THROUGH THREE DECADES
LUDD MYRL SPIVEY
Dean, Birmingham-Southern College, 1922-1925
President, Florida Southern College: Elected, June, 1925;
inaugurated, January 27, 1926
At Florida Southern College
Published upon the Thirtieth Anniversary of
LUDD MYRL SPIVEY
As President of the College
CHARLES T. THRIFT, JR.
THE FLORIDA SOUTHERN COLLEGE PRESS
Copyright, 1955, by Florida Southern College
MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
I. Over the Years, 1925-1955 ................ 7
II. The Struggle for Survival, 1925-1935 ....... 16
III. Expansion and War, 1935-1945 ........... 25
IV. Wider Horizons, 1945-1955 ............... 33
POSTSCRIPT The Roots Run Deep, 1845-1925 39
APPEN DIX ...................... ...... 44
Honor Walk Students
Queens: "Miss Southern"
OVER THE YEARS
LITTLE WONDER that a Baltimore journalist wrote in
1925, after describing several Florida colleges, "and
of Southern College I hear, but its habitat I could never
discover," for in its forty years of continuous existence
up to that time the institution had used four different
names in five different Florida cities under eleven dif-
The Florida boom was still spiraling towards its
peak when Ludd Myrl Spivey assumed the College
presidency in the summer of 1925 and when he was
formally inaugurated some months later.
In 1925 Lakeland had been the home of the College
but three years and there were only two buildings and
a substantial building and operating debt. The build-
ings were designated officially as the Hall for Women
and the Social Hall, these names giving way a decade
later to Joseph-Reynolds Hall and Edge Hall. The debt
was in excess of $400,000 and it was a decade before
it was removed, a substantial building program in-
augurated, the College fully accredited, and once again
the name changed, this time to Florida Southern College.
Thus by 1955 Florida Southern College has been un-
8 Through Three Decades
der one president for thirty years, in Lakeland for thirty-
three years, and has kept its present name for twenty
years. This is nearly triple the length of tenure of any
former president, nearly double the length of stay in any
one city, but only two-thirds as long as it kept the name
The three decades of College activity since 1925
are well rooted in a past much longer than the forty
years since 1885, from which date the College traces
only its continuous history. Florida Methodists' activity
in behalf of education reached back almost a century
by the time 1925 rolled around, as is recounted in the
Postscript of this volume.
The Florida boom was partly responsible for the
Dean of Birmingham-Southern College accepting the
presidency of Southern College in 1925. President
Spivey has related many times how while on his way
to see the College for the first time and meet with the
trustees he was unable to secure a hotel room in Tampa.
A stranger tendered his room for the placing of a cot if
the hotel did not object. The stranger proved to be a
real estate speculator who kept the prospective President
awake most of the night with stories of how he had made
$100,000 that day and the manner in which he ex-
pected to make $200,000 the next. With such an intro-
duction to Florida, the trustees had an eager and en-
thusiastic candidate the next day. One of the stories,
never admitted or denied, growing out of this occasion
has it that during the hour the Board was debating
Over the Years 9
whether to elect Dr. Spivey, he went out and cleared
$1,000 on a real estate transaction.
This same boom, with its fading, soon presented the
new President with grave problems which turned his
first decade into an unexpected one of a struggle for
survival of the college. Continued existence of the
College was not assured until the waning days of the
first decade. Survival assured, the second decade was
launched with an ambitious building program, a pro-
gram inadvisable until the mortgage on all the exist-
ing plant and property had been removed. The latter
half of the second decade saw wartime restrictions re-
tard building expansion. The third decade was ushered
in with a greatly enlarged building program and a large
student body which for the first time in the history of
the College contained more men than women. Annual
graduating classes soon began to exceed the total num-
ber of 221 graduated from the College during the entire
forty years prior to 1925.
The total cost for room, board, and tuition in 1926
was $450. This amount increased to $501 in 1927 and
remained there until 1933 when it dropped to $426.
Fees were not raised again until 1940, when the total
reached $540. The changing economic situation has
required a number of additional increases until at the
present time the total cost for a year is approximately
a thousand dollars.
