. ... ... ...
A COLLEGE TELLS ITS STORY
AN ORAL HISTORY OF
FLORIDA COMMUNITY COLLEGE AT JACKSONVILLE
1963 to 1991
TELLS ITS STORY
An Oral History of Florida Community College at Jacksonville
1963 to IgI
ROBERT B. GENTRY
Af College at Jacksonville
UIVE#SITY OF FLQROJA LIBRARM
1991 by Florida Community College at Jacksonville.
All rights reserved. No part of this work may be repro-
duced or transmitted in any form or by any means,
electronic or mechanical, including photocopying
and recording, or by any information storage re-
trieval system without the prior written permission
of Florida Community College at Jacksonville unless
such copying is expressly permitted by federal copy-
right law. Address inquiries to Marketing and Public
Relations, Florida Community College at Jackson-
ville, 501 W. State Street, Jacksonville, FL 32202.
Printed in the United States of America.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 91-72766.
To all our students past, present, and future
and to the people of Duval and Nassau counties
Time is not a line but a dimension....
You don't look back along time
but down through it, like water.
Sometimes this comes to the surface,
sometimes that, sometimes nothing.
Nothing goes away.
One evening five years ago I couldn't sleep and decided to read
some Foxfire. I had read several Foxfire stories before and was most
impressed. One thing that interested me about these stories was that
they were developed by students who had interviewed all kinds of
people in the North Georgia mountains. What the students learned
about the culture of that area became the subject matter of a series of
books which Eliot Wigginton, their teacher, edited under the title
I especially enjoyed the oral histories in Foxfire, stories in which
the mountain people talk about their customs in their own words-
like Mrs. Algie Norton telling how to make beds, "They made straw
beds back then out a' rye straw. Then you raised ducks and picked 'em
and made feather beds and pillers ify'had any...." and Lawton Brooks
on corn shucking, "Sometimes...th'man that found th'first red ear got
t'kiss th'prettiest girl...."'
As I was finishing Foxfire that night, I got an idea: We could do an
oral history of Florida Community College at Jacksonville (FCCJ)! I
could interview students, faculty, administrators, board members,
clerical people, maintenance staff, security officers, groundskeepers,
retirees, alumni, city and state officials, people in the community, and
others involved with the College. I could record their conversations,
transcribe and edit them, and put them in a book. It would be an oral
history in which many narrators would relate their contributions to
the College's history. The book would begin with the creation of the
College by legislative mandate in 1963 and go to 1991 when FCCJ
would complete a quarter century of service. The work could be an
important part of the College's Silver Jubilee celebration.
Rationale for an oral history ofFCCJ came readily to mind. First,
like many community colleges in the U.S., FCCJ has been so concerned
with its growth that it has put little priority on recording its past. An
oral history would provide this record in a special way. Second, oral
history contains a wide variety of anecdotes, facts, opinions, values,
insights, and situations; thus the form is particularlywell suited to tell
the story of an institution as comprehensive and diverse as FCCJ.
Third, oral history often gives a close, personal view of narrators and
past events. Through their stories you often see how historical change
has affected the narrators. You hearhowthey really talk and feel. You
get to know them as real people. Fourth, since narrators don't always
plan for oral-history interviews, oral history frequently has a sponta-
neous quality. Although this trait may sometimes result in narratives
that aren't fully accurate, the stories may be quite valuable in the
truths they do reveal. An extemporaneous story, for instance, may be
more revealing ofsubconscious truth than one that's carefully planned
In the months following that evening, I used much spare time to
research oral history and oral literature, both of which I had studied
over the years and taught on occasion. I read more of the Foxfire
books and reread Studs Terkel's oral histories of the Great Depres-
sion and World War II. I sought the advice of scholars and historians
and read the conventional histories of several universities. I searched
for oral histories of U.S. colleges and universities but found none. I
was really excited bythe possibilitythat FCCJ might produce the first
collegiate oral history in the United States.2
Early in 1987 I submitted a detailed proposal to my administra-
tion requestingthat I develop an oral history of FCCJ. I also requested
the assistance of a committee and a part-time clerk and asked for a
lighter teaching load during the oral-history project. My supervisors
liked the proposal and assured me of their full support. Committing
resources to such a large project takes time, though, and it would be
almost two years before the proposal would get final approval.
In the meantime, I used more spare time to do more research and
refine the proposal. I used it in my composition classes as an in-
structional example. I asked students and staff what they thought of
an FCCJ oral history. Every reaction I got was extremely positive.
Upon approval of the proposal in late 1988, President Charles
Spence appointed Associate Vice President Bill Martin as my su-
pervisor for the history project. Bill appointed an oral history com-
mittee with me as chairman, and Denise Doroba was hired as my
clerical assistant. Then Bill and I sent several memos to all FCCJ
employees explaining the oral history concept and inviting them to
contribute as narrators to the College history. We gave all employees
the option of being interviewed on audio tape or writing their stories
in a first-person, conversational style. We also invited many others to
contribute, including students, alumni, former employees, officials,
and others outside FCCJ who had been associated with the College.
The response to our requests was gratifying. Between January of
1989 (when the project officially began) and November of 1990, I
interviewed 118 people, Bill interviewed one person, and twenty-six
people sent me written stories.
For the actual interviews, I would arrange to meet the narrators
in their offices or off campus. Sometimes we would meet for lunch; a
few narrators invited me to their homes. I usually worked with a
Radio Shack microcassette recorder and ninety-minute tapes (forty-
five minutes on each side of the tape). In a few instances, I conducted
telephone interviews. Some interviews were fairly short because the
narrators couldn't spare much time forthem. Other sessions averaged
about an hour (not counting pre-interview chat, parts of which were
so interesting that I later blended them into some of the edited
narratives). And there were a number of long interviews, like the one
with Ben Wygal (FJC President, 1970-84), which ran several hours.
For some interviews I would prepare lists ofquestions beforehand
and structure the sessions around the questions. But if the narrator
tookthe interview in a more important direction than my questioning
pointed, I disregarded structure and went with the flow of the narra-
tive. I usually took notes during an interview in case the recorder
malfunctioned, and several times it did. At times I used no format and
asked few questions so as not to inhibit the narrators. Since I had
worked with many of the people whom I interviewed, I often knew
which ones responded better to structure and which ones liked a
As an interviewer, I tried to learn as much as I possibly could
about this College. I wanted material that I could transform into a
readable book that would give you a good representation of FCCJ's
students and staff, its programs, its successes and problems, its major
changes and crises, its reflection of the greater society of which it's a
I envisioned a book that would interest a wide audience, that is,
readers inside and outside the College (today's readers as well as
future readers): students and potential students who want more than
a catalogview ofFCCJ; faculty and other educators who are interested
in the ideas and insights of many FCCJ faculty and staff; historians
and scholars who study institutions like FCCJ to see how they mirror
the life and thought of their times; officials in business and govern-
mentwho are concerned about the practicalities of an institution, say,
its influence on the economy of the community; alumni who have
benefitted from the College and value its growth and reputation. Also,
although I knew the general reader wouldn't be my primary audience,
I wanted to include as many anecdotes and narrative elements as I
could to appeal to this kind of reader. So the you that I'm addressing
in this introduction is a composite of all these readers, some of whom,
no doubt, would be unfamiliar with FCCJ and oral history.
After completing an interview, I would bring the tape to Denise to
transcribe on the computer. Please see Denise Doroba's story(the last
one in the book) for an interesting account of her transcribing ex-
AfterDenise transcribed everyword of the interview, I would edit
it. Editing a typical interview meant taking about twenty-five pages of
raw transcription and reducing itto about six or seven typed pages for
the book. A long interview would take over eighty p ages oftranscription
and have to be edited down to about a third of its original length. Most
of the written stories that I received also required editing.
Editing a story is never easy. One can never be fully certain about
this process. How many repetitions, examples, digressions, details,
and ramblings should I keep or cut? Which of my own questions and
comments are the best to keep? In a sense, these are all significant
because they tell us something about the narrator, his or her subject,
the editor, and the historical time in which narrator and editor are
interacting. But book cost and space are tough taskmasters that keep
the editorial knife sharp and cutting.
In a few places, though, I included material not directly related
to FCCJ because I thought it extraordinary, historically important, or
appealing to the reader. If an interview contained gold (to borrow a
metaphor from Studs Terkel), I certainly wanted to dig it out and put
it in the narrative.
For every story I had to ask myself: should I leave the story
essentially as the narrator told it or rearrange its events? To answer
this question, I used fact and literary value as my major criteria. For
instance, if a narrator said something at one place in a storythat might
read better at another place and still illumine historical fact, I
rearranged the story accordingly.
Then there was the constant struggle for clarity. I had to take
rambling, often incoherent speech that would be quite understand-
able to the ear in conversation and make it clear to your eye on the
printed page. Words and sentences and paragraphs and sometimes
pages had to be clarified. Many times I'd have to contact narrators to
clear up confusing passages or get answers to important questions,
but I couldn't always reach them on the first try. Sometimes weeks
would go by before a story could be completed.
I was always careful not to embellish stories. I had to be faithful
to the narrator's purpose and ideas whetherI agreed with them ornot.
Of course, if I found inaccuracies in the stories, I corrected them in
consultation with the narrators. Moreover, I wanted to preserve the
narrator's tone and manner of speech because the way people speak
is historically important. To capture an informal, conversational
quality, I included colloquialisms and ungrammatical elements from
time to time. Many Americans, even educated ones, speak less gram-
matically than they write. So whenever I came upon an expression
like "real good" that was characteristic of the speaker, I retained it in
my editing. If a narrator spoke naturally in dialect, I kept enough of
the dialectto give you a flavor ofthis speech, which is sometimes more
colorful than standard English. In brief, in developing a story, I made
sure that it was essentially the narrator's and not mine.
After editing a story, I wrote a brief introduction to it (the
italicized part that you see after each name). If the narrator gave me
biographical information, I used it to introduce the story with a little
vita. A few narrators wrote their own introductions. A number of the
stories I introduced with descriptive scenes. In some of these scenes
I had interacted with the narrators, so I wove the personal element
into the scenes, which are history too. What hangs on a wall or sits on
a deskreveals something about an era. Photographs, posters, gardens,
buildings, clothes, and many other things are all significant. I wanted
to freeze in time as many ofthese things as I could to give you pictures
of the College and the society it serves.
The next step was to send the story to the narrator to review. Most
narrators accepted my editing and made only minor changes. Occa-
sionally, a narrator and I differed over something in an edited story.
I was usually able to justify my editing to the narrator's satisfaction.
But whenever he or she insisted on a certain way, I bowed to the
narrator's wishes, even if the narrator wanted sections of the story
rewritten. The final judge of the story was always the narrator.
I felt under considerable pressure to make the deadlines I had to
set formyself, the narrators, and those assistingme. To finish the book
on time, each month I had to interview people, edit over 250 pages of
transcription, send the edited stories to narrators to review, make any
revisions that the narrators suggested, send the revised stories to a
reading committee, and get the narrators to sign quote-release forms.
And whenever members of the reading committee spotted places
which to them were unclear or misleading, I would usually have to
resolve these problems in consultation with the narrators.
When the editing was over, I reviewed all the stories toward the
end of structuring the book. Early in the writing process, it had
become apparent that I couldn't adhere strictly to chronological
order. As you will see, most of the narratives don't fit neatly in time
periods. Some narrators begin with recollections of their early Col-
lege experiences and then focus on more recent events. Others jump
back and forth in time. Still others range over their College careers
without dwelling on any one phase.
In light of these characteristics, then, the following criteria
seemed the best to use in structuring the book. First, if the story deals
with one or more developments in a certain historical period, the
story appears in that period. Second, if it ranges over several periods
but stresses one of these times a bit more than the others, it appears
in the period most emphasized. Third, if it doesn't focus on any
particular time, it is assigned to the period when the narrator joined
the College. For the most part, I followed these criteria unless I saw
some special reason not to. If two narrators gave conflicting views of
something, for instance, this might be a good reason to juxtapose their
stories in a certain period.
I realize, of course, that carving history into time frames is pretty
arbitrary and debatable; nonetheless, I divided the College's history
into four periods. These are not strict divisions. They overlap in time.
The first period, the Beginning, covers the time from the establish-
ment of the College in 1963 to about the end of its first academic year
(1966-67). Fred Kent, Fred Schultz, Bruce Wilson, and other narrators
illuminate major developments during this time. Next, there's the
period (1966-69) when the College emerged out of old Navy barracks
and makeshift buildings to become a fully accredited institution.
During this time the College diversified rapidly and developed the
Experimental College and other innovative programs which antici-
pated the innovation of later years.
Then there are two periods of major growth. The first (Growing I)
begins with the building ofNorth Campus and South Campus (the first
permanent campuses) in the years 1969-71 and ends in the mid 80's
when the College suffered declining enrollment. This firstperiod saw
the development of two more permanent campuses (Kent and
Downtown) and numerous off-campus centers, an emphasis on edu-
cational access (making higher education available to all segments of
the community), an expansion of all College programs, revisions in
the general education curriculum, and much involvement in inter-
national education. The second period of major growth (Growing II)
begins in the late 80's and continues to the present. This last period
has been marked by a refinement of older programs and the addition
of new ones, increasing enrollment, an emphasis on student success,
stricter academic requirements, areevaluation ofgeneral education,
increasing reliance on high technology, and renewed involvement in
international education. In all four periods the College has had to
deal with controversy.
You will see this four-part structure reflected in the Contents. In
this section, a list of narrators appears under each historical period.
Next to each narrator's name is a brief excerpt from his or her story.
These excerpts are designed to convey some idea of what the stories
are about (but don't always indicate all major story themes), suggest
the diversity and comprehensiveness of the College, and arouse the
reader's curiosity. The contents and structure, moreover, suggest a
certain concept oftime. Time, I believe, is not like a straight line. It's
like the sea in which events keep rising to the surface and sinking
back down again. As the novelist MargaretAtwood writes, "Time is not
a line but a dimension....You don't look back along time but down
through it, like water."3
Still, you will probably want some sense of linear time in this
history. The Chronology which appears just before the first narrative
conveys this sense, and this section serves as a framework for the
stories. Ifyou're interested in a list of major events, important dates,
and statistics on the numerical growth of the College, the Chronology
is a good place to look.
Although the book is arranged so that you can read it any way you
wish, I strongly suggest that you start at the beginning and read right
throughto the end. Thus, I believe, you will get a deeperunderstanding
of the history than if you jumped around in the book.
As you read, you will come upon terms and abbreviations which
may be confusing-like FJC and FCCJ. FJC stands for Florida Junior
College at Jacksonville, the official name of the College until 1986
when it was renamed Florida Community College at Jacksonville.
Names like these as well as the names of some universities, organiza-
tions, tests, government programs, and other terms are spelled out the
first time they're used and abbreviated thereafter. Occasionally, you
may need to consult the Abbreviations section near the end of the
book where special terms are explained.4
You may also want to consult the Notes, the last section in the
book. The notes are mostly cross references. Some pointyouto stories
in which narrators comment on such matters as new campus develop-
ment and selecting a name for the College. Other notes refer you to
narrators who have conflicting opinions about controversial issues.
Finally, I close this introduction with some qualifications and a
tribute. One qualification is that, like any history, this one has gaps
that future historians will need to fill. Similarly, there are the limi-
tations of the oral history method itself, as Charles Douglass points
out in his narrative (pages 222-225). Further, this history does not
contain a story about every part of the College, although all general
areas and many programs are represented here. Had other staff
members chosen to contribute to the book, their stories would have
given it an added dimension.
Notwithstanding these limitations, "this work is an important
history of one of Florida's major community colleges," according to
Dr. Samuel Proctor, Director of the Oral History Program at the
University of Florida. Dr. Proctorgoes on to say, "To my knowledge, it
is the only oral history of an educational institution in book form. All
those interested in the history of Florida and Southern education, but
particularly in the history of Jacksonville, will find this book very
Many ofmy FCCJ colleagues contributed to this work and deserve
special thanks. I am most grateful to all the narrators who gave their
valuable time to this project. Their stories are the lifeblood of this
history. I am especially grateful to those who had the difficult task of
dealingwith controversy and showed the courage oftheir convictions.
My gratitude goes to Chuck Spence, Bill Martin, and Ed Napier,
Executive Vice President for their support and for helping to provide
a stimulating environment where research and writing can be done
freely and effectively.
My thanks to Denise Doroba, my assistant, whose title of senior
clerk does not begin to suggest her value to this history. Denise spent
many hours transcribing the interviews with uncanny accuracy. She
performed clerical tasks extremely well. Her interest in this book, her
attitude, and her attention to detail have all been superb.
I appreciate the work of the FCCJ Oral History Committee. Art
Chiang, Arlene Flannagan, Pat Barrett, and Frank Shannon verified
details and provided some historical information. Wendy Morrow,
Susan Edelman, Alice Grant, Steve Robbins, and Brenda Simmons
read the manuscript in progress and made helpful comments. Wendy
Morrow supervised the process of getting the finished manuscript
camera-ready for the printer, and when Wendy was on maternity
leave, Susan Edelman assisted in that supervision. Chris Nail did the
design and layout of the book. Bill Martin, Jerry Drum, and JoAnn
Carpenter offered ideas on structuring the book and contributed to
the FCCJ Chronology. Ken Norton researched the photo files in the
Marketing and Public Affairs office and provided some of the book's
pictures. Arlene Flannagan began organizingthe first FCCJ Archives
which contains news clippings, yearbooks, bulletins, brochures, re-
cordings, reports, memoranda, writings of students and faculty, and
many other items. Arlene's list of initial contributors to the archives
Patricia M. Barrett Robert A. Kennedy
Ezekiel W. Bryant Mary Sue Koeppel
Jimmie Lee Burrows Cornelius R. Lockett, Jr.
Lavonta M. Caldwell Raymond C. McClintock
William P. Cushing Santa J. Mann
Charles G. Douglass William S. Martin
Rae Shelley Drew Henry L. Moreland
Joanne M. Egnor Patricia A. Murzynsky
Herman Elson Minh Lien Nguyen
L. Arlene Flannagan Daniel L. Schafer
Robert B. Gentry Billie Jean Schukis
Lois D. Gibson Bettye J. Sessions
Linda S. Giddens Frank L. Shannon
Lawton R. Green Mary Louise Shannon
Elizabeth B. Griffey Thomas A. Warren
Fred C. Jackson, Jr. Barbara Ann Witherspoon
Jeanne K. Jones William J. Wolson
Still other colleagues deserve special recognition. Mary Sue
Koeppel volunteered several weekends to read the manuscript and
made valuable suggestions. Frank Green assisted in the final proof-
ing ofthe book. Geraldine Smith and Walter Fitzpartrick contributed
several photographs. These Kent Campus librarians answered many
of my reference questions and verified much information: Cherry
Alexander, Anita Geiger, Dorothy Crews, Lee Ogilvie, and Sue Palmer.
Further, Elise Patterson-Crate, Brenda Boccard, and Gene Morris
provided computer assistance.
Since introducing me to the personal computer seven years ago,
Elise has taught me much about word processing and has been an
excellent resource person (even on weekends) when I needed tech-
My thanks to Linda Giddens, Administrative Assistant to Dr.
Spence; to Jeanne Jones, Linda's predecessor; and to Alice Kerr-
Winn, Dr. Spence's secretary. Whenever I needed information from
the president's office, these staff members were always helpful.
I also wish to thank Dr. George Hallam ofJacksonville University
and Dr. Daniel Schafer of the University of North Florida, both of
whom wrote histories oftheir institutions. When the FCCJ history was
in the proposal stage, George and Dan gave me some good advice
about developing a college history.
To all named here and to all the others who supported and
encouraged me duringthewriting ofthis book(especiallySue Koeppel,
Joe Molenda, Jim Cobb, and Lauretta Garner) my deep gratitude.
Robert B. Gentry
Professor of English and Humanities
Kent Campus, FCCJ
Introduction ........................................................... IX
Acknowledgments ................................................ XVI
Chronology ..................... .. .......................... 1
Fred H. Kent, Sr. ....................................... .......... 8
Bringing a junior college here was like taking an illegiti-
mate child to a wedding reception.
Frederick H. Schultz ............................................ 17
FCCJs the only community college created in this state
without formal notice of support from the school board.
