Commencement Address by Floyd T. Christian to Central Florida Junior College - Ocala, Florida - Saturday May 6, 1967


Material Information

Commencement Address by Floyd T. Christian to Central Florida Junior College - Ocala, Florida - Saturday May 6, 1967
Physical Description:
Christian, Floyd T.
Publication Date:
Physical Location:
Box: 1
Folder: Commencement Address to Central Florida Junior College - May 6, 1967


Spatial Coverage:
North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Ocala

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
sobekcm - AA00006396_00001
System ID:

Full Text
By Floyd T. Christian, State Superintendent
Ocala, Florida
Saturday, May 6, 1967 2:30 p.m.

This is the second time this week that my old friend, Tom Bailey,

and I have shared a speaker's platform. Last Tuesday we were together

for the dedication of the LeRoy Collins Building in Tallahassee and today,

we are here to give the names of Supt. Bailey and Gov. Bryant to two

buildings on your campus.

You know, those names just roll off your tongue the Bailey

Building -- the Bryant Building. I just can't envision anything ever

being named the Christian Building except maybe a wing of a church,

and that's not likely to happen.

I am happy that Gov. Bryant and Supt. Bailey are here with me this

afternoon for it gives us the opportunity to talk with and mingle with

the leaders of the 21st Century -- that's you -- you'll be the leaders.

In just a little more than 30 years, we'll be in the 21st Century

and it'll be the year 2001. Most of you then will be in your early 50's

and you'll be the leaders in business, arts, education and government at

local, state, national and international levels. Because we cannot

imagine what life will hold for us then, possibly I should even add, you

might be leaders at the interplanetary level, too.

The world has changed more within your lifetime than in all the

proceeding centuries of recorded history. During the past 20 years, there

have been revolutionary changes in society, in business, in politics ...

and in education. More than one-half of the nations which are members

of the United Nations have been established since 1945. Automation and

cybernation have changed the work patterns of the entire nation..

Scientific achievement have become everyday occurrences.

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The effect of this change on our lives may be dramatized by one example

- the computer. The electronic computer developed within your lifetime

has made possible, among many other things, space exploration, live

television broadcasts from Europe, supersonic aircraft, automated factories,

and -- on a more mundane level credit cards and those beloved IBM cards

used for college registration.

When you were born, there was a little known type of institution on

the American scene known as the junior college. In the last two decades,

however, this institution has emerged as one born out of need and it has

grown with purpose. Today, according to the Carnegie Foundation, it is

"the most important development in American higher education in the past

quarter century." And, most certainly, in the past ten years Florida's

community junior college system has been the most significant step in a

number of important developments in Florida's program of higher education.

There is a direct relationship between the development of a distinguished

system of higher education in a state and the growth of its commerce and

industry, the quality of work done by its professionals, the vitality of

its cultural life, and the range of opportunities open to its young people.

While a number of states have responded to this fact by trying to create

a truly distinguished system of higher education, with junior colleges at

the base, educating the people in occupational programs and sending students

on to the upper divisions of the university Florida has been one of the

few states to succeed.

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Without the development of these junior colleges and universities

in Florida, the growth of the state would have been slowed and the very

foundations of our prosperity and vitality shaken. The quality of medicine,

law, education and a host of other professions and occupations would have

declined. Most important, the opportunities open to the younger generation

would have been restricted. For Florida, therefore, a great system of

higher education is not just a source of public pride. It should be

regarded as an indispensable necessity.

The events of the past few months and especially of last Wednesday

week when the Governor delivered his budget message to the state have

placed both the junior colleges and the universities of Florida and their

contributions to the state in jeopardy. These institutions of higher

education can only continue to serve the people of this state adequately

if they remain among the leading institutions in America. Nothing less

will do.

Let us take a look at this new breed of institution that will enroll

three out of every four college freshmen in the nation by 1970. What is

the community junior college to the students enrolled in it? To the

instructors who teach in it? And I stress the word "teach" because the

community junior college is an institution where teaching is honored --

where good teaching is rewarded. And finally, what does the community

junior college mean to the community in which it is located?

To a community junior college student, these years provide the

opportunity for him to receive skilled counseling and guidance so that

he may relate his interests, aptitudes and abilities toward an occupation

or profession where his chances of success are greatest. This is the

opportunity for a "second chance" for the student who -- for one reason

or another did not do well in high school. There are many such students

who come to the community junior college, catch fire, and go on to brilliant

academic careers. There are even some junior college graduates who have

gone on for Master's and Doctor's degrees and are now teaching in our

junior colleges.

A junior college also provides the opportunity for a mother to resume

her higher education after interrupting it for a career of marriage and

raising children. A notable illustration of this occurred last year at

one of the junior colleges when a young mother in her early forties received

her Associate in Arts Degree.

Now it's not at all unusual for mothers to graduate from our community

colleges after earning credits over a period of years but this industrious

mother, while working on her Associate Degree, had one dozen children!

I understand that she went on to the university and majored in home

and family life and perhaps taught the professors a few things!

To the faculty members of a community junior college, this is an

opportunity one that is all too rare in higher education to realize

fulfillment as a teacher. He can realize fulfillment because his main job

will be teaching and it is likely he came to the community junior college

because he enjoyed teaching rather than basic research because he enjoyed

study more than writing -- because he enjoyed people more than cloistered


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In the community in which the junior college is located, the educational

and cultural climate is inevitably improved. The establishment of a junior

college is also an economic "shot in the arm" for any community. The U. S.