From a total of two buildings in 1925 located in the
midst of the new 78 acre citrus grove campus, now
10 Through Three Decades
more than forty buildings have risen and citrus trees
are in a steady retreat. Only 304 resident and 92 ex-
tension students, taught by a faculty of 20, made use
of the College during the first twelve months of Presi-
dent Spivey's administration. The thirtieth year finds
more than 1,600 full time students during the regular
academic year and a total of approximately 3,000 dif-
ferent students enrolled in some part of the College
during the past twelve months. The faculty has num-
bered more than a hundred for the past eight years.
Student life has undergone marked changes during
the thirty years, the introduction of fraternities and
sororities being perhaps the most significant factor.
These social organizations were permitted for the first
time in the history of the College in the autumn of
1925 and have become an integral part of student life
during the ensuing decades, now numbering nine na-
tional fraternities and eight national sororities. The
final shift in the emphasis in the athletic program from
an intercollegiate to an intramural program at the start
of the second decade and the construction early in the
third decade of sufficient facilities to house all students,
men and women, on the campus constitute the other
far-reaching developments in student life.
The Honor Walk and Founder's Week were started
during President Spivey's first decade and have con-
tinued to the present. The Honor Walk was dedicated
on March 31, 1931, and included the names of one
outstanding graduate from a graduating class since the
founding of the College. One name has been added an-
nually ever since, the selection originally being made by
the faculty of the senior deemed "most likely to suc-
Over the Years 11
ceed." The manner and basis of selection has varied
only slightly in the ensuing years. The names of the
Honor Walk students during the past three decades are
found in the Appendix. A queen, called "Miss South-
ern," has been chosen by the student body each spring
since 1938, and these names may also be found in the
The custom of holding an annual Founder's cele-
bration was inaugurated in March, 1934. Then, for the
first time, an honorary chancellor for a year was chosen.
The names of the honorary chancellors are listed in the
Appendix. The most memorable of the Founders'
Week celebrations were those of 1935 and 1945. Each
of these marked the passing of a decade of President
Spivey's administration and that of 1935 coincided
with the fiftieth anniversary of the College and was
called the Golden Jubilee Celebration. The E. T.
Roux Library was dedicated at the observance in 1945
to which more than fifty colleges and universities sent
The coming of world-famous Frank Lloyd Wright
as college architect in 1938 has profoundly influenced
the life of the College during the intervening years.
The whole style of campus architecture has been changed
and the buildings erected under Mr. Wright's guid-
ance have proved of great interest to the public as well
as to students of architecture.
The most significant changes in the financial struc-
ture of the College during the decades are as follows:
from an operating budget in 1925 of $113,993.74 (with
a deficit of $22,252.91) to the current one of $1,204,416;
from little or no endowment to a productive one of more
12 Through Three Decades
than a million and a half dollars; from an overwhelming
building and operating debt to a balanced budget and
and outstanding obligations arranged on long-term
installment contracts, such as through the Federal
Housing Authority. There have been no operating defi-
cits during the past thirty years.
President Spivey has given remarkable leadership
to all these changes during the past three decades.
Hundreds of individuals have worked with him to make
all this progress possible and these four groups in par-
ticular should be singled out for recognition: The trus-
tees of the college, the Methodists of Florida (individual-
ly and through the Florida Conference), citizens of
Lakeland, and, especially, the faculty of the College.
The self-sacrificing men and women who have consti-
tuted the faculty during the past thirty years have given
loyally of their minds and their material wealth to
enable the College to survive and grow. Leadership
and membership in the groups enumerated has changed
rapidly during the decades and to try to name the hun-
dreds of individuals who have contributed to the
progress of the College is impossible. Those with es-
pecially long periods of service deserve special mention,
brief though it is.
Only two people now connected with the College
have served it continuously for more than the three
decades under review. Dr. Robert S. Bly had been
Professor of Chemistry one year in 1925 and he still
serves with distinction in that capacity. Will Stewart,
genially known as "vice-president" to many generations
of students, helped move the College to Lakeland and
has served successively as janitor, gardener, cook, cus-
Over the Years 13
todian, and general assistant to everyone, and is still
serving nobly in the latter capacity.
Three other members of the present college com-
munity were present as students President Spivey's first
year in 1925. They are Miss Oween Sumner, Librarian,
Corning F. Tolle, Business Manager, and Harris G.
Sims, later a member of the faculty and director of
Public Relations, Secretary of the Board of Trustees.