Ish W. Brant ......................................... ......... .. 22
The state wouldn't give us enough money to start a college
Martinez Baker ...................................... ........ 27
I said, "Franz [Lindberg], give the College space to build a
campus. You get a tax write-off."
Donald T. Martin ...................................... ........ 34
Our biggest challenge was finding the right people to lead
and manage the College.
J. Bruce Wilson ..................................................... 38
FJC was the first public educational institution in Duval or
Nassau County to exist on an integrated basis.
Terry O'Banion ....................................... ........ 44
Very soon after Joe [Fordyce] accepted the FJC job [presi-
dency], he resigned.
Fred and Juanita Smith ......................................... 46
My Kent Campus office is right above where our honey-
moon house stood (Fred).
John A. Haynes ...................................... .......... 47
There was sort of the typical struggle between a new col-
lege and a conservative area.
Adrien P. Beaudoin ............................................ 49
Dr. Wilson wanted desperately for the College to succeed.
Granville P. Diffie .................................................. 52
You couldn't be all that democratic when starting a college.
Ralph E. Russell ..................................... .......... 56
I did my best to keep the odors of fresh vegetables and
fried meat out of rest of the library.
Patricia M. Barrett .............................................. 58
Library receiving was once in an old casket company
where the rodents outnumbered the books.
Harriette Y. Dodson ............................................... 62
The first year Cumberland Campus was like the lost
Dianne N. Bladel ..................................... ......... 66
In this "bull pen" we really did collaborate.
Reginald F. Touchton, Sr. ...................................... 68
One day I kicked off my shoes while teaching. It was so
comfortable I do it all the time now.
Herman Elson ........................................ ......... .. 72
Those old shacks became half of the College.
Kenneth L. Norton ............................................ 75
New learning interferes with old learning.
Jack E. Surrency ................................................... 78
The Bible seems to indicate that teachers are going to be
held a little more accountable.
Patricia G. Parker .................................... ......... 84
My professors made me feel valued.
Ethel L. (Pat) Jenkins ........................................... 88
The Experimental College was the grandfather of our cur-
rent honors program.
'William J. Wolson ..................................... ......... 90
Most teachers subject to the draft expected to receive an
Robert A. Kennedy ............................................ 93
The pressure to inflate grades has come from all sides of
our society except the faculty.
L. Arlene Flannagan ............................................ 96
My first day at work, all four of them started serenading
Dessie (Buddy) Johnson, Jr. and Margaret T. Griffin .99
We've heard all the four-letter words, too. (Margaret)
William S. Martin ............................................... 103
The student took the podium and began reading a condem-
nation of the president and staff
Mildred S. Barnert .............................................. 106
I decided to protest. I slept in the office!
Douglas W. Kerley .................................... 109
I remember the closeness offaculty and the feeling of close-
ness with students.
Rae Shelley Drew ............................................ 111
Quality at FJC was being undermined by too much empha-
sis on quantity.
Thomas E. Barton, Jr .......................................... 114
We assisted with a plan that could bring new companies
into the Jacksonville area.
Lawton R. Green ................................................. 116
[In the late 60's] the rate of [student] absenteeism was less
than in recent years.
Robert M. Sanford ............................................... 120
I had gotten the word that we were going to be under
John W. Lewis, m ................................................ 122
FJC instilled in me fighting, can-do spirit.
-Brenda R. Simmons ............................................. 126
Black studies are for all people.
Edgar C. Napier ................................................... 134
We were told to get "intimate" with the faculty.
Edna L. Saffy ...................................................... 139
I don't dance on the table I eat off of.
Jackson L. Spears ............................................... 143
If he hadn't hid the million dollars, we might have been in
an embarrassing situation.
Marilyn G. DeSimone ........................................... 147
The cast looked up into the girders during the "bird" scene
to find a dead chicken swinging above them.
Willie F. Carter .................................................... 151
Works in my blood. Im a workaholic.
E. John Saare ...................................................... 154
Vocational and adult non-credit programs are equal in im-
portance to the academic programs.
William Scott, Jr ............................................... 158
ABE was able to grow so fast because we had a lot of
Lois D. Gibson ....................................... 161
On an annual basis the FCCJ Health Services Program
serves about 450 students.
Jonah C. Eng ...................................................... 165
In 1968 FJC had an IBM Data Processing System with
16,000 memory positions.
Teresita B. Harr ....................................... .......... 168
He [the student] said, "Anything is better than Vietnam!"
Elizabeth B. Griffey ............................................. 172
We were all ripe for parties in those days.
Sharon S. Cleland ............................................. 176
That time at the San Diego Campus was a delightful, inno-
Claude (Jay) Smith .............................................. 180
When English 105 was in, Ifelt we were teaching garbage.
Mary B. Mizell ....................................... 184
My first office was located in what had been a bathroom.
Benjamin R. Wygal ............................................ 188
My number one goal was to provide access to individuals
so that they could pursue educational opportunity.
Harry Edward Fleming ......................................... 201
I was determined not to be a rubber stamp.
Fred C. Jackson, Jr ............................................ 205
The lesson I learned then was that you don't stonewall the
Oliver R. Finch .................................................... 209
In the North Campus parking lot there used to be a lover's
William David Burrows ....................................... 212
The microcomputer is perhaps the most important innova-
tion in the history of education.
Stephen R. Wise .................................................. 215
The College has received more than $60 million in federal,
state, and private grants.
Carroll R. Stegall ................................................. 220
One thrilling event happened while we were in the "termite
Charles G. Douglass ............................................. 222
Wejust flooded our supervisors with paper.
Linda Grant Barrs .................................. ......... 226
We placed 96 percent of our completing Job Corps students
in food service jobs.
James M. Cleland ................................................ 230
The [College] self study's like an inspection.
Daniel L. Schafer ................................................. 232
There has been a mix in terms of preparation and ability of
students coming to UNFfrom the junior colleges.
Virginia M. Hendricks .......................................... 234
We went all over teaching classes.
Johnny W. Bruce ................................................. 237
We brewed up a bunch of beer in the museum, and almost
every bottle exploded.
Ann H. Wright ..................................................... 240
Ted Canady was fantastic mechanic-the old shade tree
Robert L. Watson ................................................. 243
The data processing and salary schedules we created in
the 70's were considered a model
Helen S. Foy ....................................................... 247
One year this fellow got a two-cent raise.
Ezekiel W. Bryant ................................................ 252
FJC was thefirst community college in Florida to appoint a
black person as provost of a campus.
Richard E. Johnston ............................................ 258
Offshore Power Systems made the greatest contribution
toward shaping FCCJs future.
Joseph H. Sasser ................................................. 260
He named the orchid after me: Oncidium Sasseri.
Duane D. Dumbleton ........................................... 264
I blew the socks off the search committee.
,Rosanne R. Hartwell ........................................... 268
One major aim of the Women's Center has been to get
women comfortable on a college campus.
.William Howard Denson ..................................... 272
The only [FJC] faculty power then available [in the 70's]
was the union.
E. Guy Kerby ....................................................... 278
Ed Napier and I had "a council of war" about the VA prob-
Paul O. McCoy ..................................................... 282
This sailor [in the brig] said, "Damn it! Ill get my diploma
Donald E. Thompson ........................................... 286
Our students hugged the Russian students and they
Rudolph Murray .................................................. 290
You could argue that women make better welders than
Kermit C. Miller .................................................. 292
We came in over a million dollars under budget /building
the new Kent Campus].
Bobbie L. Murray ................................................. 297
[Our] plan for [the new Kent Campus] is so much like the
Janice L. Costley ................................................. 299
It has been said if you work for certain employers [like
FCCJ], you have it made.
Jeffrey G. Oliver ................................................... 301
Performance contracting is like McDonald's.
Joan A. Hill .......................................................... 304
Everywhere a student goes on campus should be a learn-
Harry V. Dellinger................................................ 308
fd bargain [with the Presidents Cabinet] like one does at a
Vivian N. Dellinger .............................................. 310
There are many good things to come out of FACC.
Mary Sue Koeppel ............................................... 313
Poetry from inside China comes hand-carried to Hong Kong
and then mailed to us at Kalliope. Imagine!
Minh Lien Nguyen .............................. ...... 317
To me life is just like water.
Donald D. Zell ..................................................... 321
The best hope for solving many of the problems of this
country is the community college.
Tommy Hazouri .................................................. 326
Ifelt the credibility of the College was at risk as a result of
the negative reports that were in the paper on an almost
Lee G. Henderson ................................................ 330
FJC was one of the greatest experiences of my life.
Debbie K. Millard ................................................. 333
The right ingredients in good students are those hidden
John R. Olson ..................................................... 337
Some academics have had an extremely sheltered life.
Karen-Jean Munoz .............................................. 339
The Foreign Language Program has been completely re-
vised and modernized.
Stanley H. Block ................................................. 343
People enrolled in the boat building courses work on their
own boats here [Geis Marine Center].
Frances W. Dize .................................................. 348
A better acronym for FCCJ would be "ACTLA: A Chance to
Joan Bearden and Thom Costa ............................ 350
One of[our] biggest fights was getting some release time for
Patricia B. Hawkins ............................................. 355
FCCJ was the only place for me: a mother, wife, and older
Elizabeth M. Cobb ............................................... 358
In this society black males hurt the most.
Benjamin Baker, Jr ............................................. 363
The Mentorship Program helped me find myself.
William P. Cushing ............................................... 366
Genuine controversy is something The Campus Voice has
never shied away from.
Milton A. Russos ................................... .... 370
We're able to attract the top [Broadway] shows.
Howard C. Roey .................................................. 373
We try to make baseball fun.
Larry H. Months ................................... .... 376
I coach anybody. If you come out [for track], Ill coach you.
Ben G. Edmonson........................................ 380
Business has too much say about what goes on at FCCJ
and many other institutions.
Julian Earl Farris ................................................ 383
The South Campus Palm Garden exists on many different
Luther B. Christofoli ............................................ 388
I think the campuses have personalities.
Jon P. Cosby ..................................................... 392
FCCJ is like a conglomerate. We're a company of compa-
Henry L. Moreland and Terry D. Hashey ................396
Phi Theta Kappa does a number of fund-raising projects
[for charity] (Terry).
Sheryl R. Williams ............................................... 399
We were the first community college in the state to organize
career employees into a unified group.
Henry M. Gagliardi .............................................. 403
We offer the community teeth cleaning, X-rays, flouride
treatment, and other services.
Patricia A. Ellis ................................................... 407
I still have to pinch myself to think this [ESL Program] is
James S. Norris ................................................... 411
I wrote the book Advertising from the local point of view.
Jeanne K. Jones .................................................. 416
Ifeel protective of the president.
Dennis P. Gallon .............................................. 421
I see CLAST as a snowball rolling down a hill
Carol S. Miner ................................................... 424
The Open Campus is a college without walls that has non-
traditional delivery systems.
Leo R. Degoursey ................................................ 428
I've learned sign language to communicate with them
[printing students who are deaf].
Hortense W. Gray ................................................ 432
We should all try to know students better.
Albert (Charley) Diedrich ...................................... 435
Nowadays if you don't have the paperwork, you don't do
Alexander Thomson ............................................. 437
All these [vocational] programs are designed to train people
to go out and earn a living.
William L. Sheppard .......................................... 440
The greatest need in law enforcement right now is the
educated police officer.
Christine M. Robinson ...................................... 443
I make my teaching a dramatization.
John H. Stuke ................................... ..... 447
I have a very high placement rate [of students in vocational
Nancy Vine ......................................................451
I love everybody because I live for Jesus's love.
Arthur (Buster) Harvey ......................................... 453
We believe in pressure basketball.
Betty P. Cook ...................................................... 456
Growth in Nassau County is going to mean more opportuni-
ties for FCCJ.
Nathan O. Desue and Jon S. Atkins .......................459
In a crisis situation I watch fellow's hands (Nate).
Jeanne and Morton Haas ..................................... 463
The great thing about FCCJ is there are no barriers
Leo E. Flynn ....................................................... 466
i Increasing technology is making the firefighter a lifelong
Paula B. Miller .......... ........................................... 469
We serve all kinds of students with disabilities.
Alton W. Yates ................................................... 472
The College has to begin reaching out to minorities in the
Deborah L. Starling ...................................... ....... 478
Every student should be required to take a computer lit-
Nicholas G. Belloit ............................................. 480
Males are more risk takers [in the Brain Bowl].
Feliche A. Mucciolo .............................................. 483
We're educating more and more people about crime preven-
Arthur Y. Chiang .................................................. 487
We can anticipate a fully computerized learning resources
center in the very near future.
Lyndal D. Worth .................................................. 490
The same thing that makes a great male [basketball] player
makes a great female player.
Charles C. Spence ............................................... 494
The presidents job is to lead a process of change.
Salvatore Aurigemma .......................................... 503
rm going to use everything Ive learned.
Clare C. Bailey .................................................... 506
Our Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
awards mini-grants to faculty.
H. Davis Collier ................................................... 509
I really enjoy being a trustee.
Richard S. Lynn .................................................. 512
High average stress could explain why the male is falling
Julia V. Ostashchenko ......................................... 515
Sometimes American students had distorted information
about my country [Russia].
Martin A. Siegel .................................................. 520
I was working on the idea of the FCCJ Urban Resource
Center before I was sentenced to it
Denise C. Doroba ................................................. 523
Working on this history has been like taking a history,
philosophy, humanities, and computer class all in one.
Epilogue ............................................................. 526
Abbreviations ........................ ... ........... 530
Notes .................................................................. 534
1963: May 29: Senator John E. (Jack) Mathews, Jr., and Represen-
tative Frederick H. Schultz introduce a bill in both houses
of the Florida Legislature calling for $30,000 to establish a
community college for Duval and Nassau Counties. Both
1965: Fred H. Kent, Sr., selected Chairman of the first Junior
College Advisory Committee for Duval and Nassau Coun-
The College is named Florida Junior College at Jackson-
ville (FJC) and placed under the control of the Duval County
Board of Public Instruction.
J. Bruce Wilson appointed FJC's first President.
1966: August 22: FJC begins serving students at two renovated,
temporary facilities: Southside Campus at South Jackson-
ville Elementary School on Flagler Street and Cumberland
Campus on Cumberland Road off Roosevelt Boulevard.
Initial enrollment: 2,610.
Experimental College created.
1967: FJC's early attempt at accreditation fails.
1968: Control of all community colleges in Florida transferred
from local school boards to boards oftrustees, appointed by
Fred Kent named Chairman of the FJC District Board of
Vocational and AdultEducation programs transferred from
the Duval County Board of Public Instruction to FJC.
Faculty Affairs Committee formed (later named the Faculty
Th Exp erience, the FJC student literary magazine, begins
May 3: first FJC Commencement held in Civic Auditorium.
1969: FJC receives full accreditation from the Southern Associa-
tion of Colleges and Schools.
San Diego Campus (on San Diego Road) opens as a tempo-
M.M. Woodley and others donate land for a permanent
campus in North Jacksonville.
George Hodges, Alexander Brest, and Franz Lindberg do-
nate land for a permanent campus in South Jacksonville.
Phi Theta Kappa (the student honor society) chartered.
Career Employees' Council formed.
1970: Dr. Wilson resigns.
Benjamin R. Wygal appointed President.
August 27: North Campus, FJC's first permanent campus,
opens on Capper Road Oliver R. Finch, Provost.
1971: Donald T. Martin selected as Chairman of the Board of
Central Adult High School and Stanton Vocational High
School consolidated as the FJC Central Adult Center for
adult high school programs (corner of Liberty and Church
Streets) Sevier P. Griffin, Center Director.
September 2: South Campus, the second permanent cam-
pus, opens on Beach Boulevard- Kermit C. Miller, Provost.
1972: FJC Foundation established.
Downtown Campus begins in temporary facilities at
940 Main Street.
Police Academy opens at South Campus.
Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) program initiated at South
1973: Administrative bid to implement Learner Performance Ob-
jectives (LPO's) throughout entire curriculum fails.
1974: July 17: Dedication of the Job Entry Training (JET) Center
(corner of Main and State Streets).
Cumberland Campus renamed the Fred H. Kent Center -
Kermit C. Miller, Provost.
Black Awareness Association formed.
Women's Center opens.
Senior Adult Center opens.
1975: The City of Jacksonville donates land on State Street for a
permanent Downtown Campus.
Televised instruction begins.
FJC develops a computerized graduation assessment pro-
gram for students (first in Florida and one of the first in the
AFT Local 2397 (the FJC faculty union) loses election bid to
be the collective bargaining agent for the faculty.
1976: PACE program for Navy personnel initiated.
VA funding controversy which erupted in 1975 ends (1600
veterans dropped from rolls).
1977: August 15: NewDowntown Campus opens-EdgarC. Napier,
FJC begins major efforts to recruit and help disabled stu-
Kent Center renamed the Fred H. Kent Campus.
1978: Walter G. Jarrell appointed Chairman of the FJC District
Board of Trustees.
Kalliope: A Journal of Women's Art begins publication.
Hayes Consultants, Inc., completes evaluation of the Col-
lege (Hayes Report).
1979: New Kent Campus opens.
AFT Local 2397 loses second election on collective bargain-
ing by a small margin.
1981: Program for Academic Excellence begins.
1982: Opening of the College Administration Building on State
Opening of Engineering Building at 940 Main Street.
Instructional Network created.
1984: Duval County Legislative Delegation investigates alleged
Dr. Wygal resigns.
Lee G. Henderson becomes Interim President.
Nathan H. Wilson appointed Board Chairman.
Faculty Senate reorganized.
Gels Marine Center opens on Evergreen Avenue.
Instructional Network initiates "Celebrate TeachingWeek."
1985: Charles C. Spence appointed President.
Instructional Network organizes "Partnership in Learning
Conference" with local schools.
Joan A. Hill named South Campus Provost (the College's
first woman provost and later its first woman vice presi-
1986: College's name changed to Florida Community College at
FCCJ adopts a matrix management system which results in
the appointment of assistant deans of instruction and fac-
ulty- elected department chairs.
December17: The 500,000th student registers atthe College.
Electronic mail system (PROFS) introduced.
1987: New EA/EO plan adopted.
Program Assessment and Marketing strategy implemented.
1988: FCCJ Strategic Plan, 1988-93 adopted.
Alton W. Yates appointed Board Chairman (first black chair-
Open Campus achieves campus status Carol S. Miner,
Touchtone Registration system implemented.
Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
Black Student Success Office begins service.
1989: FCCJ designates February as Black History Month.
Creation of The Nathan H. Wilson Chair for Community
Leadership in Minority Affairs with a gift of $45,000 from
Betty P. Cook (a Board member) and her husband donate
land for an FCCJ center in Nassau County.
1990: Donald D. Zell becomes Board Chairman.
Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning hosts
National Conference on College Teaching and Learning.
Dedication of the H.D. Cotton Student Center at North
Institute of the South for Hospitality and the Culinary Arts
opens at North Campus.
Jacksonville Regional Fire/Rescue Training and Education
Center opens at South Campus.
Enrollment: 90,119 (projected figure for the 1990-91 aca-
1991: Center forthe Advancement of Teaching and Learning hosts
second National Conference on College Teaching and Learn-
First FCCJ history published.
Employees: 2,604 (as of March 1991).
(Not all major events for the 1990-91 academic year could be
listed here because of our publication deadline.)
Fred H. Kent, Sr., thefirst Chairman of the FJC District
Board of Trustees
FRED H. KENT, SR.
Mr. Kent has been prominent in Florida education for many years. In
1953 he became a member of the Board of Control of Florida Institutions of
Higher Learning. He chaired the Board of Control (1955-56) and the State
Junior College Board (1961-72). He also chaired the Florida Junior College
at Jacksonville Advisory Committee (1965-68) and the FJC District Board of
Trustees (1968-71). In 1977 the Cumberland Campus of FJC was renamed
the Fred H. Kent Campus in honor of Mr. Kent He is the senior partner of
Kent Ridge and Crawford, a large Jacksonville law firm, and the owner of
Kent Theaters of Jacksonville.
One reason I got interested in higher education in Florida was
because we had such an inadequate education program. It was set up
on an ideal basis, but it just wasn't working. The first board I was on
was the Board of Control of Florida Institutions of Higher Learning.