Department of Labor has researched this matter in some detail and it has

reported that the presence of each full-time student in a community junior

college has the economic impact of an extra one thousand dollars per year

on the community payroll. Thus, one million dollars is added to the

economy of a community every time a thousand students are enrolled. This

becomes quite significant when we stop to consider that within a very few

years community junior colleges which enroll five to ten thousand students -

or greater -- will be commonplace from one end of our nation to the other.

We have looked briefly at what the community junior college means to

the student who is enrolled in it, to the teacher who is teaching in it

and to the community in which it is located. But what is this college

doing to the very structure of our working society?

The community junior college, more than any other institution, is

responsible for the creation of a new semi-professional class of

occupations -- occupations that are literally changing and upgrading the

way we live.

Medical technicians and assistants, dental hygienists and dental

assistants, medical secretaries and most especially the graduates of our

two-year junior college nursing programs have increased the efficiency and

raised the quality of medical services wherever they are being graduated

by the junior college.

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In another community, the police chief informed his entire department

last year that no man on the force would be considered for promotion or a

salary increase until he had successfully completed the police science

program at the local junior college. I have a strong feeling that this

police department will soon be one of the best to be found anywhere.

Another relatively new occupation that is reshaping the sub-professional

strata of our work force is the whole area of electronic data processing.

Data processing technicians are in such demand that they are being

snapped up by industry and business as fast as our junior colleges can

turn them out. Two years ago a young man at one of our junior colleges was

about to drop out of a standard Associate Degree transfer program in order

to accept a $300 a month job so he could support his wife and baby. Like

all prospective dropouts, however, this young man was invited in for a

counseling session. The upshot of the session was that he received a loan

and a student job and he was enrolled in the data processing program. This

past spring -- with his brand new Associate Degree in data processing

technology -- and with an outstanding record he was employed by his own

alma mater at $625 a month! That is a salary that looks good even to a

four-year graduate.

What do community junior colleges mean to the four-year colleges and

universities in our nation?

I sincerely believe and there is considerable evidence to support

this belief that the development of the community junior college movement

in America has done more to raise the standards and improve the quality

of our universities than any other factor.


This is clearly evidenced in California and Florida where the state

colleges and universities have been able to incorporate quite a degree of

selectivity because the states' growing system of community junior colleges

is offering quality higher education to all high school graduates. This
"open-door policy" does not mean that community junior colleges are not

selective. Selection more varied and sometimes more critical -- is

accomplished by guiding students into programs that suit their talents

and abilities.

To the colleges and universities, our community junior colleges are

cooperating not competing -- institutions. To the new upper division

institutions, such as Florida Atlantic University and the University of

West Florida, the community junior college is life blood because the

university parallel programs of the junior colleges of the state are,

in effect, the freshmen and sophomore divisions of these universities.

Many people and I am one of them believe this program being

pioneered in Florida will become the emerging pattern for higher education

in America.

This is the pattern that will make complete the change in our higher

educational system from what was once the exclusive domain of the elite

to the common property of all Americans. I believe this to be the system of

higher education that will eventually insure that no young person will ever

be condemned to educational mediocrity simply because he called the wrong

state or the wrong county home.

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You young people who are the Class of 1967 of Central Florida

Junior College owe a great debt of gratitude to the vision and wisdom

and dedication of many men leaders in civic and political life who

have made possible our fine system of higher education. If I were to give

any advice to you as graduates, it would be to emulate in your future life -

as students, as citizens, and as leaders -- the personal characteristics

of two former Ocalans who more than any others have made this institution

and your education possible. I refer, of course, to former Governor

Farris Bryant, and former State Superintendent Thomas D. Bailey, who are

being honored here today.

Tom Bailey's entire life has been devoted to serving his fellow man.

Perhaps his philosophy is best summed up by the slogan which hung on the

wall of his office throughout his career as state superintendent. The

slogan read: "No man stands so tall as he who stoops to help a child."

This, Tom Bailey believed; and this, Tom Bailey practiced.

Because he believed it, hundreds of thousands of citizens of this

state are better Off. For in his career as teacher, principal, and as

state superintendent, he has always been a leader a man of vision. He

moved Florida to a place of pre-eminence among all states in education.

His was the guiding hand when our junior college system was established.

Farris Bryant you know as a neighbor, as a friend, and as a good citizen.

In his career as a legislator, and as governor, he, like Tom Bailey, recognized

the importance of education. During his career as governor, he wholeheartedly

supported education and gave leadership to the development of many improvements

and expansions of our educational system. Almost single-handedly he conceived

and passed the Higher Education Bond Amendment which made available funds for

the expansions of universities and junior colleges throughout this state and

specifically for the buildings being dedicated here today.

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Farris Bryant and Tom Bailey two great citizens of this state

and of this nation throughout their careers exemplified vision,

concern for their fellow men, leadership, wisdom and good judgment.

Throughout their careers, in spite of the many honors that have come to

them, they have remained humble and never lost the common touch. These

men have dedicated themselves to public service, and to bringing the

benefits of a free society to all of the citizens of this state.

My advice to you is to emulate them and when your time on this earth

is done, the world will be a better place because you passed this way.