Each of these three is distinguished as having been chosen
as an Honor Walk student. Dr. Charles A. Vannoy,
now retired, was the first member of the faculty em-
ployed by President Spivey (1925) and he served until
his retirement in 1953. Dr. Samuel Gwynn Coe joined
the faculty the following year in 1926 as Professor
of History and still serves in that capacity. Dr. Maurice
Mulvania and Marguerite Wills (Callahan) likewise
joined the faculty in 1926; Thelma Hall (Ellison) was
a faculty member from 1923 to 1927. Dr. Mulvania
has been retired since 1947, and the other two are
presently members of the faculty though they have not
served continuously. Mr. Henry Green Barnett has
been a member of the faculty since 1927.
The late Walter O. Ropp, who died in 1952, was a
member of the faculty longer than anyone else in
the history of the College. He joined the staff in 1914
and, except for an interruption of three years starting
in 1918, was a member until his death, serving the
greater portion of the time as buisar.
Dr. Carl S. Cox, supervising principal of the Lakeland
Public Schools, was Dean of the College in 1925 and
remained in that capacity until 1933 when he resigned
to accept his present position.
14 Through Three Decades
Other faculty members, either active, retired, or
who have died in service, who have served at least twenty
of the past thirty years include Howard J. Barnum and
Helen Wood Barnum, retired; George F. Scott (also a
member of the Board of Trustees) and William E.
DeMelt, who served successively as professor, dean, and
registrar, deceased; and James C. Peel (Dean of the
College since 1944), Yvonne Strickland (Goldsborough),
Bernhard P. Reinsch, and Charles W. Hawkins, active.
The late Dr. John F. Wilson became college physician
in 1922 and served for twenty-four years. The names
of other long time members of the faculty are included
in the Appendix.
No member of the Board of Trustees has served con-
tinuously through the three decades. Dr. J. H. Daniel,
now Superintendent of the Lakeland District of the
Methodist Church, is the only present member of the
Board (though he has not served continuously) who
was on the original board that invited President Spivey
to the institution.
J. Edgar Wall, a member of the board since 1914
and its chairman since 1919, continued to serve in that
capacity until June, 1954, when ill health forced him
to resign from the chairmanship, but he continued his
board membership until his death in December, 1954.
His long and distinguished service to the College is
memorialized in the J. Edgar Wall Waterdome dedicated
Over the Years 15
Edwin T. Roux, elected to the board in 1918, became
its treasurer in 1919 and served in that capacity until
his death in 1946. Mr. Roux's benefactions to the col-
lege were numerous and extended over many years. He
provided housing for the College in his hotel at Clear-
water Beach when the building at Sutherland burned in
1921, and he made possible the present library build-
ing dedicated in 1945 as the E. T. Roux Library. Mrs.
E. T. Roux has continued to serve on the board since
her husband's death.
L. N. Pipkin was elected vice-chairman of the board
in 1921 and continued to serve in that capacity until
shortly before his death in 1954. Like his fellow of-
ficers, his benefactions were extensive over a long period
of time, the band shell and athletic field being among
parts of the College program having been made possible
by his generosity; both these bear his name.
Many others, however, have rendered notable service
on the Board during the three decades by either long
tenure, generous benefactions, or both. Among these
should be mentioned E. E. Edge, F. D. Jackson, George
F. Scott, R. B. Gilbert, R. Ira Barnett, L. P. McCord,
R. L. Cline, J. A. Randall, O. E. Rice, G. S. Roberts,
J. P. Hilburn (a former President of the College), Calvin
A. West, Eleanor Searle Whitney, P. M. Boyd, R. L.
Allen, L. Day Edge, and Harris Sims.
Dr. Shade W. Walker, a former President of the Col-
lege, though not on the board in 1925, has been a mem-
ber for many years. The names of the trustees since
1925 will be found in the Appendix.
THE STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL
POVERTY IN PLENTY was the situation at Southern
College in the summer of 1925-poverty of good
hard dollars and plenty of paper prosperity all around.
The College's situation was but little different from
that of many citizens and most enterprises in the state.