That was during Governor Fred Cone's administration. I had known
Fred Cone since I was a kid. In fact, I knew all the Cone family. They
lived in the White Springs area of Lake City; I used to hunt and fish
over there. My mother's sister married Fred Cone's cousin Jack. Then
later I worked in Fred's campaign for governor. He appointed me
attorney for the State Road Department, and after that he put me on
the board of control. So I had a political background in Tallahassee
before I got into the junior college situation. I had made a number of
contacts and acquaintances over there that were helpful later on in
getting things done and resolving conflicts.
The board of control had some very fine people on it. We became
interested in getting the system of higher education rolling in Florida.
The legislature first passed a bill appropriating $100,000 for our board
to study higher education in Florida and make a report. We employed
an outfit to do the study, and they recommended we consider a junior
college system. I carried the study to the legislature on behalf of our
board of control, and that's how I first got involved in junior colleges.
Then I got more and more involved in the matter. In fact, I got
deep into it, advocating this and advocating that. When the board of
control changed to the Florida Board of Regents and the separate
State Junior College Board was set up, Governor Bryant called me
and said, "I'm not going to reappoint you to the board of regents. You
recommended this junior college system, the legislature approved it,
and now I'm going to put it on your neck to make it work."
The major reason I wanted to get involved was that the educa-
tional situation in Duval County was terrible. At first, bringing a
junior college here was like taking an illegitimate child to a wedding
reception. The local schools were critically short on money. The high
schools got disaccredited in 1964.
The local school board didn't want the college because of the
money problem. Business people figured it meant more taxes for
them, so they didn't want it. Average citizens weren't for it. They
didn't even know what a community college was. Some school teach-
ers said we needed a college here. But they felt there wasn't going to
be enough money to pay them and the college professors too, so they
didn't want the college either.
But the board of control felt that a community college was what
Duval County needed more than anything else. There was so little in
the way of higher education here in Jacksonville. So we became
involved. I did. The Governor did. And the board of control did in
trying to get Duval County into the community-college system.
Now, Jack Mathews and Fred Schultz deserve most of the credit
for bringing a college here. They were two very spirited people. Jack
Mathews was President of the Florida Senate, Fred Schultz was
Speaker of the House, and both were from Duval County. Mathews
introduced the bill in the senate to establish FJC, and Fred got it
through the house.5
Also, several of us here in the Chamber of Commerce thought we
ought to have a college. So all of us who wanted it got together and
pushed the idea through here in Duval County. We did stick it down
some people's throats. But after they got the college, they loved it.
Then we had the problem of where to put the first permanent
campus. It seemed like everybody in town wanted to offer us free
property for that first campus. But there was a joker in it; they wanted
to benefit from the gift. For example, Alex Brest and George Hodges
wanted to give us property near Beach Boulevard. Mrs. Edna Wil-
liams offered a big, beautiful site over here on the westside, but it was
just a little too far out. The M.M. Woodley property on the northside
was made available to us by landowners out there. There were other
offers too. I can't recall them all. Yes, Franz Lindberg made an offer:
he wanted to give some acreage in the Beach Boulevard area.
Of course, there was the property right here on the Kent Campus,
which was called the Cumberland Campus then. Before it was a cam-
pus, the area was a Navy housing project. We eventually got
Cumberland from the Federal Government scot-free. But at first we
had a hard time getting the state to approve Cumberland as a perma-
nent site. It wasn't as big as they wanted.
This scramble to give us free property was like a battle. The
Northside Businessmen's Club headed up a coalition to plug for a
campus over there, and the Southside Chamber of Commerce led some
groups to get the campus on the southside. I remember a headline in
the paper about it: "It's North versus South with No March to the Sea."
I was Chairman of the FJC Advisory Committee then. We wanted
the first permanent campus on the westside. We could have had the
Williams property with a lake on it. But the state superintendent
wanted the Beach Boulevard site, and he made a trip over here and
politicked for it. I felt he was interfering in a local matter by dealing
with the local school board and bypassing us, the advisory committee.
I protested to the Governor about it and handed in my resignation.
But I agreed to stay on after I had an understanding with Governor
Burns and this fellow about it.
You had a meeting with Haydon Burns and the superintendent,
That's right. We all sat down and talked it over. Burns saw the
importance of our committee and what we were trying to do for Duval
Eventually we got all the property for all the campuses free. That
was like picking up several million dollars. The city gave us the down-
town site free because we agreed to build the Downtown Campus in a
run-down area. The city figured the campus would upgrade the area.
It certainly has.
The only land we paid for was a little piece out where North
Campus is. If we hadn't received all that land free, it would have cost
the taxpayers millions of dollars. I think this was a pretty unique
situation. Most all of the other community colleges I know of had to
pay a pretty penny for their land.
We found that we couldn't get any land out there in the southside
for a campus at first; it was just so expensive we couldn't get the land
we needed. Then George Hodges and Alex Brest and some others
gave us that site out there. When all was said and done, it was a great
offer. We never could have raised enough money to buy it; it was so
Hodges and Brest were partners. They were two of the wealthiest
people not only in Jacksonville but in Florida. They owned a lot of
land in South Jacksonville which they wanted to develop. In fact,
they still own a lot of property between Jacksonville and Jacksonville
Beach. And, of course, they wanted to raise property values in that
area and help it grow and get into the swing of being part of the city.
But they wanted to raise the educational level in Jacksonville too.
They really took pride in that part of town. And we taxpayers saved
millions of dollars from the land they gave us, free.
And the others who gave us land had that same pride too. They
saw these new campuses as a way to develop and enrich their areas,
as well as a good boost for their own land.6
Could you tell us something about your first involvement in the
FJC Board of Trustees?
It wasn't called that at first It was called the FJC Advisory Com-
mittee. Ish Brant, the local school superintendent, got in touch with
me and said, "Fred, we're going to have to get a junior college board
over here. Let's sit down and figure out what we ought to have." So Ish
and I sat down and did. I was also on the State Junior College Board
then. The first one we picked out for the local junior college board
was Don Martin because he worked for Seaboard Coastline Railroad,
and it owned the Times-Union (TU). We wanted good publicity so we
got Don.7 He was topflight and also an excellent public-relations man.
The next one we chose was Mrs. Page Haddock. She was big in
the PTA here and at the state level. She had good political sense and
was extremely efficient. Between her and Don Martin we had things
pretty well covered.
In effect, we picked an advisory committee member from each
part of town. There was Joe Cullen who had his office downtown but
lived on the southside. We also picked this preacher, Wilbur Herring,
who was soon replaced by Hoyt Broward. There were also three good
people from Nassau County on that first advisory committee: Hugh
Stone, Herbert Fishier and Bernard Jonann. That was early in 1965
when we started forming the committee.
We looked for people who were interested in education and had
political clout. The school board told us to just go ahead and pick the
people and submit the names to the board. We did, and these were
the names the school board nominated and approved.
Then in 1968 our advisory committee became the FJC Board of
Trustees. The state got control of community colleges then. That was
a good thing. I've always thought the community colleges ought to
have their own system. Another plus was the board of trustees had
more authority than the old advisory committee.
The advisory committee worked well, and later so did the board
of trustees. We knew that if you try to do everything on your agenda at
one official meeting without any spadework beforehand, you'd never
get through. So we'd get with the College president and have a series
of study meetings before the regular meetings. We'd have these prob-
lems come up first, and sometimes we'd meet two or three times a
By the time the regular meeting came around, we'd covered the
bases. We had things worked out. We knew who was going to win or
who was going to lose. If you study the records of those meetings,
you'll notice most of the things done were done unanimously. We
were pretty much in agreement on what to do. Nobody was trying to
get his name in the paper particularly. We gave people an opportunity
to be heard and comment on agenda items. If we saw where we were
about to make an error, we'd just put it off until the next meeting so
we could examine it some more. We often ducked public problems by
working things out day by day rather than in just one meeting. Our
goal was always to work as smoothly and efficiently as we possibly
The State Junior College Board was run pretty much the same
way. We'd go over there to Tallahassee ahead of time, study what's
coming up, and get the information we needed. By the time of the
meeting we'd know pretty well what we were going to do.
I learned one thing about this meeting business. It doesn't do you
any good to get into big arguments in public. You may get your picture
in the paper, but personal gratification is all you get. You don't make
We have a report that Joe Fordyce was the one who first came
up with the name Florida Junior College at Jacksonville. What's
your view on this?
I don't know if he was the first or not. We were thinking of some
uniform system for junior colleges all over the state. So we wanted
Florida in the name. Yet we also wanted to show that it was a college
in a particular area. That's how Jacksonville came into it.8
Later they took the Junior out of the name and put Community in
because a lot of people were shouting about the Junior. I don't see much
difference, frankly. But when you come right down to it, junior college
is a misnomer. I think community college is the proper name.
But getting back to Fordyce, he was very helpful to us in setting
up the College. So was Herbert Phillips, who was President of Lake
City Junior College and came over and worked with us. We used to
call Phillips Swede. Fordyce would come over from Gainesville quite
frequently and meet with us even took some of his vacation once to
help us. He'd advise us on how to operate and that sort of thing.
There were a lot of things Fordyce could tell us about the coordina-
tion of a junior college and a school board. He was an expert. He
wasn't being considered for president then.
The question of the College presidency was one we took up later.
There was some feeling at first that Ish Brant might want to be presi-
dent. Some local people favored Ish. But we tried to stay away from
the president thing until we could get the College set up the way it
ought to be. And in this respect Joe Fordyce was very helpful. Then
later we offered Joe the presidency. We had the feeling if we set up
the College along the lines Joe suggested that he might accept the job,
but he never did.
Joe didn't want to leave Gainesville. I think he had a setup going
over there the way he wanted it, so he took that junior college presi-
dency in Gainesville. The schools here in Jacksonville had such a
bad name that a lot of people were afraid of Jacksonville. I just don't
think Joe wanted to take the gamble and come here.
He was a wonderful candidate, though. He had ability, stature,
and personality. He was a fine looking person. He looked presiden-
tial. He spoke well. He could communicate smoothly and effectively.
We were very sorry he didn't accept the position.9
After that, Bruce Wilson took the job. Jacksonville was a step up
for him. Bruce was a pretty confident fellow, but he was stubborn. He
didn't seem to realize that he was working with some pretty experi-
enced businessmen and school board members. He made many mis-
takes which ultimately cost him his job. Frankly, College officials
decided they needed a smoother operating man as president here.
Then Ben Wygal took over as acting president. People were happy
with the way he was doing that job. We talked to a number of faculty
members and people who worked with Wygal, and they all seemed to
feel that they could work with him. He didn't act like a big shot.
There wasn't any jealousy about him getting the job. We'd had so
much bad publicity that we decided we better take somebody who
could work things out smoothly instead of trying to get a big name. So
we went with him for that reason. Don Martin was particularly fond
I think Ben was just tops as president. He stayed here fourteen
years; that's a long time for any president. He had the ability. He
could organize things well. He knew how to delegate authority.
And he was just a delightful person. I remember my wife and I
got off a plane in London one day just when he and his wife were
getting off another plane. They had all their gear with them; they
were going to hike up to Scotland. Later we saw them on another trip
when we were going in opposite directions. They were just the type of
people who got out and did things all the time. Whenever there was
anything to be done, Ben would go and do it in person, not just as
But there were some people sniping at him, some faculty mem-
bers particularly. There's always somebody in any organization who's
going to gun for the top man. There's pettiness and jealousy every-
where. Actually, if his job had been up to the board of trustees alone,
Ben could have stayed here as long as he wanted.
In fact, he came to see me when he was involved in all that con-
troversy. I told him that he was young and had a good reputation, and
if he wanted to stay on and fight it out, I thought he could win with the
board. I also told him if he felt he was too much at odds with some
people on the board, he ought to give serious consideration to getting
out without forcing the issue. His record was so good that he had
offers from other places. But I said if he chose to stay on, there'd be
somebody sniping at him, and if he wanted to avoid unpleasantness,
he might work out a deal with the board where he could resign grace-
fully and accept another job, and that's what he decided to do.
Now you've got Chuck Spence at the top. He's a good guy. I don't
know him as well as I knew Wygal because I haven't been on the
board with him. They're both your hands-on type of administrator.
Ben was a little more informal than Chuck is. Chuck is a Midwestern
type; Ben is a Texas type, a Southwestern United States type. Both of
them are very efficient.
The one problem Wygal had, that caused his downfall, was he
travelled so much that he just wasn't around enough. He wouldn't
deny that. He said he had things running the way they needed to be
run, and he was out doing things he was supposed to do to broaden
himself and become better educated. I certainly would have voted for
him to stay here.
Do you recall any humorous episodes at the College?
Well, we had a lady teacher who went on strike and camped out in
one of the classrooms at that old southside campus. She had her
suitcase in there. The newspapers made quite a show of it. She was
right good looking, particularly in her nightgown. It seemed she wanted
some privilege or other, but I don't really remember what her exact
gripe was. We sat down and negotiated with her and got things settled.
Someone told her if she kept it up, there'd be a warrant sworn out to
get her out of the building. I'm not sure that the warrant idea both-
ered her much. I think she loved having her picture made and all the
publicity she got. Everybody in town thought it was a good laugh. 'o
What personal factors have accountedfor your success?
The ability to negotiate, to give and take, is one, I'd say. We had
to do plenty of that when I was Chairman of the Board of Control and
the University of Florida (UF) was segregated. The Florida Constitu-
tion said you couldn't admit blacks. We on the board were sworn to
uphold the Constitution, but we had a conflict with a bunch of profes-
sors at Florida who wanted immediate desegregation. Those who
wanted segregation applauded us. But they really didn't understand
what we were trying to do. Ironically, we were negotiating, trying our
best to work out some legal way to get blacks into the universities. We
got a lot of bad publicity, and the matter ended up in the courts. When
the courts handed down their decision, we reached a reasonable
agreement, and the matter was settled.
Another reason why I think I've been successful is reading. I
read so much when I was little. I was raised on a farm during the
summer months. In the winter I lived in town. I was an only child. My
father was born in England, and my grandfather gave me a set of
Shakespeare, actually in leather-bound volumes. I kept them for many
years and later gave the set to one of my sons, John Kent.
When I was a boy out in the country, particularly in the summer, I
didn't have much to do, so I read all the Shakespeare volumes and
criticisms on them. In those days I would either hunt, fish or read.
Before I finished high school, I'd read all of Shakespeare. In high
school I entered a lot of declamation contests. Usually I'd pick some-
thing from Shakespeare and have good success with it. I still read
I like most English writers. G.A. Henty is a favorite of mine be-
cause he develops stories around characters who are sort of like
Horatio Alger. I especially enjoy stories that deal with historical
events. That kind of reading is a good way to learn history. Reading
has helped me a lot in law. I still read more than I do anything else
for recreation. I get a better feeling out of it.
Another factor is the ability to work within an organization. I
learned pretty early to respect whatever organization I was in and the
parts people play in it. As a councilman, I learned how the city oper-
ated. I had already become accustomed to working within the system
when I entered the Navy. That's all the Navy is, one big system. They
put you on a ship or in a training center and teach you to do your job
within the system. You don't have one man completely running a ship.
There are all kinds of people backing up your CO. So if he's shot, as
ours was on the carrier Ticonderoga, the executive officer and his
assistants take over as a group. In other words, you've got two com-
plete organizations running everything. So you respect that and you
learn to work with it, just as you learn to work with your various
educational boards, with their chairmen, vice-chairmen, and others.
In your long career what are you most proud of?
I'm happy with the sum total of it. I don't like to sit down and try
to pick out one. When I was Chairman of the Jacksonville Council
Budget Committee, we got city taxes reduced from thirty-one mills to
fourteen mills. And I'm proud of the fact that we never did have any
racial problems in any way in the community college system, and the
one that we had at the University of Florida we were able to resolve
without any great problem. 1
But I think, really, the one thing I'm most proud of is the creation
of our state community-college system. It's a great thing for the com-
munities. It's brought all kinds of educational opportunity to an area
that desperately needed it, and I'm very proud of that. I'm happy to
have been associated with various branches of education throughout
this state. But, most important, I'm especially pleased to see the com-
munity colleges grow to where today they have such an important part
in education all over Florida.
Frederick H. Schutz, o-sponsor of the bill that estab-
lished FJC in 1963
FREDERICK H. SCHULTZ
Mr. Schultz's many achievements include the Bronze Star for Army
service in Korea; Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives (1969-70),
where he inaugurated a new legislative process; the Louis Brownlow Prize
for the best published writing in state government (1969); the Distinguished
Service Award from the Florida Bankers Association (1982); and Chairman
of the Florida Institute of Education (1983-87). He is the only Floridian ever
to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Vice
Chairman, 1979-82). During his first year in the Florida Legislature (1963),
Mr. Schultz co-sponsored the bill that created FJC.
We were desperate for a public institution of higher learning to
better serve the needs of the citizens of Duval and Nassau Counties.
Much thought went into the formation of UNF and FJC. Senator Jack
Mathews was Chairman of the Duval County Legislative Delegation,
and I had established some standing in the house, particularly in the
area of education; so Jack and I talked a good deal about these issues.
Jack drafted the bill to create UNF, and I introduced it in the house.
But it was much more difficult to get FJC established through the
One reason for this difficulty was the formula the state used to
create community colleges. The formula said that to form a commu-
nity college, you had to have a letter from your school board indicat-
ing that they would give the necessary financial assistance. At that
time, the local school districts provided a certain amount of funds for
the community colleges. Well, we were having a very difficult time in
Duval County with our school system. One of the reasons I decided to
run for the legislature was the serious problems we were having with
Now, several things had taken place. We'd had the so-called
Schuler case, the court case on property valuation. And I had been
one of the co-sponsors of a bill in the '63 session which called for fair
evaluation of real property. At that time, the real property in Duval
County was being valued at considerably less than 50 percent of its
true market value. And relative to other counties in the state, Duval
County had a lot of school children and not very much taxable real
property. The fact that we didn't have the real property to tax in
relation to the large number of school children and the fact that prop-
erty here was assessed at way below market value meant that our
schools were starved for money. The combination of the Schuler case,
which held that property needed to be more reasonably valued, and
the bill that we passed in the legislature calling for a new formula for
property evaluation meant that Duval County was going to get more
money for its schools, but we didn't have the money yet.
In the meantime, Jack Mathews and I talked a lot about the prob-
lem and how we could get around it. I said, "Jack, I think we just ought
to get a bill introduced and then do what we can to get it passed
despite the fact that no community college in the state had ever been
created without this letter of financial support from the local school
board." The Duval school board wouldn't give it to us because they
said, "We need every dime we can lay our hands on to support K
through 12." And Jack said to me, "Look, if you can get it through the
house, I can probably get it through the senate because it will be a lot
easier to get it through committee in the senate if you've gotten it
through the House."
So I drew up the bill and introduced it in the house, and Jack
introduced a companion bill in the senate. By going with companion
bills instead of just one house bill or one senate bill, we speeded up
the legislative process tremendously.
Now, when my bill went to committee, they told me, "We can't
pass this bill because you haven't gotten the letter from your school
board." I said, "Well, look, let me explain what's going on in Duval
County. We are going to get our money; everything is on track to get
the financial support, but I can't get the letter from the school board
until the money is in hand. We can't wait another two years to get a
community college in Jacksonville." Remember, this was the time
when the legislature only met every two years. So after much talking
to the committee and much lobbying on my part, the committee finally
agreed to pass the bill out of committee. Then I had to go through the
process of getting it on the calendar and bringing it to the floor of the
At this time, I was beginning my attempt to win the speakership of
the house; so I was spending a lot of time with legislators and had
developed a good many supporters. By the time the bill came to the
floor, I had talked to every single member of the house, and I had the
full support of the Duval Delegation. I'll never forget when the bill
came to the floor. I was standing up defending it, and one fellow from
another county, who was a stickler for things, stood up and said, "Rep-
resentative Schultz, does this bill meet the requirements for the cre-
ation of a junior college?" I forget his name, but I said, "Mr. So-and-
So, I can assure you that Duval County needs a community college
more than any other county in the state of Florida. We're desperate
for this institution, and, on the basis of need, no community college is
more necessary." And that's the only time in my entire period in the
legislature that I didn't try to directly and fully answer a question that
was asked me in the Florida House.
