymnasium and was repurposed as a recreation center for the school's many new female students. On June 27, 1979, it was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Murphree Area is an historic residence hall complex on the northern edge of the University of Florida campus in Gainesville, Florida. The complex is adjacent to University Avenue, one of the major public roads that serve the university and define its boundaries. It was the university's first residence area and the last one to become co-ed. The Murphree Area complex is named for Albert A. Murphree, the second president of the university, who served from 1909 to 1927. It consists of the following five residence buildings, all built between 1905 and 1939:
John James Tigert IV was an American university president, university professor and administrator, college sports coach and the U.S. Commissioner of Education. Tigert was a native of Tennessee and the son and grandson of Methodist bishops. After receiving his bachelor's degree, he earned his master's degree as a Rhodes Scholar.
The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an agriculture, life science, pathogen, and invasive species research facility in Florida affiliated with University of Florida. It is a partnership between federal, state, and county governments that includes an extension office in each of Florida's 67 counties, 13 research and education centers, several demonstration sites, the University of Florida College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and the School of Natural Resources and Environment), the Center for Tropical Agriculture, portions of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, the Florida Sea Grant program, and the International Program for Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources.
The history of Florida State University dates to the 19th century and is deeply intertwined with the history of education in the state of Florida and in the city of Tallahassee. Florida State University, known colloquially as Florida State and FSU, is one of the oldest and largest of the institutions in the State University System of Florida. It traces its origins to the West Florida Seminary, one of two state-funded seminaries the Florida Legislature voted to establish in 1851.
J. Hillis Miller Sr. was an American university professor, education administrator and university president. Miller was a native of Virginia, and earned bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees before embarking on an academic career. He served as a psychology professor at the College of William & Mary and Bucknell University, the president of Keuka College, a senior administrator with the New York Department of Education, and the president of the University of Florida.
James Marion Farr was an American university professor and academic administrator. Farr was a native of South Carolina, and earned bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees before beginning his career as a professor of English language and literature. He was the interim president of the University of Florida from 1927 until 1928, and also served as the university's first vice president from 1905 to 1934.
Andrew Warren Sledd was an American theologian, university professor and university president. A native of Virginia, he was the son of a prominent Methodist minister, and was himself ordained as a minister after earning his bachelor's and master's degrees. He later earned a second master's degree and his doctorate.
The 1904 University of Florida Blue and White football team represented the University of Florida in Lake City in the sport of American football during the 1904 college football season. This was neither the modern University of Florida nor the modern Florida Gators, but a team fielded by one of its four predecessor institutions that had been known as Florida Agricultural College until 1903. The were led by player-coach Marvin O. Bridges, whose brothers also played on the squad.
The Buckman Act was a Florida law passed by the state legislature in 1905. It reorganized the State University System of Florida and empowered the Florida Board of Control to govern the system. The act, named for legislator Henry Holland Buckman, mandated the consolidation of the state's six institutions of higher education into three: one for white men, one for white women, and one for African Americans. Four of the institutions – the University of Florida at Lake City in Lake City, the East Florida Seminary in Gainesville, the St. Petersburg Normal and Industrial School in St. Petersburg, and the South Florida Military College in Bartow – were merged into the new University of the State of Florida.
The East Florida Seminary was an institution of higher learning established by the State of Florida in 1853, and absorbed into the newly established University of Florida in 1905. The school operated in Ocala from 1853 until 1861. After being closed during the Civil War, the school re-opened in Gainesville, Florida in 1866.
|Wikisource has the text of the 1905 New International Encyclopedia article " Florida Agricultural College ".|