The College was being swept along in the state's tidal
wave of expansion, credit, and presumably inevitable
wealth. Promises against the prospective golden harvest
were easily made and more eagerly accepted for it never
occurred to anyone to ask for a payment on a pledge
because to deprive a Floridian of one of the dollars with
which he could make two each successive tomorrow
Even the students of the College, a College already
pauperized with bountiful promises, were part and parcel
of the prevailing philosophy of boundless plenty. When
a great million dollar campaign was launched by Presi-
dent Spivey in 1926, the College chapel service was
chosen as the place for the start. Enthusiastic students
began to pledge so much that the meeting was hastily
adjourned to keep the officials from being embarrassed
by having most of their goal subscribed in the initial
The Struggle for Survival 17
Promising money, especially to this million dollar cam-
paign, was deemed a privilege and when in less than six
months nearly a million and a quarter dollars had been
pledged by considerately less than half the state the
Florida Conference complained that it would be unjust
to the remainder of the state to deprive them from par-
ticipating just because the goal had been exceeded.
Consequently, the campaign was extended, but by the
following year, in June, 1927, the Conference noted
that "circumstances beyond control of human equation
have brought us to realize but a small amount collected
from the pledges that were secured and it seems wise to
those having charge of the campaign not to make a
canvass of the entire Conference."
In these few words is summarized the story of
Florida's "Boom and Bust." The only tangible result of
the campaign was a small dormitory for men, costing
about $25,000. This little building has since been used
successively as a laboratory school and the home of the
Division of Music. The keynote for the remainder of
the decade was not expansion, but survival-a grim and
desperate struggle for survival!
The balance sheet for June 30, 1925, which greeted
the new president on his arrival had these discouraging
Endowment $ 1,208.00
Operating deficit 1924-1925 22,252.91
Additional non-operating expense 1924-1925 40,002.75
18 Through Three Decades
Current: Notes and Accounts Payable 231,155.92
Fixed: Bonds and Trust Fund 212,500.00
The budget expenditures for operating that year were
$113,993.74 and the total income was $22,252.91 short
of meeting the amount spent.
The endowment for the year was reported as $1,-
208.00 in bonds which brought an income of $40 and
the campus grove which showed a net profit of $3,-
701.30 for the year.
Sizeable amounts had been borrowed from almost
every bank within forty miles and from some beyond
this distance and there were seventy-two accounts pay-
able to local business firms.
To facilitate the borrowing of money and the renewing
of notes, which necessitated authorization by the exec-
utive committee, the College maintained a motorcycle
messenger to collect the signatures as needed, which
was usually daily.
In an effort to bolster the tottering financial con-
dition of the College, the east twenty acres of the cam-
pus were sold for a real estate development. While this
brought in a small down payment, this transaction was
in the long run to prove an embarrassment, for when the
developer was unable to meet his payments and title
was finally restored to the College, huge tax bills had
accumulated for the years the property was in private
hands and had to be paid.
The ill-fated million-dollar campaign which has
already been mentioned was requested by President
Spivey only eight weeks after his arrival, because the
The Struggle for Survival 19
needs were so pressing. The new president, together
with Dr. A. Fred Turner, as conference secretary of
Education, evangelized the state about the needs of the
College, but in the final analysis secured almost no
The College found itself in 1927 no longer able to
borrow money. The struggle for survival became more
difficult, but at this juncture the Florida Conference at-
tempted in June, 1927, to assume the obligations of
the College by voting to issue bonds in its own name to
the extent of $225,000. This action was rescinded on
February 28, 1928, and bonds to the amount of $325,-
000 were authorized, with the Conference's annual ap-
propriation to the college diverted to meet payments on
the bonds. This action not only deprived the College
of the money it had been receiving for operating ex-
penses but proved inadequate to provide sufficient
revenue to support the bonds. By 1933 this method of
financing the College debt was producing only several
thousand dollars a year and was abandoned as a failure.
Meanwhile, searching for other sources of funds,
President Spivey organized in the spring and summer
of 1928 what he called the Believers Club. Membership
fee was set at one dollar and $25,000 was raised in this
manner, $10,000 coming from the city of Lakeland.
With the economy of the country deteriorating rapid-
ly, the struggle for survival seemed lost when the Board
of Trustees virtually determined at a morning session
in 1933 to close the College. After a hearty lunch and
more deliberation, the President was permitted to con-
tinue to endeavor to operate the College.