At any rate, we got the bill passed out of the house and got it over
to the senate. Then Jack could say, "Well, they checked this out in the
house and everything's okay." And he just slipped it right through the
senate. So that's how we got it done. Then in the next session of the
legislature, two years later, we got the funding for the college. I be-
lieve FCCJ's the only community college that's ever been created in
this state without the formal notice of support from the school board.
It's quite clear that FCCJ has been a very successful institution.
The College has been successful beyond my expectations when I in-
troduced the bill. The business community, I think, understands the
importance of the College, is glad to have it, and feels that it's basi-
cally fulfilling a major need here.
Of course, any institution can be improved. I don't think there's
any question that FCCJ has a number of areas that it can improve. Up
to now it's basically been trying to deal with enormous growth. But
FCCJ has not developed a reputation for innovation that other col-
leges like Miami-Dade and Valencia have. Of course, Miami-Dade is
older and larger, and they've received very strong community sup-
port. I hear that Valencia is doing some very innovative things in
working with businesses in their area. So I think there's more for
FCCJ to do.
It seems to me that FCCJ might try to have a higher profile in the
community. I think that it is very important that the officers, adminis-
trators, and faculty of the institution try to be a bit more visible in the
community. A community college should not only serve the commu-
nity but be very active in the community. I know you're doing a lot of
things at FCCJ, but I don't see quite as much evidence of it.
Now, I think one reason for that might be that our newspaper
doesn't do a very good job of local reporting and of accepting their
responsibility for leadership in the community. I'm on this new busi-
ness board that the Times-Union has created, and I'm going be very
actively pushing for better reporting and responsibility by the news-
paper. But I think it's a two-way street.
I think that community colleges are not only vital to a particular
group of people in the community, but they're vital as a link between
K through 12 and the universities. And there are a lot of very innova-
tive things that can be done to further that linkage. Also, I would
hope that there would be a closer working relationship between UNF
Although there have been a few rough spots, FCCJ has grown and
prospered. I think it's meeting the needs of the community very well.
HOUSE BILL NO. 1817
AN ACT relating to education; authorizing establishment of junior
colleges in Duval County; making an appropriation for ex-
penses involved in organizing said junior colleges; providing
an effective date.
Be it Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
Section 1. Authorization is hereby given for the establishment of
junior colleges to be located in Duval County in accordance with pro-
visions of section 230.46, Florida Statutes.
Section 2. There is hereby appropriated the amount of thirty thou-
sand dollars ($30,000.00) to the board of public instruction of Duval
County to defray expenses incurred in organizing said junior college
and/or colleges. Upon certification by the state superintendent of
public instruction to the comptroller of the creation of a junior col-
lege, in said county, the comptroller shall draw his warrant in the
amount of thirty thousand dollars ($30,000.00) on the general revenue
fund payable to the board of public instruction of Duval County. Upon
receipt of such warrant said board of public instruction shall create
and deposit said warrant in a junior college fund to be expended for
expenses incurred in organizing said junior college and/or colleges.
Section 3. It is declared to be the legislative intent that, if any
section, subsection, sentence, clause, or provisions of this act is held
invalid, the remainder of the act shall not be affected.
Section 4. This act shall take effect July 1, 1963.
Became a law without the Governor's approval.
Filed in Office Secretary of State June 13, 1963.
ISH W. BRANT
Ish was Superintendent of the Duval County Board of Public Instruction
when it governed the College (1965-68). In 1969 he joined FJC as Director of
Athletics and Physical Education. During his fwe years at the College, he
also taught education at South Campus. He is now Mayor of Neptune
I've always been a strong advocate of a junior college and what it
can do for the people it serves, even before I came to this county and
became superintendent. In 1960 we passed a $35,000,000 school bond
issue in Duval County. Up to that time it was the largest school bond
issue ever in the Southeast, and we began to have facilities to do what
we needed in grades K through 12. Then I began to talk to the school
board about getting a college here.
But I met resistance to the college idea. Some people thought it
was going to be too much a tax burden; they didn't want to see our
public schools lose any revenue because of a junior college. Well, I
explained to them that the college wasn't going to affect their tax
base, but it would certainly affect the educational values and goals in
this community and the young men and young women who would go to
the junior college. Frankly, I talked with several people who said they
had never even dreamed that we were the largest city and county in
Florida and many other places that did not have a public institution
of higher learning.
One reason for the delay in establishing FJC was that the state
wouldn't give us enough money to start a college here. Also, I'm sure
that if we'd had somebody that we could have named as president a
couple of years before we got around to naming one, that would've
helped us get started that much sooner with the college.
Speaking of money, that was certainly a factor in the
disaccreditation of the senior high schools in Duval County in 1964.
Back then the Southern Association (SACS) accredited only senior
high schools and colleges, not elementary and junior high schools.
Now, the thing that was most disturbing to me was that SACS didn't
follow their own rules of accreditation with us. The usual procedure
was for SACS to accredit or disaccredit a school on an individual
basis. But with us they just took all our senior high schools and
disaccredited them at one fell swoop.
The Duval schools generally were in better shape than they had
ever been. We had reduced the pupil/teacher ratio. We had a big
building program, and our schools had fewer people on double ses-
sions. During my superintendence we put a library service in every
county school. Yet SACS comes along and takes Raines High School,
which was brand new and hadn't opened yet, and throws it into the
disaccreditation pile. Fletcher Senior High School had moved from
one building to another and hadn't been in the new building but three
months when it was disaccredited.
Now, I'm going to tell you something that I've never said before,
and I'd be glad to get it in print. I was told by a SACS official that if
the local property appraiser, who was called tax assessor then, would
have assured the SACS accreditation committee that income from ad
valorem taxes would be raised 5 percent, we would not have been
disaccredited. Of course, the tax assessor couldn't have done it be-
cause we were in the middle of the fiscal year. This same SACS official
also told me that another reason why we were disaccredited was be-
cause two prominent public officials in town made statements to the
press that were repugnant to the nostrils of the the accreditation
committee, not to mention their intellect. One of the statements was
that this whole accreditation thing was just a "hoax." The other state-
ment was, "Don't worry about that disaccreditation committee in Lou-
isville, Kentucky! We'll send Senator Mathews up there, and he'll take
care of them."
Anyway, the junior college didn't come along until almost two
years later, so I don't think disaccreditation impacted adversely on
FJC. When the College was under the local school board in the early
days, some people spoke of it as the thirteenth and fourteenth grades.
This infuriated me to some degree. I told these people and others that
when our students finish their high school and junior college here,
they should be prepared to enter any institution of higher learning
anywhere in the United States like Notre Dame, Georgia Tech,
Harvard, Yale, the University of Florida or FSU.
This university-parallel function of the junior college was one of
the selling points I made to get the junior colleges in a position to
better perform their educational functions. I remember at a meeting
of the County Superintendents Association in Gainesville I brought
up the idea of divorcing the junior colleges and the school boards. We
approved the idea and took it to the State Department of Education
where it was approved in July 1968. In a way, I was a little jealous of
giving it up. But, of course, I was so anxious to see the junior college
succeed, and I knew that it would succeed best by having its own
What was your involvement in the Fordyce situation?
Joe Fordyce was the first to be offered the presidency of FJC but
didn't take it. In 1965 he was recommended by the Duval-Nassau Jun-
ior College Advisory Board as it was called then. I remember the
advisory board meeting where the Fordyce matter came up. Jake
Godbold was president of the local Jaycees, and he was at that meeting.
That was a hot meeting. Some people wanted to jump on me because I
wouldn't just jump on the bandwagon and endorse the Fordyce nomi-
nation on the spot.
Prior to that meeting I'd never had a discussion with Fordyce
about his educational ideas, goals, and beliefs, and I told the board
so. I also told the board, "I want to know something about where the
man's [Fordyce]going to go with this school and how long it's going to
take him to get where he says he wants to go." I said when the advisory
board puts the Fordyce nomination in writing and sends it to me, I'll
be glad to consider it, but I don't approve any recommendation unless
I have it in writing.
After this meeting I did talk to Fordyce about the job. However,
he would not say he wanted to come here. He was a good-looking man
and good with the PR. He could throw that Harvard lingo around, and
that's what attracted many people to him. He wanted more money,
but I told him $18,000 was all we're offering; there's no more money in
the pot. He never would say he wouldn't come for that amount. I told
him a person ought to stay at least five years as president, but he said,
"I can't guarantee that." He said if he became president, he wanted to
put on an all-out nationwide search for an architect to design the
permanent campus buildings. I told him he might as well forget that
idea. I said, "Look, we got plenty of architects in Jacksonville that can
do this job, and they'll do it a lot cheaper. And we know where they
are, and they know what we need."
We have a report that Fordyce gave the College the name Florida
Junior College at Jacksonville.
I know he didn't come up with that name. I couldn't say exactly
who gave it the name, but I know Fordyce didn't. What Fordyce wanted
all along was the presidency of the junior college in Gainesville. His
wife was in business in Gainesville, and it was sort of logical for them
to want to be there.
I remember when he was withdrawing his name from the FJC
presidency, we were on the fifth floor of the courthouse. Joe said he
hated to walk outside the door because the news media was out there
waiting on him. Finally he said, "I guess I just have to go face the
music because they're not going to leave until I leave." I said, "You're
I also remember we got that old Cumberland Campus as a result
of Governor Haydon Burns tipping me off to it just a few days before
he became Governor. He told me the State Road Department already
had part of that Cumberland area. I said, "Haydon, we need the whole
thing." He said, "You can't get it. You still want what's available?" I
said, "Yeah, we'll take anything we can get." There were other people
trying to sell me on the idea of buying the downtown property where
the Downtown Campus is now.
I favored putting a permanent campus over there on Beach Bou-
levard where South Campus is now because that property met all the
site criteria for a campus. There was considerable discussion going
on as to where to put the permanent buildings, etc. Some of our school
board members were interested in various sites that didn't meet state
specifications. So I told them, "You all get your butts in my automo-
bile, and we'll go over there to Tallahassee and see Floyd Christian."
Floyd was State Superintendent of Education then. They said, "All
right, you get the date and we'll go!" Gene Stokes was one of those
board members then. He's a good old boy used to have a grocery
store out in White House.
The next thing I did was get Floyd on the phone. We talked and
laughed a little bit. He said, "Come on over here tomorrow if you want
to. No, wait a minute, I'm getting my teeth fixed; forget that!" I said,
"You ole hoss you, what you doin' with your teeth?" (Laughs) He laughed
and said, "I'm getting 'em all capped." So we skipped the next day and
went the following day.
When we got over there, Floyd listened to the presentation of
what the board members considered new information. Then he said,
"You all know that Ish and I have been friends a long time, and we're
going to stay friends. And I've been a friend of you all, and we're
going to stay friends. But if you don't have anything more to tell me
than what you've told me up till now, I don't want to hear it. This is
the fourth time I've heard what you're saying. I sent my best man at
site selection, Dr. Lyle Johns from the University of Florida I sent
him over there twice to look at these Jacksonville sites. He recom-
mended Beach Boulevard for that campus, and I'm taking his recom-
mendation." That settled the matter.
Then Gene Stokes said, "This reminds me of the company that was
taking out insurance on all their employees. The company president
said everybody had to sign the insurance papers. One man said he
couldn't sign because he couldn't read the fine print. The president
told the man, 'What this fine print says is if you don't sign this paper,
you're fired.' And the fellow said, 'Boss man, where do I sign?' So I'm
like that worker, Mr. Superintendent. This is the first time the fine
print's been explained to me." (Laughs)
What stands out in your mind when you worked for FJC?
One time at North Campus there was a big meeting of the Board
of Trustees, and there was this fellow just out of college with a doctor's
degree talking about a consortium. Fred Kent always liked for me to
attend those board meetings, and he'd sometimes use me for input.
Well, this fellow went on and on about this consortium, and he was so
nervous with this big high-powered lawyer in front of him, and the
state president of the PTA was one of the board members. Fred wanted
the fellow to sit down without saying sit down and shut up, and every-
body else felt the same way. So Fred turned to me and said, "Ish, he's
talking about this 'consortium.' That's a great big federal term that's
way over my head. Could you explain that to us?"
I said, "I'll do my best, Mr. Kent; I sure will. You take a big group
of people who don't want to do anything, and you get them over here
together. They're the ones who are against something. Then you offset
them with another bunch over there who you think are going to be for
this thing. Then you bring the two groups together to mediate the
thing. But when you get right down to it, you got two groups: one is
composed of those who are unwilling, and the other's composed of
those who are incapable."
Fred said, "That's the best definition I ever heard of the way the
U.S. Government works. We've had enough of this for today. The
I experienced some of the most enjoyable days of my life at FJC,
particularly when I was teaching at South Campus. If I have any re-
grets in my educational career, it's that I didn't accept the opportu-
nity to be President of Florida Junior College. About two or three
months before Bruce Wilson was selected, I was approached about
the job. The message I got was, "If you want it, you can probably get
it." But I decided to stay where I was because I figured I could do
more for the College as superintendent.
(Ish's mayoral term ended in November 1989).
Marty served as a member of the Duval County Board of Public Instruc-
tion for over fourteen years. He joined FJC in 1969 as Director of Physical
Plant. He has held various positions in facilities management at the College,
among them Executive Director of Field Services, Director of College Support
Management, and Director of Physical Plant and Security. As a school board
member, Marty was involved in the creation of the College.
When I was a school board member in the 50's and early 60's,
Duval County had a strong base of support for a community college,
but it also had strong opposition to a college. Strangely enough, some
of our strongest opponents were really some of our best friends in the
community. For example, many perceived that a community college
would be in direct competition with Jacksonville University (JU), which
was in the process of going from a junior college to a four-year institu-
I remember meeting with Mr. Swisher who was Chairman of the
JU Board. The JU Board was concerned that with a community col-
lege, this area would have too many struggling colleges trying to draw
from the same people.
The first time I got directly involved in the community college
situation was in 1955 when the chairman of the local school board was
Louis Sheffield. Sheffield and Iva Sprinkle, the local school superin-
tendent, and I went over to Tallahassee and met with Tom Bailey, who
was the State Superintendent of Education at that time. Today that
position is called Commissioner of Education. We wanted to explore
the feasibility of getting a junior college or something beyond high
school for Duval County. We decided in that meeting to initiate a
study to see if Duval County could support a college.
When we came back from that meeting, Mrs. Sprinkle assigned
Dr. Cyrus Anderson to conduct the feasibility study. Anderson was
Director of Education for the school system. I recall the study con-
tained a funding plan which the school board didn't approve. One
reason for this is that money was hard to come by in those days. Then
Sprinkle was defeated in an election, and Sheffield died in office.
By 1956 Ish Brant was superintendent, and we had some new
board members. There was a lack of reasonable funding for grades
one through twelve. Brant and the school board felt and I certainly
can't take issue with this that a local community college would
have to take a lower priority.
At the time the state Minimum Foundation Program required that
each county in Florida come up with three mills of their tax base if
they wanted a community college. Back then Duval County only got
nine mills for education, and a third of that had to go for a community
college. It was called "the three-mill effort." It amounted at the time to
around $350,000 to $400,000. But we felt that we just didn't have enough
money to go with a college.
By the early 60's, however, there was more and more interest
being expressed throughout the state in community colleges. More
and more committees were set up for the purpose of increasing the
number of community colleges. One was the Executive Committee of
the State School Board Association. This committee worked primarily
with Jim Wattenbarger on a plan for increasing the number of com-
munity colleges. Wattenbarger was then the state Director of the Divi-
sion of Community and Junior Colleges.
Then we on the Duval school board began working with members
of the Duval Legislative Delegation. We wanted to see if the state
could do something to carry a large part of the financial load for a
college here. Of course, the problem the delegation had when they got
to the legislature was that it took a majority vote of all the legislators
to approve financing for a college. Most of the legislators weren't
really interested in doing something that was going to provide what
they called "a turkey for Duval County" without getting something
Two people deserve great credit for getting Duval County a col-
lege. They were Jack Mathews, the President of the State Senate, and
the Speaker of the House, Fred Schultz both from Duval County.
They were the ones who spearheaded the community-college move-
ment not only in Duval County but throughout the state. Without them,
the community-college program as we know it today would have been
delayed for a number of years.
After the legislature had approved the organization of the local
college and agreed to give the school board $30,000 as planning funds,
we had to appoint a junior college advisory committee. Each of us
school board members nominated a member for this advisory commit-
tee. In fact, I nominated Fred Kent. With Fred's experience on the
State Junior College Board, he was being considered for chairman of
the local advisory committee.
Now, we had a problem because Nassau County and I got friends
over there and I'm not being critical of them they realized they
were going to have to make this three-mill effort too. They weren't
sure about the number of students they'd have coming to a college in
Duval County. They began to drag their feet about committing their
tax money. The trouble was we were approaching the deadline for the
resolution on the College which had to be drawn up and sent to Talla-
hassee. In February 1964, Duval County's position was that the college
will be funded, and we'll have a college with or without Nassau or
anybody else. After that, Nassau County agreed to go along with the
Then the question arose of what we were going to call the institu-
tion. The name Florida Junior College at Jacksonville came about to
eliminate the identity with either Duval or Nassau. I think the name
was originally recommended by Fred Kent.
Did Mr. Kent originally create the name?
Possibly. When he was talking with the school board, a number of
names were considered. Northeast Florida Junior College came up.
Somebody said First Coast Junior College, and there were other names
proposed. Then we considered Florida Junior College, but we ran
into a problem because of the university system. We looked like we
were riding on the University of Florida. I'm pretty sure Fred was the
one who added "at Jacksonville" to the name Florida Junior College.
The next thing to come up was the selection of a president. Of
course, we were in close contact with the advisory committee. We
knew they had made a good search and exerted a lot of effort to get
some outstanding people. The committee's first recommendation was
Joe Fordyce. At a board meeting I brought up the recommendation,
and I moved that Fordyce be offered the job at a salary of $18,000.
That was in 1965. My motion was seconded.
Then in the discussion that followed we had a problem and I'm
not criticizing Ish Brant. As superintendent, Ish was making $16,000,
and we were about to pay the president $18,000. Ish stated that as far
as he was concerned the college president was going to be like one of
the high school principals, no more, no less. Ish recommended that
the salary for the president be limited to $16,000. He did not specifi-
cally recommend Fordyce. Ish's objection and rightly so was that
"You're going to pay one of my subordinates more money than you're
paying me." I said, "Fordyce won't take the job for $16,000."
Then the discussion started drifting to the idea of maybe we should
look and see if the superintendent ought to be making more. I could
see us getting away from the College; if we didn't watch it, we were
going to revamp the whole budget. I said again, "He will not accept it
for $16,000." So then the action was that the board would wait to see if
Fordyce would take the job for sixteen. OK, when the press covers it,
naturally it upsets Fordyce, and he calls Fred Kent and tells him,
"Forget it! I don't want it. I won't be there."
So Fordyce was never employed. He was recommended by the
advisory committee, and the motion was made and seconded with no
action on it pending the advisory committee determining if he would
take the sixteen. I don't think he even got to the point of making the
decision because of the action and the statements by board members.
Was there any verbal commitment made to Fordyce?
There couldn't have been any verbal commitment. The advisory
committee said they'd recommend him, and, of course, his chances
were excellent. Now, I believe it was at that same meeting that we
recommended to the legislature that the superintendent's salary be
raised to $18,700.
One or two months after that you've got people in the community
trying to decide what to do. There was the feeling of some board
members that Brant should be the College president. Other people
had individuals in the school system that they wanted as president. I
remember one coach and one high school principal there was some
support for them.
Then when Bruce Wilson was recommended for the job, I was the
only board member that voted against him. He had a good record. But
I was concerned that there may have been some agreement that could
have resulted in some commitment for employment of others in the
school system. There was a feeling by some board members that they
would like to have Ish Brant as president, even to the point of turning
down two nominees and then having Ish as the third nominee and
appointing him. There were rumors to this effect, but it did not go
beyond the talking stage.
So I voted against Wilson because I thought he was being used
until some later date when somebody else would be put in the posi-
tion. However, it wasn't long until some board members started criti-
cizing almost every move Wilson made; then I was convinced that the
attitude he was just saving the place for somebody else was not factual,
and I became one of his strongest supporters.
Wilson's first office was at 605 Ocean Street. Then he had an of-
fice in the Atlantic Coastline Building on Water Street.
Now, let's talk about where we put the first permanent campus.