In spite of all kinds of financial difficulties connected
20 Through Three Decades
with continued operation, by 1933 the indebtedness
of the college had been reduced substantially. The in-
debtedness in 1933 was determined to be $316,000 and
it should be remembered that the financial structure of
the country had changed sharply since this debt was
originally incurred in the prosperity of the mid-twenties.
Friends rallied to the cause and after long negotiations
with the bondholders, President Spivey was able to
announce in 1935 that the indebtedness was removed.
Long delayed dreams of expansion might now be
Buildings were needed, but there was little building
done during the decade. The small dormitory for men
built in 1926, a new heating plant, and a gymnasium
comprised the entire building program.
The dormitory, costing $25,000, has already been
described as the only tangible result of the ill-fated
million dollar campaign. One of the most unpopular
actions of the decade is associated with this dormitory
for men, for when it was opened, it was decreed that
henceforce the men would no longer eat with the
women, but in their own new building. This arrange-
ment lasted but a few months!
The gymnasium (dismantled in 1935) was con-
structed in 1927 with donated labor, largely from stu-
dents, and almost entirely from salvaged lumber. The
resulting building was far more than a gymnasium and
soon became the center of much of the student life.
The Struggle for Survival 21
On one occasion half the roof was blown off during a
hurricane. Six classrooms and a stage for dramatic
productions were included, and the main room served
as the college auditorium.
The College began the decade with two buildings
and ended it, still inadequately housed, with four.
The decade witnessed four significant matters that
related to the curriculum and its administration. Two of
these, the introduction of a summer session and the
change to the quarter system, were closely related and
pertained to campus instruction, while the other two,
the establishment of the Ringling School of Art and the
Community College, endeavored to broaden the con-
tributions to life of the region.
The first summer session was held in 1927 and sum-
mer sessions have been held annually since. The
summer term was made a full quarter and the older
semester system was replaced with a quarter plan for
the regular academic year. This was the first college
summer school in Florida to be made an integral part
of the regular academic program. The quarter plan
remained in effect until 1950, when the semester
system was adopted to conform to the system in general
use throughout the state.
The Community College originated in 1926 to make
college courses available to adults who could not attend
as regular students. Classes were held one afternoon dur-
ing the week and on Saturday morning. The largest
attendance was from among teachers in the public
22 Through Three Decades
schools of the area and at times more than five hundred
have been enrolled. This program still continues but has
shifted largely to evening classes composed almost en-
tirely of veterans.
The Ringling Art School and Junior College was
founded at Sarasota in 1931, under the leadership of
President Spivey who served as Director. When Mr.
John Ringling, of circus fame, was unable to provide the
promised liberal financial support, the College withdrew
from this project after little more than a year.
Student life and enthusiasm were influenced by the
struggle for survival, but were by no means suppressed.
Chicken was rarely on the cafeteria menu but not even
this shortage of food served to dampen school spirit,
particularly the rivalry with Stetson. At the outset of
this period, all men, students and faculty were required
to wear coats when on the campus. All complained,
but one member of the faculty found some consolation
in the fact that, he wrote, "to balance against this dire
deed, all women students were required to wear stock-
ings along with their modest but unattractive bathing
Enrollment of regular students reached a peak of
513 for the decade in 1934-1935. The lowest enroll-
ment was 234 in 1932-1933, while the annual average
for the ten years was 367, with the number of women
always about double the number of men.
A new athletic field on the northeast corner of the
campus was dedicated in October, 1926. (This same
The Struggle for Survival 23
field was greatly enlarged in 1953 and named for Mr.
L. N. Pipkin.) It was on this field that Southern played
the University of Chattanooga for the conference foot-
ball championship in 1928. The expense of fielding an
intercollegiate football team became so great that follow-
ing the 1929 season, the athletic program was changed
to an intramural one. An intercollegiate football team
was fielded again, but following the 1934 season it
reverted to an intramural basis where a modified type
of "tag" game was developed and has so remained through
the years. Canoe racing on Lake Hollingsworth was
the earliest of the intramural sports, dating from the
year the College moved to Lakeland. Intercollegiate
crew races have been held on the lake in recent years.
Establishment of the Honor Walk in 1931 and the
introduction of fraternities and sororities in 1925 have
already been noted. Social life at Sutherland and in
the early Lakeland days had largely centered around
the literary societies, but these societies were losing their
popularity and dropped out of existence as the popularity
of the new fraternities and sororities increased.
One of the new entries appearing in the financial
statement for the first time at the end of President
Spivey's first year read: Fixed Assets: Livestock ... $300.
This meant that the new president was leaving no
method for aiding the College untried. When local
dairies refused further credit, he purchased cows to
provide milk for the cafeteria, and it is reported that on
24 Through Three Decades
more than one occasion at milking time, he had to
round up the cattle from along the then alligator in-
fested shores of Lake Hollingsworth. When local dealers
could no longer provide chickens on credit for the
dining hall, this item was placed on the menu only
when students could drive as far as Arcadia to secure
chickens from a man there who was paying off his
college debts in chickens. This livestock venture was of
short duration, but twenty years later a livestock entry
reappeared, this time reading: Rabbits-$900. This
resulted from a student who raised rabbits for market,
settling her account with some of her livestock. When
the College went in the rabbit business, chicken again
almost disappeared from the menu, just as it did still
another time when a student paid her fees in fish, fresh
Social Hall was renamed Edge Hall honoring the
late Mr. E. E. Edge, as a part of the first annual
Founders' Week program in 1935. Mr. Edge had served
as a trustee for many years. He had been very generous
in his contributions to the College and he was one of the
trustees who had assumed personal responsibility for the
debt so that the original Lakeland buildings might be
constructed. His son, L. Day Edge, continues to serve
on the board.
The saddest event of the entire decade, both in the
life of the College and of the President, was the death
during the commencement season, in May, 1932, of
Allan Spivey, seven-year-old son of President and Mrs.
EXPANSION AND WAR
CCREDITATION AND a new name marked the auspi-
Scious beginning for the decade of expansion. Full
accreditation was given in December, 1935, and Presi-
dent Spivey's return from the meeting of the Southern
Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, where
the action was taken, became the occasion of a parade
and celebration by the people of Lakeland. The name
had been changed to Florida Southern College some
Expansion followed close on the heels of the victory
in the struggle for survival. Buildings, students, faculty,
library, curriculum, endowment-expansion in all these
areas was visualized. The most pressing need was for
buildings and to the erection of buildings the President
devoted himself with characteristic zeal. Few days have
passed since the building program was launched in
1935 that construction was not underway on some new
campus building. The struggle to expand at times
rivaled the struggle to survive in hardships and problems.
"I merely plant the buildings and then have to wait
26 Through Three Decades
to see if they will grow," is a favorite expression of
Dr. Spivey's. Not one building has failed to grow, but
it is equally true that each was begun as a venture of
faith, for in not a single instance was the money in hand
for the completion of the building when it was "planted."
The long list of buildings erected during the decade
is headed by Allan Spivey Hall, which was projected in
1935 and on which work started in January, 1936, as a
memorial to the President's late son. The erection of
this building necessitated the demolition of the gym-
nasium. When completed in 1937 the building provided
a second dormitory for women and twenty-one class-
rooms. These were the first permanent classrooms on
the campus, earlier ones being temporary or improvised.
Two methods which aided this building to "grow"
were the campaigns to get friends to buy bricks for a
dollar each and to sell scholarships for future use. A
few of these scholarships are still being used, and a mem-
ber of the class of 1955 has attended College on one of
these scholarships purchased by his father nineteen
Other buildings followed rapidly, with the Ruel B.
Gilbert Gymnasium, the Frank D. Jackson Student
Activity Building, and the President's Home being
erected in 1937. The gymnasium and student activity
buildings were made possible largely through the help
of the friends for whom they were named.
The Hindu Temple, with its surrounding Garden
of Meditation, is a charming little structure which was
erected in 1938. The late Frederick Bohn Fisher, guest
at Founder's Week in 1938, decided that the hillside
overlooking Lake Hollingsworth was a perfect setting
Expansion and War 27
for the little shrine he had brought from Benares, India,
and here it was erected.
The Little Theater building dates from 1938 and the
present R.O.T.C. building from 1939. The latter of
these has been the most versatile building on the campus
and has had an unusual history. Erected originally as a
skating rink, the building was later converted into an
auditorium to house the sessions of the Florida Con-
ference, and in 1946 it was rebuilt for the college art
department. When the R.O.T.C. was established in
1951, the building became the unit's headquarters and
was immediately dubbed "The Little Pentagon."