Every area in town was vying to get the site for that campus. We got an
offer of free property from a number of people, each one stipulating
that we build the campus on his particular site.
I was the first one to make contact with Franz Lindberg who owned
property on the southside. He was the developer of the houses just
east of where the College is now. We were friends. He was president
of the Beach Lions Club when I was president of the Downtown Jack-
sonville Lions Club. He had houses out there he couldn't sell. I said,
"Franz, I got a way you can sell your houses." He said, "What's that?" I
said, "Give the College space to build a campus, and then because of
the proximity of your houses, they'll move." He said, "Aw, you got to be
kidding! You mean give it to ya?" I said, "That's right! Give it to me!
You get a tax write-off." He said, "Nothing doing!" So he called us back
in about two weeks and said, "Tell me some more about...uh, what do
you have to offer?" I thought we were going to end up paying some-
thing for Lindberg's property, but we got it free, about 160 acres. And
I was the first to sell him on the idea.
At the same time, then, I go out and talk to some boyhood friends
of mine on the northside Elwood Geiger and Charles Johnson -
and ask if they can give us a place for the College. Geiger and Johnson
went to M.M. Woodley, who owned some property there too, and the
three of them came together and said, "We will give you some land."
So the school board goes to the state and we ask them, "We know
it's never been done, but can we build two campuses at one time?" Of
course they said, "No." This campus thing rocked along for a long time
before any ground was broken. The Governor, Haydon Burns, got in
on the thing, and he favored the southside for the first site, whereas
the school board favored the northside. The bottom line was the Gov-
ernor ultimately approved the thing, so we had a problem.
Then M.C. Harden, a board member, and I went to Atlanta to the
office of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW) to see if we could get
federal funding for the northside site as a vocational-technical facility.
We came back and spent weeks on this idea. Finally HEW agreed to
give us federal funding for North Campus. So that's how we were able
to build North Campus and South Campus at the same time. North
was the first one to open.
I've enjoyed most all my assignments with the College. I remem-
ber one time we had a hair-raiser at the old Cumberland Campus.
This young male came into John Farmer's office in student develop-
ment and said he wanted to see a certain instructor. He said she (the
instructor) had ruined his life and he was going to kill her. The people
in student development then made a hurried exit.
That's when I got called in on it. I found this man sitting outside
at one of the round concrete tables. I asked him if I could help him,
and he said, "I'm going to burn this place down." I said, "What's your
problem?" He couldn't pronounce the instructor's name. His speech
was slurred somewhat. The instructor he thought was the one turned
out later not to be one. Then Tiny Branch walked up. I told the man
that this is Mr. H.V. Branch, Chief of Security. Branch and I told the
man that unless he had business for the College, he needed to leave.
The man said he had business, and he starts in with us how this
instructor has destroyed his thinking and taught him to rely on the
work of Satan. He said he'd been in trouble and had all these prob-
I said, "Well, you've done all you can. You need to leave the cam-
pus." "I'm not gonna leave." "You'll have to leave." "Well, I'm not leav-
ing." Then Branch reached around and said, "I'll have to put you un-
der arrest." "You're not putting' me under arrest." "You may think I
won't." The guy was pulling away, and Branch grabbed for the guy's
belt. Branch just missed the belt and caught the guy in the rear pocket
of his khaki pants and tore the whole seat out of his pants, and the guy
Branch tried to stop the guy, but he could outrun both of us. He
certainly hadn't done anything we could shoot him for, so all we could
do was let him run. He had khaki pants with the bottom torn out. He
was carrying a Bible with no backing on it, just the pages, no cover.
He went underneath one of the culverts that go under the roadway out
there. I imagine we looked pretty silly, stooping down there looking
under the culverts. People passing by thought, "What in the world's
going on there at that College?" Anyway, the man was out of our juris-
diction now; all we could do was call the police.
The police put out an all-points bulletin on him, and pretty soon
two policemen spot him coming down the railroad track at Stockton
Street, north of Roosevelt Boulevard. When the police officers stop
him, he grabs a revolver from one of the officers and shoots and kills
the other officer. He turns to shoot the other officer, and they both
start struggling. A Pepsi Cola man is driving by, and he stops and
jumps out when he hears the police officer screaming for help. Then
all three of them go at it, and finally the police officer and the Pepsi
Cola man get the gun away from this guy and arrest him.
Some months later his trial was held in Orlando. A number of us
here at the College that had been involved in the case went to the
trial as witnesses. After my testimony, I left the courtroom and got on
the elevator on the seventh floor. I noticed these two men in there.
One's pretty big. I push the number one floor. One of them walks over
and pushes the stop button. Then he turns to me with his back to the
door and refers to the guy on trial, "You're pretty hard on him, aren't
you?" I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "Looks like you're out to
get him!" I said, "I just answered the questions they asked me. What's
your interest?" He said, "We're his brothers."
The back of the elevator was solid. I had one way out, and this big
guy's blocking the door. Finally, he released the stop button and the
elevator went on down. Somebody else had pushed the button for a
floor above one. I didn't wait for the first floor. When the elevator
stopped and opened, I took off and went down the stairwell. (Laughs)
Now, I remember about ten years ago when streaking was the fad.
Gil Schenkel was the Business Manager at North Campus then. Gil
enjoyed playing Sherlock Holmes. He got word from his "informant"
that there was going to be a streaker on campus the next morning at
ten o'clock. The streaker was going to get out of the car in the faculty
parking lot, and he was going to streak to the administrators' lot by
the bookstore. Then he would get in the car and drive off.
So Gil gets the television camera. He goes over and over with
security about how they're going to catch this streaker. Gil went over
the plan so much the security officer got a little irritated. Gil said,
"You know what to do?" The officer said, "Yeh, I know what to do."
Finally, Gil said again, "You understand what you're supposed to do?"
The officer said, "Yes, Mr. Schenkel, I do. But when I catch him, what
you want me to do, kiss him?" (Laughs)
Well, a few minutes before ten the next morning, they're out there
fumbling around with the equipment. All of a sudden, this guy runs
through, knocks the cord down, turns the camera over, and keeps on
going. Instead of running from the faculty lot to the administrators'
lot, the streaker ran the reverse. They didn't get the first picture. I
saw Gil not long ago, and we had another laugh about the streaker.
Donald T, Martin, Chairman of the FJC District Board of
DONALD T. MARTIN
After serving as a lieutenant colonel in the Army during World War II,
Mr Martin rose to prominence in the business community in North Florida.
In a career that spanned nearly four decades, he was Vice President of the
Seaboard Coastline Railroad, Chairman of the Board of Managers of the
Voyager Life Insurance Company, President of the Rotary Club of Jackson-
ville, Chairman of the Committee of 100 of the Jacksonville Chamber of
Commerce, and a member of the Board of the Florida Publishing Company.
From 1971 to 1978 he chaired the FJC District Board of Trustees. He is now
retired. In 1990 the College honored Mr. Martin by naming the Central
Administration Building The Donald T. Martin Center for College Services.
I was on the first FJC board, which was called an advisory board
back in 1965-66 before the College opened. One of our first jobs was to
recommend the first president of FJC. We recommended Joe Fordyce
for the job and sent the recommendation to Ish Brant, who was then
superintendent of the local school board.
Ish didn't want Fordyce, and I got my dander up. I went into Ish's
office and I told him, "Look, don't count me in on this advisory board
if you're going to turn down everything we propose. We've gone into
this Fordyce thing in depth. We know the man and we want him."
Then I left. Later, we got the thing squared away where we could offer
Fordyce the job, but unfortunately he declined.
It seems to me that Fred Kent was the one who originated the
name Florida Junior College at Jacksonville. I remember the name
was brought before the college advisory board and the school board,
and it passed unanimously.
Could you highlight some accomplishments during your
Creating the Downtown Campus was certainly one highlight. I re-
member I was strongly opposed to splitting the construction money
between the new Downtown Campus and the new Kent Campus. I felt
we should concentrate all our new building monies on the Downtown
Campus and set aside Kent for a later date.
Industry was moving into Jacksonville in the early 70's. Offshore
Power Systems had plans to bring 14,000 employees into this area, all
of whom would need skills that could be provided by the Downtown
Campus in the manner that I envisioned. I envisioned Downtown
Campus as a place that could provide job training and meet industry's
need for skilled workers. I'm proud to see that vision fulfilled today.
I also had the privilege of serving as board chairman when South
Campus and Kent Campus were completed. It was my idea to name
Kent Campus after Fred Kent because he had been involved in junior
colleges and higher education for many, many years, and if any per-
son can take credit for the conception of a junior college in Florida, it
would be Fred Kent.
What was your greatest challenge on the board?
That's a good question. It was quite a challenge coping with growth.
We not only had to get the necessary personnel to administer to great
increases in enrollment, but we also had to move forward with the
construction of facilities to enhance the teaching of the enrollment.
Our biggest challenge was finding the right people to lead and man-
age the College.
We selected Bruce Wilson because of his background at Brevard
Junior College. Wilson helped start FJC on its growth. As it turned
out, though, he was not the man that we felt could maintain the growth
and quality that the board was looking for. It fell to my lot to ask Dr.
Wilson for his resignation. That was before I became chairman.
Fortunately, at the time we had Ben Wygal in the administration. I
felt and the board felt that he was the man who could further the
progress and growth of the College. Dr. Wygal lived up to my expecta-
tions. He made some mistakes along the way. I disagreed with some of
his travelling, and toward the end of my tenure I felt that some of his
salary increases might have been too much. But if you look at the
growth pattern of the school, I don't think anybody can say that he did
a poor job. Overall Ben Wygal's performance was excellent. There are
some people who have come on the board in recent years who may
disagree with my evaluation of Wygal, but I stick to my estimate of
How would you compare newspaper coverage of the College by
the Florida Publishing Company when Seaboard Coastline had
controlling interest in the company with more recent coverage by
Florida Publishing under the ownership of Morris Communications?
I was on the newspaper board for twenty-two years and came off
the board when Florida Publishing was sold to Morris Communica-
tions. I think the paper has always been very fair in handling its
reporting of situations at the College, particularly with respect to Ben
As is the case with any situation of that kind, the newspaper is
going to pick out and blow up and decide what they think should be
best exploited, you know. But, overall, I cannot see where the paper's
been too unfair with that situation or any other situation at the Col-
The fact of the matter is that during Wygal's administration the
College experienced its greatest growth. And during my tenure on the
board of trustees we achieved quality education at FJC, and the Col-
lege is continuing to offer quality education. I remember we had a
number of studies done on the effectiveness of our graduates. By and
large, the studies showed that our graduates were able to enter the
next level of education and successfully compete there, and they were
trained to go into the work force and become good workers.
Of course, looking back, I can see some things that I would have
done differently, and, naturally, we made some errors in judgment in
some situations. We had our critics too, like the faculty union, who
said the board was pro administration and the faculty didn't get enough
say-so in College affairs.
Well, I certainly was pro administration, but I felt that we had
adequate representation from the faculty through the faculty senate. I -
felt the lines of communication between faculty and administration
were excellent. I did not see any reason for organizing the faculty to
the extent that the union wished. Apparently, most of the faculty didn't
either because in 1975 the union lost the election over collective bar-
You've had much experience in business and education. How
would you compare the two worlds?
I believe business does more intensive, long-range planning. Also,
in looking back, I feel in some instances that the people we selected
as top college administrators were recruited more on the basis of
their degrees than on their ability to administer. I think we were too
degree-oriented in our selection process. I made that statement a
number of times during our board meetings and to Wygal.
I think it held true because if we look back at some of the top
administrators that we hired, they really didn't last too long because
they couldn't effectively administer during times of tremendous growth
and change. Simply because a person has a doctor's degree doesn't
mean he's qualified to carry out the responsibilities of college admin-
But, overall, I think the College over the years has been meeting
the needs of Duval and Nassau Counties very well, and I'm proud to
have been a part of that success.
One of the major problems facing society today is that so many
people lack discipline and, as a result, have a complete disregard for
authority. When you undermine that, I think that society suffers greatly
from crime and all kinds of social problems.
Society needs discipline of some sort. It has to come from the
home, the church, and the school all working together. Certainly
the community college can help in bringing about a society that has
more respect for law, just authority, and the traditional values that
have made America great.
J. BRUCE WILSON
Bruce was the founding Dean of Gulf Coast Community College in
Panama City and the founding President of two other Florida colleges:
Brevard Community College and FJC. This is his first visit to FCCJ since he
left Jacksonville in 1970. Since then he has been a university professor, a
college administrator, and a successful real estate investor. He is now living
with his family in Clarksville, Tennessee, in a two-story log house which
was built in 1850.
In 1965, there was a real controversy over selecting an FJC presi-
dent. Certain people supported Dr. Joseph Fordyce for the presi-
dency, and others supported Dr. Cyrus Anderson. The supporters of
Dr. Fordyce did not want to support the supporters of Dr. Anderson
and vice versa (both individuals were outstanding and either one would
have made an excellent president). However, the school board de-
cided to look for someone new, and that's when they approached me
at Brevard. I really think they saw me as a compromise candidate.
They invited me to Jacksonville, and we met in an old, abandoned
school building not too far from the courthouse. Mr. Ish Brant, the
superintendent, was at that meeting and so were Mr. Marty Baker and
other school board members. They were very convincing in their
discussions with me that I should leave the presidency of Brevard and
come to Jacksonville as president of the proposed community college.
Marty Baker spent a couple of hours trying to convince me to accept
the job here. After this session I agreed, and we went to the court-
house where Ish had his office. They had a school board meeting, and
Channel 12 and Channel 4, plus the other news media, were there. At
that meeting I was nominated for president, but Mr. Baker stood up
and said he'd like to vote against the nomination. This was quite
surprising. I really was not accustomed to this kind of experience.
However, I was officially appointed, without the vote of Mr. Baker, as
the founding President of the College. Mr. Baker was later recom-
mended by me for employment at the College; however, this is an-
other story that I will share later.
The board assured me that they would not take any action affect-
ing the College unless it came in the form of a recommendation from
the College. The next morning when I was back at Brevard, I saw an
article in The Florida Times-Union that said that the board had ap-
pointed an architectural firm, Willis and Veenstra, for the College -
an act the board told me that they would not do. When I called and
asked them why they did this, they told me Willis and Veenstra was
"next up." They said they awarded jobs to certain architectural firms
on a rotating basis. And I told them that I was resigning because they
had violated their word with me. They agreed to rescind their selec-
tion of Willis and Veenstra.
The school board did not have any kind of master campus archi-
tectural plan. They said that Willis and Veenstra was to develop the
architectural plan for the library, but we didn't even know that we
would be having a library as such maybe a learning resources
center. We went through the process of selecting a master campus
planner who would develop plans showing the location of the campus
buildings for each campus, and then we went through the process of
selecting an architectural firm. We even set up a committee to review
the architectural proposals that were submitted. But the board still
ended up selecting Willis and Veenstra. And that was my introduction
After I arrived here, my original staff was formed. We then con-
ducted studies throughout Duval and Nassau Counties and concluded
that we should have a campus near Jacksonville Beach, a campus on
the northside, a campus centrally located, and a campus on the south-
west side. We wanted to offer a multitude of evening centers through-
out Duval and Nassau Counties to meet the needs of the working
adults and individuals who could not go to college during the day.
We proposed to the state board that all community colleges in
Florida have the basic name Florida Junior College and that each col-
lege be named by its locale, like "The Florida Junior College at Co-
coa" and "The Florida Junior College at Miami." However, the state
just didn't like the idea of all community colleges with the same name.
Some of these colleges had existed for years and had already adopted
particular names, like St. Petersburg Junior College. The state did
approve the name Florida Junior College at Jacksonville.
Another decision made was to begin FJC as an integrated college.
FJC was the first public educational institution in Duval or Nassau
County to exist on an integrated basis. You might be interested in
knowing that when I was in Panama City, Gulf Coast Junior College
was for white students, and Roosevelt Junior College was for black
students. When I came to Jacksonville in '65, the public schools were
segregated. Whites attended white schools and blacks attended black
schools. Even in our integrated student center, students would sepa-
rate themselves: blacks would gather at their own tables, and whites
would gather at their own tables. And then blacks would want us to
develop a black curriculum to meet certain unique needs of blacks as
they perceived them. But we still continued with the commitment to
provide an integrated, comprehensive, high-quality community col-
lege to meet the needs of all the people of this area.
Shortly after the creation of the FJC at Jacksonville, the legisla-
ture passed a bill removing the community colleges of Florida from
the control of the boards of public instruction. The legislators cre-
ated a separate Board of Trustees arrangement for governing the com-
munity college. Mr. Fred Kent told me that he was named to the
board with the understanding that he would have veto power on any
other person considered for the board. This resulted in the Florida
Junior College at Jacksonville having, for all purposes, a one-member
board. For the entire time that I was employed as president of the
College, no one on the board opposed Mr. Kent. It got so bad that on
one occasion, at a board meeting, Mr. Kent commented that he wished
that Donald Martin (another board member) would not second his
motion until he finished making the motion.
What do you see as your greatest success at FJC?
My fondest memory was helping get the College accredited a year
ahead of schedule. We were the largest college ever accredited as a
beginning institution by the Southern Association. To achieve ac-
creditation, we secured temporary facilities and locations, developed
curriculum and equipment, and staffed the College with high quality
Speaking of quality, right from the start we had to overcome the
public impression that we were a junior-type college with less quality
than the four-year colleges and universities. In order to emphasize
quality, we developed the FJC Experimental College for students who
graduated in the upper quartile of their high school classes. These
students could take all of their general education requirements as
one thirty-six hour course. They received instruction by the team
approach. Professors in math, the sciences, English, humanities, and
social sciences used an integrated approach in working with these
students. We eliminated grades in the Experimental College. Stu-
dents received just satisfactory or unsatisfactory for their work. Then
when they would transfer to a four-year college or university, we would
convert their thirty-six hours back to individual course hours in En-
glish, math, humanities, etc. for communication purposes. As I recall,
if they had satisfactorily completed the course, we'd give them a letter
We provided a secretarial staff and teaching assistants for all
professors teaching in the Experimental College. We put our very
best professors in this area, and it became quite successful. I was
hoping to find that the Experimental College was still here at FCCJ.
It was a real plus factor for us to have Dr. Richard Warren to adminis-
ter the Experimental College in the 60's. It gave us practices and
techniques that we could apply throughout the College operation. And
it helped the College develop a good public image of quality.
Another accomplishment I'm proud of was our drive-in registra-
tion. A student could drive up to a window at the Cumberland Cam-
pus and register without leaving his car. I think that practice has
disappeared, but it was a good idea.
In 1967 SACS denied FJC accreditation and cited your
administration for morale problems, poor communication with
faculty, excessive teaching loads, and other problems.'3 What's your
reaction to those criticisms?
My reaction to those criticisms is to plead guilty. It had to be
incompetencies that I brought to the job that contributed to those
problems, but after they were brought to our attention, we started
taking immediate steps to try to correct them. For example, we ap-
pointed a faculty committee, and I started meeting with the chairman
of that committee once every two weeks just to get feedback from the
faculty.14 We developed guidelines for faculty salary raises and got
them approved. The teaching load of eighteen hours was reduced to
fifteen hours. However, we must remember that we still received
accreditation a year earlier than normal, and we were the largest
beginning institution ever accredited by SACS.
There were other problems in the late 60's that you may want to
comment on. Milli Barnert, an instructor, said she spent the night
in her office to protest not being told why her contract was not
renewed. At the first FJC graduation (1968) students protested
some of your personnel practices.
I have a memory of Ms. Barnert as an outstanding, very attractive,
energetic, dynamic person who received a presidential "star" award.
Her contract was not renewed because of the best interests of the
College. My recommendation was certainly verified when she was
observed wearing her pajamas in her office, painting the building,
and being very destructive of public property.
At that graduation we had certain people marching up and down
carrying "Down With the President" signs. They were protesting our
dismissal of some faculty members. I have no evidence to prove that
any of the dismissed instructors instigated this protest, but it's incon-
ceivable to me that a group of people would get together on their own
without some involvement of the people affected. Shelley Drew was
one of the people I did not recommend back for employment at the
College, and it was reported to me that she was involved in the pro-
I don't recall any mistakes we made in recommending people for
dismissal, but mistakes are always possible. I have made many mis-
takes one time I recommended the termination of an instructor,
and the mistake I made was I should have recommended her dis-
Unfortunately, I have some bad memories of FJC involving two
people a Mr. Fred Kent and a Mr. Don Wells. I don't have any bad
memories of Gulf Coast, Brevard, or Cumberland. I recall one time
this Duval County school board member, Mr. Wells, told me that he
was going to attack me at a board meeting in order to get more news-
paper coverage for his political campaigns. He claimed his attack
was nothing personal. He wanted to assure me that he was a big
supporter of mine. You might say that on that particular occasion I
did not behave toward him in a presidential manner. (Laughs)
Another problem was the conflicts I had with Mr. Fred Kent. Mr.
Kent continually brought pressure on me to recommend his people
for employment at the College. It got to the point where Mr. Kent
informed me that he would not approve any of my recommendations
unless I approved his recommendations. He pressured me to recom-
mend Mr. John Rice for employment at the College as a vice president
with a top salary. Mr. Rice had never been employed on a college
campus, and he had not earned a terminal academic degree. Mr. Kent
brought pressure on me to employ his secretary's husband (J. C. Green)
in a top administrative position at the College. By the way, no other
member of the board of trustees ever approached me about recom-
mending a particular person for employment at the College. Other
examples of problems involved a radio station, buying cars, and rec-
ommending payment of moving expenses. I felt that Mr. Kent took an
active role in the administration of the College rather than keeping to
his role of being a policy-making board member. In fact, on page 10 of
the 1969 SACS Report on FJC there's this section that says that the
trustees should "function in recruitment only to identify potential staff
members and not to sponsor particular individuals or to influence the
creation or revision of positions to accommodate particular individu-
als." In fact, when that report came out, Mr. Kent appointed a commit-
tee to investigate SACS.
To keep from being completely negative about Mr. Kent, may I
add that I found him to be an intelligent, energetic person with a
captivating personality. I found him to be a likeable person even
though we disagreed.
I concluded that we could not operate effectively the way the
situation was in 1969-70. I hoped by signing a resignation agreement
with Mr. Kent that my action would create a situation whereby the
next president would have full latitude in administering the College,
or that Mr. Kent would resign. The agreement with Mr. Kent stated
that I would submit a report and would be given a salary, secretary,
and automobile for one year providing I turned in my resignation.
The agreement guaranteed employment for all other administrators
for a year and a six percent raise for all employees. Mr. Kent kept his
promise not to fire my recommended administrators for a year; how-
ever, at the end of that year, he terminated certain administrators
who supported me, and the tragedy of this is that he destroyed indi-
viduals who worked successfully against all odds in getting the Col-
lege created and accredited.
Do you recall any humorous situations at FJC?
Not long after the College opened we, of course, were very busy
enrolling over 2600 students and equipping the College with labs and
other necessary things. We were just operating at a very rapid rate. A
Jacksonville rabbi paid me a visit about that time. He was indicating
his interest in and support of the College, and we were expressing our
appreciation to him, when he asked how many Jewish faculty mem-
bers we had employed. I was somewhat surprised with the question
because we did not make any kind of count as to the religious prefer-
ence of the people that we employed, but I knew that since we had
employed so many people that we had employed a number of Jewish
I had an IBM printout on my desk showing the names of the people
we had employed up to that time. And I was going through the list
trying to identify the Jewish employees without very much success.
All of a sudden my telephone rang and I picked it up. It was Frances
Thomas, my secretary, who had been listening to our conversation in
the back office. She said, "Try Israel!" I thanked her and turned to the
rabbi and said, "Hey, I think I found one here: Israel, Kenneth Is-
rael!" And the rabbi said, "That's fine. I'll call on him." After the
rabbi left, we found out that Kenneth Israel was Presbyterian. (Laughs)
I remember one day asking Pat Hodgkins, the registrar, to give me
an update on College enrollment. He told me we had two drawers
full, which I thought was rather amusing. I remember something very
amusing with Granville Diffie. Granville told me one day that if he
could have three good days with the president, he was going to put in
a swimming pool at his home. Now he tells me that all the time that I
was here that he never did put in a swimming pool, but since I left he
now has a swimming pool. (Laughs) Many people need to be com-
mended for the creation of the College; however, three people come
to mind who performed miracles: Ms. Frances Thomas, Dr. A. P.
Beaudoin, and Rev. Carl Carrigan. I would like to commend these
three people wherever they are.
In summing up my years at FJC, I can certainly say some very
positive things. I think we had an outstanding faculty and administra-
tion. We had an enthusiastic student body. We had people throughout
Nassau and Duval Counties who were very proud of their community
college and gave us tremendous support. That all contributed to the
success of the institution. I am very happy to have had the opportunity
to participate in the creation of FCCJ.
I might add I am really impressed with how things have devel-
oped at the College in the last twenty years. It's remarkable how beau-
tiful everything looks after all these years. I'm impressed with the
enthusiasm of the students and the caliber of the people that I have
met here this time. My best wishes to everyone for continued success.
Terry is Executive Director of the League for Innovation in the Commu-
nity College, a national consortium of community colleges located in Laguna
Hills, California. His book TEACHERS FOR TOMORROW: STAFF DEVELOP-
MENT IN COMMUNITY COLLEGES won the outstanding book award in
education in 1973. In 1989 he published INNOVATION IN THE COMMUNITY
COLLEGE. Terry claims that Joe Fordyce accepted the first presidency of
FJC and then promptly resigned.
In 1965 Joseph Fordyce was offered the presidency of the first
junior college to be established in the greater Jacksonville area. Joe
was then President of Central Florida Junior College in Ocala, and I
was his Dean of Students. I had known Joe since my graduate student
days at the University of Florida when he was head of the Student
Affairs Program in the College of Education and I was his student
I don't know all of the specific details about Joe Fordyce and FJC
except these: Joe was offered the FJC presidency. He accepted the
position and immediately asked me to be the first staff member in the
new community college to be established in Jacksonville. I agreed to
come. We were very close friends. Our working styles were very com-
patible, and I looked forward to moving to Jacksonville to continue
my career in community colleges. In those days, Florida community
colleges were still related to the high schools. In the early establish-
ment of community colleges in this country, they grew out of the high
schools; they basically were extensions of the high schools. In 1901,
when the first one was established in Joliet, Illinois, community col-
leges were designed as the thirteenth and fourteenth grades of area
high schools. There was still a vestige of that early historical model
working in Florida in the 60's, and probably a lot of that was political
in that the local junior college president actually reported to the
local county school superintendent.
And therein lies the rub for Joe Fordyce not continuing in that
early assignment in Jacksonville. In Ocala he had reported to the su-
perintendent, and that reporting line was basically a dotted line. Al-
though it was an official line relationship, most county school super-
intendents gave the local junior college president tremendous leeway
in designing programs, managing budgets, and making staff appoint-
Now, Joe had actually accepted the job here in Jacksonville. He
had resigned from Central Florida Junior College and was on board
here at FJC. He had not moved to Jacksonville physically, but he was
here. That was the commitment; he was ready to go. In fact, Joe and I
were beginning to plan the college, beginning to think about how we
would design it.
As I recall, Joe was the one to come up with the name Florida
Junior College at Jacksonville.
Joe had been a person out of the Harvard mold, even though he
was a Southerner from West Virginia. He always sort of liked the
Harvard style, spoke the Harvard accent colored by a deep Southern
background, and had been on the staff at Tufts University. Joe had
been an English teacher, and he liked to play with words.
He was trying to design an idea of a college that he thought prob-
ably represented some of his past history in the Northeast. So this
concept of the Florida Junior College at Jacksonville basically was a
way of configuring how a college would relate to its community. This
concept was pretty unique in Florida and around the country.
Anecdotal history is fraught with problems, and you may find a
half dozen other claims to that name. But my memory is that Joe
Fordyce came up with that name; and it was established.
Very soon after Joe accepted the FJC job, he ran into some I
don't know quite how to say this. The communication pattern that he
tried to establish with the then county superintendent, Ish Brant, was
not a cordial one. It was so uncordial that Joe resigned fairly promptly.
Joe had some colorful ways of describing that encounter to me,
but those are probably best left to memory. In dealing with Brant,
Joe perceived that as FJC president he would not have as much lee-
way to develop programs and provide leadership as he had been used
to in Ocala. In a nutshell, Joe was not about to report in any program-
matic way, in any leadership way, to the local school superintendent.
At that same time, Santa Fe Community College was opening in
Gainesville. The Gainesville opening may have been a factor in Joe's
resignation from FJC. In any case, right after that, he became Presi-
dent of Santa Fe Community College. And again, because we were
close friends and our styles were compatible, I went with him there as
the first staff member at Santa Fe. Joe and I designed the plan for
Santa Fe Community College, which became one of the really out-
standing, innovative community colleges in America.
Joe then went on, a number of years later, to be the President of the
St. Louis Community College System. And following that tenure, he
became a staff member for the College Board in New York. Some
years later, he came back to Florida and served as Assistant to the
President of Nova University in Fort Lauderdale. He died about six
or seven years ago.
FRED and JUANITA SMITH
Fred and Juanita are on kind of a perpetual honeymoon. They teach
part-time at Kent Campus, where he carried her over the threshold almost
fifty years ago.
FRED: I teach travel and tourism at FCCJ. I'm retired from the Duval
County School System where I was a band director.
In 1942, we were married at Juanita's parents' home in Fairfield,
which was a section of Jacksonville east of the downtown area. It was
wartime, and I couldn't take leave for a honeymoon trip. I was an
aviation instructor, and the Navy couldn't spare me. So we immedi-
ately retreated to the little Navy duplex home that I had reserved
earlier. The duplex was brand new then and was located at the
Cumberland Road Navy Housing. Today this area is the Kent Campus.
Our home was where Building A now sits. In fact, when I'm in my
office today, A-202, I'm working right above where our honeymoon
JUANITA: I've been teaching floral design at Kent Campus for over
sixteen years. I watched this area go from government housing to
temporary college classrooms to the new modern facility it is today.
When they tore down the old buildings, I watched the bulldozers push
down our first home. It tugged at my heartstrings because we had so
many memories wrapped up in that little duplex. We lived there for
nearly two years during the war. That's where we brought our first
When I retired from the florist business, I began teaching in the
old buildings about two hundred feet from where our first home was.
I remember during the war planting cosmos on each side of our house.
It must have been good soil there because the cosmos grew about nine
feet tall. I can see some of the shrubs and trees that are still here
after fifty years: the ligustrum and crape myrtle and oak and pine
trees. Some of the ligustrum and crepe myrtle we occasionally use in
class for our foliage and flower arrangements.
Now, two generations later, we still have new experiences on this
site. I am a student along with our granddaughter Shawn Malone,
who is about to receive her AS degree before going on to UNF. I am
taking advantage of some of the other vocational classes in my own
department and enjoying being a student immensely.
JOHN A. HAYNES
John was FJC's first Dean of Student Services, starting in February
1966. He now teaches psychology at the South Campus.
I was one of the first seven people the College hired. Besides me,
there were Andy Beaudoin, Ray Bittle, Ken Clawson, Erskine Key,
Don Tolle, and Shouppe Howell. Let's see, Andy was Director of
Community Services, Ken chaired science and math, Ray was Direc-
tor of Vocational Education, Erskine was Chairman of Humanities,
Don was Dean of Instruction and Social Sciences, and Shouppe was
It was quite an awakening when we first came here in early '66.
Dr. Wilson had an 8 x 10 office in the Atlantic Coastline Building.
That was it as far as facilities were concerned. We just hung around
Bruce's office for a week or so. Then the school board gave us the
public school on Flagler Street.
Ted Canady, the custodian at the Flagler Street school, joked that
he came with the building and FJC inherited him.
We administrators were constantly making decisions to get ready
for the opening term in the fall. The big problem I had as Dean of
Student Services was projecting enrollment. I had to go to the area
high schools and try to recruit students. All I had to offer was a
college starting from scratch that was soon going to open in a 50-year-
old elementary school.
We weren't accredited then, so there was a big concern among
students that they wouldn't get credit for their courses. We offset that
concern somewhat by guaranteeing the student that if the student
graduated from FJC, he or she would be accepted for upper-division
work at any state college or university in Florida. Of course, we couldn't
guarantee students they'd be accepted out of state.
Also, I was trying to work long distance with Pat Hodgkins who
was still at Brevard Junior College. Pat had accepted the registrar
job, but he wasn't coming here until August. We figured it wasn't
going to be easy registering students.
Anyway, we worked up an enrollment formula, something like X =
the courthouse. (Laughs) Not very scientific, but we weren't too far off
in our projection. Actually, the fall enrollment was over what we
In the early days there was sort of the typical struggle you have
between a new college and a conservative area. I remember we got
John Ciardi to come here for $1,000. We were going to pay him out of
the student activities fund. Bruce Wilson brought this up at a school
board meeting, and one of the board members asked him, "Dr. Wilson,
why in the world are you paying a poet $1,000 for just one day's work?"
Bruce tried to explain the value to students of a famous poet like
Ciardi. Then Bruce quoted Robert Frost to the board member: "A
poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom." The board member came
back with a four-letter word which you won't want to print. (Laughs)
Some changes in the last twenty-three years? Well, students have
changed quite a bit. I don't remember any black students when the
College opened. Of course, the racial situation is much better today.
And I think we're getting a better overall student today. And teaching
conditions have obviously improved. I remember some teachers used
to carry awful loads. Ask Howard Roey how tough it was teaching
back then. And the growth! The growth of this College has been phe-
I think we've grown because we've been constantly involved in
the community. The Artist Series is an example of the kind of involve-
ment that's helped us.
And the reputation of the faculty has really helped us grow. We
have faculty members here today who are ten times better than the
professors I had in college.
ADRIEN P. BEAUDOIN
Andy was among the first seven people hired at FJC. He worked as an
administrator during the College's early years and now teaches English at
Kent Campus. He is also fluent in French. He recalls his work as Director of
Community Services during the College's first year.
When we were still at Brevard Junior College, I met with Dr.
Wilson, and we pretty well established what we would be doing in the
area of community services at FJC, which I perceived to be a continu-
ation of the staff function I was doing at Brevard. Community service,
as it was called in 1966-67 at FJC, involved seminars, workshops, and
short-term educational experiences for the people of the community.
Your vocational education program was a long-range program and the
academic program was long-range, but there was nothing to meet that
short-term need of secretaries and accountants and lawyers and so
forth. So that's what I started with as Director of Community Services.
Most of these were non-credit activities designed to improve people
in their professions. For example, we would meet with accountants and
find out what their needs were. And as it turned out, they indicated
that they would like to have an updating of their IRS regulations
because IRS regulations many times would be changed. We would
then go to the IRS and see if we couldn't get them to send representa-
tives. We'd meet with a committee of IRS representatives and accoun-
tants' representatives and we'd work up the agenda. Then we'd pick a
site usually a motel or hotel that had meeting rooms. We didn't
have any room in the new campus, so we had to find a large hall like
the one in the Thunderbird Motel. Sometimes a bank would let us
have a hall. After getting a place, we'd print up a program and make
it available to the community and to all the accountants. Then the
evening or two or three-day seminar would occur, and that was it. We
did this with other professions: secretaries would update their skills
from time to time; lawyers would be getting together to update them-
selves on state laws; and we'd have seminars for various professional
The community services put me in a situation where I had to
perform two functions: the seminar function with professional groups
and the PR function for the College. So I wore two hats.
I recall we were all set to begin in the fall of 1966, and all of the
offerings had been printed. We tried to disseminate as many of these
brochures as we could. So I decided to call on The Florida Times-
Union people to see if we could get a public service announcement. It
turned out that we were able to get a full-page free advertisement
from the Times-Union to help us disseminate the information to the
general public about our first year offerings. Today that wouldn't be
feasible. We were new then, and the paper was interested in getting
the College off the ground too, I'm sure, so this was helpful.
Did you run into any PR problems that first year or two?
Oh, yes! We'd have some instances where the best face of the
College was not portrayed, and we tried to overcome that and to bal-
ance the picture of the College as much as possible. In one instance,
we had a student who decided to write a column in the local newspa-
per, and his column was not always positive about the College. It
tended to be skewed in terms of his own opinion, which was his right.
I think he was looking at some problems we had, and this didn't help
the image of the College too much. So we tried to offset that with
counter publicity to get a bigger picture, to get a broader picture of
what was happening in the areas of curriculum, growth, and so forth.
But there weren't too many problems. Most of the publicity that we
got in 1966-67 was very good.
What were some perceptions in the community about FJC that
I'd say from the general public there was a hopefulness about the
College. They wanted FJC to succeed. There was another perception
that saw the College as somewhat of a threat to Jacksonville Univer-
sity. There was a feeling that maybe we would cut into some of their
programs and so forth. But these perceptions were soon resolved be-
cause it turned out that the community college here was responding
to a need that had not been responded to before, and we were not
taking from any other institution. So these perceptions were short-
Dr. Wilson wanted desperately for the College to succeed. He
signed up for this job, and he wanted to make it successful. And I
think that his enthusiasm for his work and his hopefulness for the
success of the institution prevailed pretty much. Sometimes when
you hope too much to make a success of things, you probably tend to
create some problems; so there were some problems that were cre-
ated as a result of that.
I think that in growing from a single campus institution to a multi-
campus institution, there are problems that result, that couldn't be
predicted, and we experienced these problems as we were growing.
But now that we have an enrollment that is pretty consistent, and we
have our multi-campus institution pretty well established, there are
no new wrenching problems that are affecting the institution so much
as they used to.
I think the administrative side at the beginning of the College
tended to have a narrower vision of what the faculty rights and re-
sponsibilities were. In retrospect, we could have been more open
about faculty senates and faculty needs and so forth, but we weren't.
Now that vision has changed a little bit; it's become more liberal,
more open. And I think that's true of any organization. In the begin-
ning the people in the leadership will have a course laid out pretty
well as to where they want to go, and the staff pretty well has to follow
that course. Then once the course is established, there's an opening
up, a recognizing of what the needs and the rights of faculty are.
Of course, these things are easily said in retrospect.
What's the biggest change that you've seen in the classroom?
I see the students more selectively placed according to their aca-
demic preparation than they used to be. This has made it easier for a
lot of students because before we didn't have academic placement,
and this tended to create a lot of disappointment on the part of many
students. The students are more academically prepared for the course
work than they used to be because of good placement, so the professor's
expectations are fulfilled more so than they used to be. Before, when
there was no placement, the dropout rate was pretty high.
Do you see any changes in your own teaching technique over the
No, I don't. I still have expectations college level first year,
second year expectations of students and those are maintained.
They're being more and more fulfilled as is shown by the perfor-
mances of my students.
GRANVILLE P. DIFFIE
Granville was a charter administrator and became Vice-President of
Instruction in 1970. Now a professor of psychology, he has been honored
by the FCCJ Student Government Association for outstanding teaching. He
still plays full-court basketball at age sixty-fwe.
Bruce Wilson was colorful; I mean, he did funny things. For
instance, he called all his staff up one Sunday afternoon, the day
before college was to open in the fall, and said, "Dr. Diffie, do you
have all your seats in the classrooms?" "Well, I don't know." "Well,
have you counted?" "Well, I don't know." "Well, get out here!" And he
ended up at Cumberland Campus with a half a dozen people, and we
went up and down here inspecting in a thunderstorm. I ducked into a
building because it was raining hard and lightning was crashing all
over the place. I thought I'd just hide for a while because I was the
tallest member, and I didn't want to get struck by lightning.
He got John Haynes in one day and said, "You're in charge of
student activities. What about these concert tickets you're buying?"
John said, "We're buying them for five dollars and selling them to
students for four." John was going to make up the other dollar from
the fund students paid into. Dr. Wilson asked, "How can we stay in
business like that?" I was sitting there and said, "Volume." And Bruce
busted out laughing. He had a sense of humor and was colorful with
it. You don't find that combination a lot.
He was kind of a spur-of-the-moment type person, and he could be
stubborn. For example, when the College was beginning, he said,
"Don't hire anybody from Duval County. We can't come here and bleed
the county dry of all its good people." Well, that idea has some merit.
But you can't do that 100 percent because the people in Duval County
had a right to apply here for jobs; it was logical.
I wanted to hire Jim Schroeer, and Bruce said, "Is he from Duval
County?" I said, "Yes." He said, "You can't hire him." And I had to go
back again and again to plead the case. Finally I just stopped him in
the hall one day, and I said, "Dr. Wilson, you've got to hire this man;
he will be a big asset to the College." He looked all startled and said,
"Okay, hire him!" Well, Jim Schroeer, you know, is now the Associate
Superintendent for Facilities Planning for the state. He did a wonder-
ful job for FJC and for the Duval County School System. He was one of
the hardest working people who ever worked here.
A lot of us enjoyed working with Bruce. But we were also talking
about quitting because he put so much pressure on us. We had to
supervise teachers and make sure they kept classes the whole hour. If
they let their classes out early, even a few minutes early, we had to
jump on them. Of course, it's not like that today. It's much freer now.
Teachers are trusted much more now than they were then.
Bruce wanted things done by the book. He'd call you in and chew
you out because you didn't know how many students were in a certain
class. You'd say, "Well, I can go look it up." He'd say, "I want you to
have all that right at the tip of your fingers." It was his way of just, I
guess, jacking up the troops.
One reason why we didn't get early accreditation back in '67 and
'68 was that the Southern Association came in here and talked to a
number of teachers and staff, and some very vocal people ripped the
administration up royally because they thought Dr. Wilson was high-
handed and dictatorial. But for the most part he was doing what had
to be done to get a college going. He had a good record at Gulf Coast
and Brevard. You just couldn't be all that democratic when starting a
But some of the things that Bruce did for a really good reason
backfired on him. For example, he had a little extra money that he
could reward teachers with. So he said, "Okay, we'll divide the teach-
ers in two groups, and the top 50 percent gets a hundred-dollar bonus,
and the bottom 50 percent doesn't." That was a bad move because it
made every single teacher mad. Those who got it took it as a kick in
the face. It's like saying, I'm considered a superior teacher and I get a
lousy hundred dollars. And all the rest of them got mad too because
it's like saying, I'm considered less than a good teacher and I get
Another thing about our not getting accredited early: the South-
ern Association accreditation team knew we existed in a disaccredited
school system, and they came here with that fact in mind. The team
found FJC people that were dissatified and very vocal, and the team
paid a lot of attention to them.
But the College wasn't bad. The teaching that was going on was no
worse, no better than what was going on after we got accredited in '69.
We were in a state of rapid transition, hiring lots of new teachers. We
were going out and beating the bushes for teachers. Teacher turnover
was high, but there was good teaching going on. There wasn't really
anything wrong with the College.
Well, in 1970 Bruce Wilson was pressured to resign and the board
offered me the job of acting president. But I turned it down out of
loyalty to Bruce and because I thought the acting president job was
just an interim, don't-rock-the-boat sort of thing and I didn't want it.
So Ben Wygal became president, and I was his Vice President for
Planning for eighteen months; then I was dismissed.
Of course, a new president's like a new football coach: he's going
to get a new staff. I didn't have any objection to him getting a new
staff. I expected that. The only thing I objected to was the fact that I
was personally led to believe that I was on the new team. All I would
have wanted him to do was to call me in and say, Diff, I've thought it
over carefully, and I can't see you in my future plans. What would you
like to do? Let's figure out something for you to do. I can help arrange
for you to have some other kind of job within the College. Or I can give
you a recommendation to somebody else. But to call you in and say
your job is eliminated, and then turn right around and put that job
back in with a slightly different title that's what really made me
mad about it.
Of course I wasn't the only administrator fired then. The presi-
dent didn't break the news to us; the vice-president, George Pass, told
us. This was a very bad way to handle the situation, in my view.
How did you adjust and cope?
Well, it feels pretty bad to go home and tell your wife you've been
fired from a job that you've prepared for and worked real hard to get
to. But it's like playing ball. You learn to win and lose. When you get
knocked down, you get up and keep fighting.
At first, I was concerned about how I was going to take care of my
family. Then I remembered that I had tenure as a teacher in Duval
County. Also, my wife and I had been talking over the possibility of
my leaving administration and getting a teaching job because admin-
istering in the early days of this College was hectic. I mean, you're up
nights and working weekends; and the pressure: I remember one af-
ternoon we put fourteen new courses in the curriculum. I was getting
tired of all that.
So I went down to Wygal, and I said, "Wygal, I just remembered
something. You know, I'm on tenure as a teacher in Duval County, and
I'm betting you that applies also to college teaching." So I said, "I'm
going to go down to the other end of the campus and teach psychology.
And don't you come down there bothering me, and I won't come up
here bothering you." And I have never been bothered an ounce by
any living soul that works in this College. I have been treated with
the utmost respect and dignity. You couldn't find a nicer job.
I've always really been a teacher at heart. Before I started teach-
ing psychology here, I had taught for thirteen years in Maryland and
in the Duval School System. As a vice-president, I didn't have any
control over anything; I couldn't wiggle up, and I couldn't wiggle down.
But in the classroom I feel that I make a greater impact and contrib-
ute more. I really enjoy teaching.
Another thing I remember about the early days is the dress code.
Yes, for a short time we actually had a dress code. One of the main
rules was the men had to wear socks.
One day Dean Donald Tolle cited this guy for not wearing socks.
Tolle was second in command to Wilson, and he got about five of us
administrators together I was new at the time and we were giving
this student the devil for wearing sandals and no socks. The guy says,
"Why do I have to wear socks?" And Dean Tolle says, "Well, because
your feet will smell."
Then in walks this girl and she asks this guy, "What are you in
here for?" And he said, "Well, they've got me." I noticed she had on a
pair of sandals just like his, but it wasn't against the rules for the girls
to go without socks. So the guy asked Dr. Tolle, "Well, what about
her?" Dr. Tolle must've been caught off guard because he said, "Well,
uh, girls' feet don't smell bad." (Laughs)
Of course, the dress code was quickly dropped because you
couldn't put something like that in an open college like this. It was
just a ridiculous rule.
Who's your most memorable college student?
I'd have to say Raymond Wood, a farm boy that I talked into going
to college. Raymond was an example of everything you'd want your
son to be: hardworking, 140 IQ. He'd come in, and whatever needed to
be done, he'd see it before you did and go ahead and do it. He went on
to become an engineer.
I tell my classes about Raymond. One day he said to me, "You
talked me into going to college, and my father wants me to stay on the
farm. What do you do in college?" And I said, "Raymond, just look on
it as putting in a day's work." Raymond went on to the University of
Maryland, and after his first semester he had a straight A average. I
said, "Raymond, I know you're smart, but how'd you do it?" And he
said, "Well, I just remembered what you said about a day's work, so at
S4:30, when I normally start milking, I'd get up and start studying. The
rest of the guys were still sleeping, but I didn't think anything about
that. At 11:30 at night, when we'd usually stop putting up the hay,
that's when I'd stop. College isn't hard; you just put in a day's work."
I laughed and said, "Raymond, that is a story for all seasons."
RALPH E. RUSSELL
Ralph was the College's first head librarian. He is now University Li-
brarian at the William Russell Pullen Library at Georgia State University in
Here are a few scenes from my memory of FJC, 1966-68, from the
perspective of the library's 2 and 1/8 huts at Cumberland Campus. I
remember our photocopy machine was in the end of the administra-
tive building next door, but that was all of that building we had.
Pat Carter Barrett was the first employee I hired in the library,
and I believe Arlene Flannagan was the fifth person hired in the
Pat and Arlene were working when my daughter was born. Since
the birth occurred at 7 a.m., I came on to work from the hospital. The
library staff did no work that day. Pat immediately notified the Col-
lege switchboard operator who spread the word (we were indeed a
close community). Some went for doughnuts. All the library staff
except me was female, all mothers, so the day was spent in congratu-
lations and considering the bliss of motherhood. As a young parent, I
could not have asked for a more supportive or loving environment.
Pat, being the ultimate organizational manipulator, quickly made
friends with the head maintenance man. She had discovered some
used refrigerators stored from the days when Cumberland was Navy
housing. Within days, through a combination of sweet talk and home-
made goodies, Pat had talked the maintenance man into delivering
and repairing a refrigerator for the library office. She had already-
commandeered a hot plate. With such equipment she set forth to fix
and serve blue plate specials for staff, friends, and (occasionally) li-
brary users. Yearning for academic status, I did my best to at least
keep the odors of fresh vegetables and fried meat out of the rest of the
library. But as in most things, Pat won! We were all well fed, however.
As new books arrived, I stored them temporarily in an abandoned
building. As catalog cards arrived from the Library of Congress, the
books and cards had to be matched so that Arlene could process
them. Linda Russell (pregnant part of the time) and I crawled around
with a flashlight, examining the spines of hundreds of books. We did
this at night with a single light bulb in each building. We spent the
days helping students and processing books. Matching cards and books
at night freed paid library staff for faster processing.
Now, of course, Arlene and others search via computer terminal
and produce records on magnetic tape for a local system.
On the two nights I worked each week as a reference librarian, I
enlisted my wife Linda's aid to process books. She was fast, accurate,
interested, committed and free. The library staff were superb. We
were all noisily enthusiastic about the College and the library.
A cataloging/reference librarian, Sidney Gooding, worked during
the second year of the College. Our paths crossed again in 1986 when I
ran into her here in Atlanta. She is a part-time reference librarian at
Georgia State University Library. We still chuckle over our "early"
days at FJC.
PATRICIA M. BARRETT
Tm possessive of the library. If I could do anything I want to do in life,
the library is what 'd do," says Pat of her position. She is an administrative
assistant in Learning Resources at the Downtown Campus. She began
working in April of 1966 as the College's first library clerk.
I guess that looking over your shoulder at the past and longing for
the "good old days" is akin to seeing greener pastures in another field
and wishing you could climb the fence to reach the pasture. I loved
the past with its people, its history, its color, its problems, and its
achievements. When the College was small, we all knew each other.
Even though we call it "family" now, the College is really a large group
of acquaintances with perhaps a few friends that you hold in your
Technology has taken over many things in the library and learn-
ing resources. Many changes have been made. Still, there is much of
the past I would incorporate into the present, realizing that tomorrow
holds greater automation and technology. Why ride the horse and
carriage when there's an automobile? Maybe because you get more
soothing effects from the clomp of hoofs than from pollution. But
where there's a horse, you better watch your step.
I began working with Ralph Russell, the first head librarian, at
the old Southside Campus on Flagler Street. In fact, I ordered and
received the first books in this College. I remember being introduced
to the tiny print of Books in Print. I compiled lists upon lists. Before
an order card could be printed, the price, publisher address, and
pertinent information for ordering books had to be verified. We or-
dered books from the publisher rather than a jobber. After tallying
the price totals of the books, we put a copy of each order in OOF
(Outstanding Order File). Before order cards could be typed, titles
had to be checked against the OOF.
I figured since we were a new school and didn't have any books
yet and I did all the ordering anyway, why check OOF? This was just
tedious. I thought, why do I need to see if I ordered this? Surely I can
recognize a title. So I typed order cards for books in mega amounts
and totaled them.
Then came the time to file order copies. To my surprise, I found
sooooooo many books that had already been ordered. My heart froze.
What to do? I took all the orders home and started one by one pulling
duplicates. This took some time, some real time. When I had com-
pleted the purge, I went to Mr. Russell expecting him to ask me to quit
or to transfer to another area. He heard me out and calmly asked,
"Did you learn something from the experience?" I had indeed learned
a valuable lesson: always check OOF! Depend on the mind, and you
Within a few weeks of that incident we hired the second and third
library employees. Mary Alice Webb became assistant librarian, and
Clara Connell came on as a clerk. Clara and I became close friends.
I remember just before the College opened in 1966, we were anx-
iously awaiting our first shipment of cataloged books. Dr. Wilson was
distressed that we were ready to open with no books. Alas, a telegram
said the truck transporting our large shipment had overturned, burned,
and our books were destroyed. I knew Mr. Russell would be upset.
Who wouldn't? When I told him, he said, "That's really a shame. But
then there are people out there with no food, no place to sleep, and
people are sick and dying. We can get new books."
Every day was special to Ralph Russell. He celebrated life. He
loved to help students; he always had time for any of them. He had
time for his staff, and he treasured his wife and family. Ralph was in a
quartet that several instructors here put together. He was an accom-
plished pianist. He was a disciplined, totally complete person.
I moved with Ralph to the Cumberland Campus in June of 1966.
Cumberland consisted of about a hundred duplex houses which the
Navy had used for dependents. We librarians were the first to possess
the land at Cumberland. We scouted the area and decided on the old
Navy nursery as the first library. There were nursery rhyme charac-
ters on the wall, five bathrooms, a kitchen, a pantry, and a boiler
The boiler room was given loving priority. It housed a book truck,
but we had no books to put on it at the time. On the book truck we
kept a crockpot, usually filled with soup, chili or stew. The pantry had
a refrigerator with condiments of almost any nature. The pantry also
housed our supplies, which we ordered by going to the house that had
supplies, looking around and saying, "I want this and this and this."
When Mr. Russell resigned, I transferred and went to work for Dr.
Erskine Key. Erskine and Ralph Russell were good friends. I enjoyed
working for Dr. Key too. I worked for Dr. Key through the time he was
Provost of the San Diego Campus and went with him to Cumberland
when he became Vice-President of Instructional Services. I also en-
joyed working for Pope Griffen at FJC's Adult Center, and when Pope
became Director of Learning Resources at the Downtown Campus.
Jim Cleland was another good boss I had.
The FJC Adult Center on Church Street used to be the old Central
Adult School where my mother had been a secretary for twenty-five
years. When I first went there, I had my mother's old desk. I found
things still in that desk that mother had initialed. It was a warm, fuzzy
The heart holds so many memories. Library receiving has been
located at so many places that Joann Egnor, who's in tech services at
Kent now, has tried not to commit an address to permanent memory.
Receiving was once housed in an old casket company where the ro-
dents outnumbered the books.
After almost twenty-three years, I've gone from a young woman
with small children to a grandmother, from youth to silvering hair. I'd
do it all over again, hopefully with more wisdom. My strongest desire
has not been upward mobility. It has been contentment with a job
well done. I've given the best and most productive years of my life to
the College, and I've enjoyed most of my work experiences.
I cherish the friends I've made, and I hold dear the old buildings.
The old military housing: it's all history now. Central Adult on Church
Street has been torn to the ground. The Main Street Building which
FCCJ occupies now at Main and State Streets used to be the old
carpenter's union hall.
The carpenters shared the hall with my family's church when I
was a child. I remember church members would go very early on
Sunday to take out the beer bottles and stuff from the night before.
This church moved and evolved from non-denominational to Central
Baptist with Dr. Robert Witty as the pastor. Central Baptist was at
Nira and Flagler Streets when the College opened. The Southside
Campus used the church's parking area. As you can see, FJC/FCCJ is
meshed in my heart in many ways.
Here's an interesting note. Before Cumberland opened, actually
before a living soul was there except security and some clean-up
people, I went out to look around. I picked up a little bush, about two-
foot high, which they were going to throw out. I took the bush home
along with some day lilies I found out there. The lilies bloom yearly
now. The bush is a very large tree with a trunk I can't reach around,
and it reaches high into the sky.
I can see this tree through a picture window my husband made in
the den of our home. Our picture window used to be a large piece of
glass that was part of a window in the Downtown Campus library.
Someone shot the library window and shattered enough of it that it
had to be replaced. This particular piece of glass was stored behind
the luxor cabinets in the Downtown Campus library for ten years.
Finally, I asked if I could have it, and now it's our lovely picture
It's special to have parts of my campuses that will remain for
years to come.
Anibal Sanchez-Salazar Elizabeth Lynch, age Mitsuo Shimura, age 20, Susan Ross, age 19 ... James Ward, age 39,
M.D., age 37, pediatric 50, housewife .and Japanese citizen .. college student police captain and
anesthesiologist college student and college student college student
and college student
Tracy Baxter, LL.B.,
age 41, attorney at
law. and college
Al Feagin, age 20, for. Lucy White, age 45.
mer professional base- Accounting Classified
ball player and Processing Supervisor
college student for newspaper ... and
- and as diversified as the
students are the courses they can
find here from anthropology,
business law, and calculus to
speed reading, police science and
A community junior college and this is what we are provides
educational value for everyone: We offer, on two campuses and in twelve
adult centers, university parallel programs, two-year career programs, and
a multitude of short courses and seminars.
We believe in the concept of being many things to many people and,
educationally. we're doing it!
THE FLORIDA JUNIOR COLLEGE AT JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA 32205 1
TIME. OCTOBER 25, 1968
HARRIETTE Y. DODSON
When Harriette began as a charter instructor at Cumberland Campus,
she taught six sections of English composition each term. The next year,
1967-68, she taught English and headed FJCs first remedial education
program. After working as an administrator for afew years, she returned
to the classroom in the early 70's. In recent years, she has teamed up with
Sharon Cleland on a number of instructional projects, including presenta-
tions at various workshops and conferences around the country.
When you start out with an institution as big as this one, it's
awfully hard to develop any kind of cohesion or feeling of unanimity.
In 1966 we had a rather large faculty who had never worked together.
Another problem was that the bulk of the faculty were terribly young.
We did wholesale hiring around here during the first few years and
took an awful lot of very unseasoned teachers.
I think the expectations sometimes were infinitely higher than
the College was able to offer, simply because we had not established
any tradition. You don't realize how much tradition saves you and
stabilizes you until you try to operate in a situation where there is
none. I've always felt that the lack of tradition was one of the biggest
problems that we had to overcome.
In the late 60's we were on the final edge of that great explosion
of educational hiring. Education had long been an area where there
was tremendous mobility. Then all of a sudden, everything dried up,
and an awful lot of our earlier faculty members never anticipated this
being their only job. I think the lack of job mobility brought a certain
amount of dissatisfaction among a lot of people here that really had
nothing to do with the College itself. But mostly I believe the frustra-
tion stemmed from the fact that there were so many of us, and we
were just very young.
I think it's just absolutely amazing that in twenty-five years we
have survived all these things. We have a good institution and an
excellent faculty. I never cease to be amazed at the intellectual level
of the group of people I work with. Anytime I sit down with a group
here, it's just a crackerjack experience. For years I had a coffee
break every morning with the same fellows, and I always left with a
certain wonderful feeling. We solved all the problems of the world,
and we knew everything would be all right for twenty-four hours until
we got back together. It's always interesting to me to have shared
experiences that cut across the various academic lines and make com-
munity-college teaching pleasant.
Before the College opened, the maintenance staff had six weeks
to prep those old Cumberland buildings. In most cases, they knocked
out one wall, hauled the debris out, and put desks in. I'll always
remember Gene Jones, a biology instructor who had come here from
JU. One morning he wandered into the coffee lounge with this glum
expression and said, "You know, this is the only institution of higher
learning anywhere in the world where you have to tell the class, 'Oops,
pardon me!' and you have to go jiggle the john because it's making
more noise than you are."
I was fresh out of graduate school, and I really thought I was hot
stuff. I'd stand up in my great professorial air and begin to wax on
some great lofty subject, and the door would open and this guy would
stick his head in and yell, "Say, lady, where's that sink I'm supposed to
take out?" That sort of thing just didn't do a thing for your appeal.
Monett Powers, who taught humanities, tried to give old
Cumberland some stature. Every couple of weeks she'd bring a hand-
ful of ivy to the campus and plant it. I think that was her attempt to
give our halls the hallowed ivy look, but it never worked. I suggested
kudzu because I thought it would do better here, but it didn't work
What were your students like in the early days?
Well, we ran the gamut. Here's an ad we placed in Time in 1968
that shows how diversified we became in just two years. We've always
had our share of students who are fairly competent, and, like any
community college, we've had a significant number of the immature
ones. We had the immaturity problem that first year because we were
dealing so much with first generation college students, and the par-
ents didn't know anything about a college either.
For example, one day a group of mothers came over here and
wanted to start a PTA. They thought the College really needed a PTA
with bake sales and things like that. (Laughs) They ran into poor old
Gil Schenkel, and he was just in a state of absolute shock trying to
explain to them that that was just not the kind of thing that we could
do. I always loved the first couple of years here when the mamas, who
were so conditioned to the deans in high school, would call me up and
tell me that Suzy couldn't come to school because she had a sore
throat. I always felt like saying, "Madame, after she's missed three
times, tell me she has the plague."
Also, a number of parents back then would come by to pick up the
"children." They were incensed when they went in and found the
"kids" playing cards in the student lounge. I heard one mother attack
a staff member and say, "By golly, I send my boy here at eight o'clock,
I pick him up at three, and I expect you to keep him working the
whole time." So in many cases we've had to educate not only the
students but also the community as to what a college is.
That first year we faculty were like characters in search of a play.
We were searching for something to pull us together. We talked about
setting aside a special day to celebrate the nine hundredth anniver-
sary of the Battle of Hastings, but we couldn't get it together. Then I
said, "Well, the next best holiday would be Guy Fawkes Day!" So we
had a celebration for Guy Fawkes, the guy in the seventeenth century
who concocted the abortive plot to blow up the English Parliament.
Joe Burt swept in with a group of his- music students, and they
sang and performed for our Guy Fawkes Day. All of us faculty dressed
elegantly for the occasion, and we gathered in a large open area that
was like a commons. We had speeches and attracted quite a crowd. I
think some of the students looked around the area and thought we
had lost our minds. We had a wonderful time. Guy Fawkes was great
fun, and it really brought people together.
The first year Cumberland Campus was like the lost colony. Ev-
ery so often a carload of administrators would descend on the campus
and walk around a while; then they would all leave and go back to the
Southside Campus. Gil Schenkel was the only administrator we had
I remember one night I had a lady in class who felt like she was
going to faint. I went dashing over to the first aid room to get some
smelling salts, but it was locked up in the safe. I was told that they
lock the stuff up when Mr. Schenkel leaves. I ran back to the lady and
said, "Honey, don't faint! I can't do anything for you!"
I also recall the Milli Barnert episode. Milli was a psychology
instructor who staged a protest because her contract wasn't being
renewed. She wanted a letter stating why she wasn't being rehired.
She camped out at the old Southside Campus overnight and spray-
painted a wall area; she wrote something like "The Letter!" in a ghastly
shade of paint.
We were having registration the next day, and everybody was re-
ally upset over the spray-painting, hands wringing and all that kind of
stuff. I said, "All you got to do is get a raft of butcher paper and tape it
up on the wall." So we papered over Milli's protest, and I took spray
paint and wrote something like "Welcome Students!" on the butcher
paper. When registration opened, the new sign looked really festive;
it looked just like we'd planned it.
Any other special memories or highlights?
I always thought one of the great moments was when we finally
moved into the new Kent Campus buildings. I felt sad when that last
old building was torn down, but then I felt like it was certainly time
for the old campus to go. I got a maintenance guy to get me fifteen
brass doorknobs from the old buildings. If I can ever find the time, I
plan to polish the doorknobs and give them to those near and dear as
paperweights; they make such nice gifts.
How about a word on your teamwork with Sharon Cleland?
It's the best kept secret in the world. We figured out years ago
that anytime we work together, we only have to work half as hard as
anybody else, which is wonderful, and the students benefit. When
Sharon moved to Kent in the 70's, we both got interested in crossword
puzzles. I found that the puzzles really helped my spelling. Every day
we'd do a puzzle, cut it out, and paste it up on the wall because our
office area was so bleak. It was cold and drafty too. We pasted
puzzles on our walls for over two years. When we left the old campus,
those walls were about three deep in crossword puzzles, but the insu-
lation was wonderful.
Anytime there's a contest in the newspaper, like a writing contest,
Sharon and I enter it and encourage our students to enter. We tell
them, "If you get your essay published and win $25, we'll give you an
A for the course." That's a wonderful incentive. Sharon and I have
also sent in recipes for cooking contests. We've written letters to the
editor, and we get our students to write letters. We spend a lot of time
trying to get our students to realize that writing is not something that's
isolated, that it's integral to your life.
You know, I've always felt very lucky because I chose community-
college teaching as a career. I did not come in by the back door as a
high school teacher. I wasn't a reject from a university; nor did I
come here because it happened to be the area where the most jobs
were available. I was very fortunate in the Florida State graduate
program to be associated with Ray Schultz, who was very important in
the early history of the community-college system in Florida. He
taught me a lot about the true nature of the community college. I
recognized early that I would have to teach many students who weren't
self-sufficient, and there was always going to be a lot of hands-on
work. Overall, my experience here has been very rewarding.
DIANNE N. BLADEL
Dianne recalls the collaborative learning experiences that she and other
colleagues shared at the Flagler Street Campus in 1966. Besides teaching,
which she has done for almost thirty years now, Dianne chaired the English
Department for seven years, first at the Flagler Campus and then for a time
at the Cumberland Campus.
Collaborative learning is an expression that is turning up in many
educational texts, articles, and lectures these days. It's a phrase that
triggers my reminiscences about the early days at Florida Junior Col-
lege. I start thinking about the informal and spontaneous sharing of
ideas among colleagues in our office areas.
The first time I saw the office space designated for about twenty
faculty in the original Flagler Street Campus of FJC, I was shocked!
Having taught previously at Englewood High School, I was accustomed
to having a classroom and desk that were essentially my personal
space. No wonder I was astounded to see about twenty desks crowded
into one large classroom. The aisles that existed on both sides of this
rectangular room barely accommodated one rotund faculty member.
Since there were no partitions or dividers, I could see that this chummy
arrangement was going to be a situation that would challenge any
person's powers of concentration.
However, as the first weeks of the fall term passed, I began to
have some positive experiences in this office environment. Having
colleagues from many disciplines natural science, social science,
geography, reading, and communication all housed together cer-
tainly provided ready consultants for any questions or allusions that I
encountered while planning lessons, studying texts, or grading pa-
pers. Since most of us faculty in this so-called "bull pen" had not
attended a community college nor had taught in one, we were able to
talk about strategies that would be effective with our students. By the
time Granville Diffie arrived as a reading and psychology teacher,
many of us had discussed our students' problems with reading the
college texts. Through our discussions in this crowded office area, I
feel we really did collaborate to improve our methods and adjust our
materials to better suit the students' needs.
As the enrollment at the Flagler Campus grew, the need for more
classroom space meant a change in our office arrangements. We fac-
ulty were dispersed to cubby-hole spaces throughout the building.
However, our habits of collaboration did continue. Debbie Dreher,
Jean Shepard, Edna Holland, and I shared many ideas for teaching
composition and literature in daily rap sessions on campus and at
great lunches at nearby Worman's Deli. When Earl Farris joined our
faculty, we gained not only an excellent teacher but also a great au-
dio-visual mentor. Earl patiently taught us how to set up and use
audio-visual tools, such as slide projectors and movie projectors. Thus,
this spirit of sharing and cooperation helped us meet the challenges
of teaching with limited resources.
When the Flagler Campus closed with the expansion of FJC into
larger multi-campus sites, I wondered if I would continue to have
these positive experiences with colleagues. With my transfer to the
Cumberland Campus, I was assigned to share office space with Marilyn
DeSimone and Lawton Green. Again I found myself in the company of
peers who were generous with books and handouts as well as willing
to talk about working with our students. Just a few feet away were
other professors who were available to collaborate on projects or to
study materials together. Since the old military housing grew more
and more uncomfortable and hazardous, I was delighted to see the
beautiful new Kent Campus become a reality. However, I'm very
grateful that our offices afford us the privacy to work individually but
also the proximity to talk, consult, and collaborate when we wish.
REGINALD F. TOUCHTON, SR.
"Reg is to the College as Shakespeare's clowns are to his plays: a
wonderful source of comic relief. Yet behind the buffoon, Reg is a serious
educator well organized, inquisitive, adaptable, eager to share ideas,
and, most of all really concerned for people, especially students." Thus a
colleague describes Reg, a veteran of the Korean War who taught for the
Duval County Board of Public Instruction before coming to FJC as a charter
instructor. He taught psychology and administered academic programs on
the Cumberland and North Campuses. He now teaches at Kent Campus.
The first day I got here in '66, there were two people who were
supposed to organize the Social Science Department. But they spent
more time bitchin' about the administration than they did telling us
about what we should do and how we should organize. Now, one of
them went on to teach. He probably stirred up more trouble among
students because he insisted on talking about Freudian ideas in a
very sexual way. He talked a lot about urinals in class and related
Freud to just about everything.
Wayne Mobley was another guy I remember. One time I was down
at the administration building and about fourteen people were down
there along with this top administrator. Wayne walked up to him and
set up some sort of hypothetical situation to see what this
administrator's opinion was. The hypothetical situation was akin to
something going on at the College. And when Wayne got him to the
end of it and got him to make a decision about this situation, the
decision was just the opposite of what the administrator was doing. So
Wayne made this guy look like a donkey. The guy stuttered and just
went on off. I moved away after Wayne did that because I realized
what he was doing. Wayne was good at those kinds of things. He was
extraordinarily bright and very verbal. He taught economics and the
Origins of American Society course. Wayne was in the same office
with Harriette Dodson for a short while. They were both very verbal,
but they didn't stay in the same office very long.
Harriette became a division chairman the same year Kermit Miller,
Ed Napier, Bobby Tullos, and I became division chairmen. One time
Kermit and Ed nailed the door to my office so I couldn't get out. I had
to crawl out the window. (Laughs) We used to have fun with my bicycle.
I'd ride it to work because I only lived three miles away. We would
ride it up and down this building that was completely gutted. Then
five offices were put on one side of it, and we'd slam on brakes and
leave tire marks all up and down the center of it. And we spent a lot
of time doing crossword puzzles. Harriette and Kermit would do the
real difficult ones, and Ed and I would do the simple ones. They'd be
done with the difficult ones before we got through with the simple
That Kermit's a smart character. He reads all kinds of philosophy
and psychology and Eastern meditation stuff. If you go up and talk to
him about it, he'll tell you about all kinds of things stuff that I've
read that I can't really understand.
The first three years of the College a lot of the faculty members
were just a little bit older than the students, and there was tremen-
dous rapport and friendship between them and the students. The stu-
dents would come to our offices and shoot the bull between 9:00 and
12:00 in the morning. Some of these students were in their late twen-
ties, maybe early thirties older than the younger faculty. We dubbed
one of them "Crash" because he rode a motorcycle. Robert "Crash"
Kuderick! Another one we dubbed "Lard" because he was kind of
heavy. Jere "Lard" Latimer! Every time I'd come back from class
there'd be students in the office area. Old Cumberland Campus, you
know, had been Navy housing, so teacher offices were in old living
quarters. There'd be two instructors in the living room, one in the
kitchen, and two in the bedroom, (Laughs) while two or three would be
out teaching class. We'd talk about everything, probably more sex
than anything 'cause you know how nasty students are. (Laughs)
There was one young lady I wish Ted Wattron was here; he
could tell you her name she was one real, real good looking woman.
She had fantastic legs. In those days short skirts were coming in. And
she would always sit up in the first row of every class she went in.
She had a tremendous personality, too. She was the topic of many
conversations, plus she came in the office herself. She was one of the
ones that was real friendly.
The first year Gil Schenkel was the only administrator we had at
Cumberland. The next year, Erskine Key was put in charge of the
campus. Key was a real good guy. He would let us go into his office
and sit down in three's and four's and just really get all our gripes off
of our chests. That's why he was well liked.
Bruce Wilson was good at getting colleges started. He came into a
very political situation here when the school board was in charge of
FJC, and he did a good job dealing with that situation initially. His
big problem was that he could not delegate authority. One year he
called all the administrators in, just about three days before school
started, and he said, "All right, let's talk about some things that need
to be checked on. Do the faculty members have paper clips? Do they
have pencils? Have the windows been washed?" To me, this was
something that a president shouldn't be worrying about. But I guess
the fact that he was worried about it indicated that at least his heart
was in the right place.
Do you work at being funny, or does it come naturally?
Well, you know, it's funny. If somebody asks me to put on a show,
I have a difficult time doing it. But if they just tell me to come in and
I'm not expected to do anything, I probably will act funny. Basically,
I'm a shy person, but I can break the monotony by acting silly. One
day at North Campus I just kicked off my shoes while I was teaching,
maybe to break the monotony, I don't know. It was so comfortable I
stuck with it and do it all the time now.
How's your teaching changed over the years?
When I first came to FCCJ, I lectured. Then back in the late 60's
and early 70's when so much innovation was going on, I made a lot of
changes. A number of faculty members at North and South Campus
started using learner performance objectives (LPO's) even before Wygal
got started in that stuff. We experimented with a core program and
with cognitive mapping, which is teaching students the way they learn
best. Theoretically these approaches are super, but in practice they're
hard to do, especially the LPO's the way we were told to do them
when Wygal tried to mandate 'em.15 So I just sort of drifted back to
lecturing in survey courses like general psych. The problem with cog-
nitive mapping was that we did not have all the materials we needed,
and we didn't have instructors to take care of those who learned best
by group work and those who did best with independent learning.
We had another program at North Campus with Jon Taylor teach-
ing reading, Patti Hutchings for English, Pat Green for psychology,
and Ted Wattron for sociology. I recruited about thirty students at
registration each term regular students, not developmental types.
Ted and Pat would give them reading assignments, and when the stu-
dents went to the reading class, Jon Taylor would help them focus on
reading social science materials. And when Ted and Pat gave a writing
assignment, Patti would help the students write for the social science
classes. This way what the students wrote for social science was
evaluated as an English assignment, too. There were also tapes for
these courses, and the students would have to go to the lab and listen
to certain kinds of lectures on audio tapes. The classes in this team-
teaching program were not just lectures; they also involved group
discussions. We didn't run any kind of analysis to see how effective
the program was, but the students really got into it and really liked it.
Then we took the developmental program that was set up by
Harriette Dodson and Paul Trautmann. It was a non-credit program
at first. The students would take the Nelson-Denny Reading Test.
Those who scored lowest, it was my job as division chairman to talk
them into taking the developmental program. Sometimes Wilber Heath
would help me do this. The counselors really didn't give us as much
support as we would have liked because counselors don't like (or
didn't then) to put students in non-credit programs, but they didn't
hinder us, so that was good.
Everybody who worked in the North Campus Developmental Pro-
gram had input into it. We had many hours of round table discussions.
The faculty were excellent: Patti Hutchings and Millie Fritts in En-
glish, Marcia Bain in math, Billy Weaver in counseling and psychol-
ogy. Later, Alice Grant came on and helped with reading and English.
Brenda Simmons taught English and Sara Mae Richardson taught math.
They were all fine teachers, too.
After the developmental program got started, we came up with
the idea of giving credit for developmental courses. The students
were informed that they still had to attain the same level as a regular
class, and that they might not make it in one semester. I went to Gary
Lott, the academic dean then, and explained to him what we wanted
to do about making the classes credit types. He said, "Go to it!" Gary
was one super guy.
The developmental students went five days a week for three cred-
its. Most of them did not make it in one semester because we had a
lot of students that read below the seventh grade level, and their
writing was down there with it. Because of the personalities of the
teachers, the students would real often come back without griping
and take courses more than one semester. The teachers were patient
and taught in such a way that the students could see graphically the
improvement they were making. Also, the classes were kept small,
twenty or less. We set up a developmental lab, too. We tried desper-
ately to get them to take reading and writing concurrently for rein-
I remember John Roueche came here from the University of Texas.
We showed him what we were doing in developmental education, and
he was really impressed. He wrote a book called Overcoming Learn-
ing Problems (1977) and mentioned five four-year universities and
five community colleges in the U.S. that had model developmental
programs. FJC North Campus was one of the five community colleges.
Roueche also came by to see our program while he was teaching here
in the Nova University doctoral program. He's one bright guy. He
could meet you and not see you again for three years and come up to
you and call you by name.
Any final comment as we conclude here?
Well, I've been here since this place opened, and I'd say commu-
nications at all levels has been our big problem. I really don't know
what the solution is. All these superfluous memos and paper they
keep stuffing in our mailboxes aren't improving things either. I'm the
kind of personality that can tolerate poor communication because I
can go with the flow. I can tolerate conflict and ambiguity. All I ask is
that I be left alone to do my job in the classroom.
By and large, we've had pretty complete academic freedom here.
That has been one of our biggest strengths.
Herman tosses his gym togs on a chair and plops on the sofa of his
Forbes Street apartment. He has just returned from a workout at the YMCA
and is eager to talk about some experiences- he had in the early days.
Herman came to Florida from New York where he retired as a public school
teacher. He retired from FJC in 1974. He is 86 years young.
I began teaching in those old buildings which formed the old
Cumberland Campus. They had toilets, bathrooms, gas heaters, and
kitchen stoves, and before World War II, families lived in them. When
the war began, they were turned over to the U.S. military. And, lo and
behold, when the Junior College came along years later, those little,
old-fashioned shacks became the classrooms for half of the Junior
College, and it was known as the Cumberland Campus off Cumberland
Talk about primitive things which reminds me of the old tale. I
believe it was Mark Hopkins who said, "Give me the students at one
end of a log and me at the other, and I will give them an education."
That's the comparison that I can make: we taught in primitive condi-
tions, and we did good work.
These buildings had no air conditioning, and it was hotter than
hell with students sitting there suffering. There were no fans. Well,
Dr. Bruce Wilson, the president, and I were both cigar smokers. One
day he came around, and I let go at him about the fans. And what do
you know? I was the first one to get a big fan in my classroom. He
already had air conditioning in his office, and later some of the others
got fans, but I was number one. As far as winter went, well, they had
the gas heaters which we would turn on in the morning and pray the
fool things wouldn't explode. Still, we taught and did good work.
These buildings were on the highway with a railroad nearby, and
the trucks and trains raised merry "H." Oh, the noise! The buildings
were so situated that one instructor stormed into Dr. Wilson's office
squawking, "If you can't find me a place off this road to teach, I'm
leaving this institution." Well, my building was right on the edge of the
expressway, and coming in for an eight o'clock class, you could park
your car right near the building, and students parked there too. No
one had preference for parking. If the student got there ahead of the
teacher and he wasn't afraid of the teacher, he could take place one.
That was democracy in education.
Well, one morning before eight I drove up to my building. The
sun had hardly risen, and the freight trains and trucks were really
going strong. Oh, Lord, the noise and racket! I was suffering like Job
from noise pollution. I knew full well we'd get this racket in the
classrooms when we taught. I jumped out of my car, raised my fist
and began to cuss. Just then an attractive young lady drove up next to
me. I turned red, white, and blue. I didn't know what to say. She
looked at me and said, "That's okay, Mr. Elson, I am a nurse." Well, we
had that racket constantly in those buildings, but we taught, and we
got good results, I understand, from what I heard from the records of
students who went on to the universities.
Those buildings had no chalkboards or blackboards. Without a
board a math teacher is like a cripple without crutches. So I went
after the maintenance men to get some chalkboards. After I pestered
them for a few weeks, they brought back two big boards, and finally I
even got a portable board which, of course, is a joy for a mathemati-
But before they did that, they were going to square accounts with
me. One made a little chalkboard, no bigger than a large-size text-
book. He even put a tray under it just big enough for a person stand-
ing close to it to read. He said, "Here is your chalkboard." And they
laughed at me. Of course, we were all plaguing the maintenance
people because we were wandering around all over the place squawk-
ing for things. It's hard to describe how we had to scrounge for our
An amusing thing occurred in an advanced algebra class. I got
involved in a demonstration which took many steps and filled up the
whole chalkboard. This wide-awake young veteran in the back raised
his hand and said, "Mr. Elson, if you handle it this way, you can get
through in two or three steps." He was correct. So I looked at him and
said, "All right, by golly, you're right. I cannot deny you a mark of
credit for that. But for showing the old man up, I'll also put a demerit
against your name." I was joking of course. I ran into him a few years
ago, and he reminded me about it and we had a good laugh. The
veterans always liked me, so I was told. Why, I don't know.
I remember a calculus section I once had. There were thirty in it,
and some were brilliant boys. Talk about dedication! There I was
Sunday, weekends, giving them work to do and checking it, making
sure the student wasn't copying. If he made an error in arithmetic,
you look for a mistake in arithmetic. Or he may have made a mistake
in elementary algebra. Then you look back further to see if he's got
the calculus series straight. All that took hours and hours just like
the time you English teachers spend on those themes. The mathemati-
cian hammers and hammers and hammers, and hopes that he's ham-
mered through and got it right, but you people with those themes! You
have my sympathy.
Over the years did you see more students getting interested in
math or having more of an aptitudefor it?
No, I don't think so. I would say it's the same as it was. A high per-
centage of them avoid it. But, you know, the demand has grown more