The most unique building of the entire decade was
constructed at almost no expense in 1938. This was the
popular "outdoor-chapel" constructed adjacent to the
south side of the new gymnasium by placing Spanish
Moss on a wire frame to form a roof. The popularity
of this structure lay in the fact that chapel usually had
to be cancelled on cold or rainy days though Dr. E.
Stanley Jones spoke there once in the rain. It was dis-
mantled when the new chapel was completed in 1942.
The coming of Mr. Frank Lloyd Wright as campus
architect in 1938 ushered in an entirely new era in
building and architecture. The cornerstone of the first
of the Wright buildings was laid by Dr. E. Stanley Jones
in 1938. This building, given by Mrs. Annie Pfeiffer
and named in her honor, was dedicated by Bishop
Arthur Moore during Founders' Week, 1941. Three
seminar buildings (named for Miss Cora Carter, Miss
Isabel Walbridge and Charles W. Hawkins) and the
L. N. Pipkin Bandshell were also dedicated at the same
time. These buildings, like the E. T. Roux library that
28 Through Three Decades
was to follow, were all "planted" on faith by the Presi-
dent and their completion made possible by generous
friends of the College. Construction of the E. T. Roux
Library was made extremely difficult because of war-
time restrictions on building, but its dedication in 1945
was a fitting climax to a remarkable decade of building
expansion. Eleven new buildings had been erected at
a cost of more than a half million dollars and, with the
exception of housing for men, for the first time in many
years the College was adequately housed. The men's
dormitories were not to come until the third decade.
The Wright-designed buildings on the western por-
tion of the campus are quite distinctive and have at-
tracted much attention for themselves and for the
College. These buildings, designed as a connected group
rather than as single units, have the chapel and library
as a central axis. Integral parts of the Wright buildings
are the gardens which enfold them.
Wealth and financial stability did not come automatic-
ally with survival and accreditation. The general finan-
cial condition of the country coupled with the ambitious
building program made the task of financing the College
as difficult as ever.
Every building constructed during the decade was
built with student labor in so far as it was available. To
provide more uninterrupted hours for work and at the
same time interfere as little as possible with class work,
a work schedule was devised whereby a student attended
Expansion and War 29
classes three days each week and worked three days.
Hundreds of young men were able to attend college
because of this plan.
Increasing financial support from the Florida Con-
ference together with gifts from devoted friends of the
institution enabled other developments to keep abreast
of the building program. Miss Cora Carter, Mrs.
Eleanor Searle Whitney and Mrs. Mary Lowe West
aided the general expansion program substantially.
Founders' Week 1937 was the occasion on which the
women's dormitory was given the name Joseph-Reynolds
Hall honoring Mr. and Mrs. C. S. Joseph and Mrs.
Joseph's mother, Mrs. Louise Reynolds, who had con-
tributed quite generously to the College for a number
The student body and the faculty grew steadily for
the first five years of the decade, reaching a peak in
1941 that was not equalled again until the first year
after the war. The largest regular enrollment was 855
and the lowest 460, with the women outnumbering the
men three to one for the first five years, two to one the
next two, and during the war at times ten to one.
The war made its impress on the College in other
ways, with numerous members of the faculty as well
as students entering the armed services. Twelve students
and former students were killed in action and to their
memory magnolia trees were planted in 1945 and a
30 Through Three Decades
fountain erected by the Portico Club (now Omicron
Delta Kappa) in 1950.
With intercollegiate football abolished, one of the
finest intramural sports program in the country was
developed by William R. Battle who came to head the
athletic department in 1935. Fraternities and sororities
prospered and several national chapters replaced the
earlier local groups. The national names seemed to give
more zest to the inter-fraternity orange fights! The Col-
lege colors were changed to red and white (from blue
and white) in 1937.
The faculty was considerably strengthened and the
curriculum expanded during this decade. The various
departments of instruction were grouped into Divisions
in 1938 in order to coordinate the course offerings
The most distinguished person to join the faculty
was the late Dr. Shirley Jackson Case, who had been
Dean of the Divinity School of the University of
Chicago. He reorganized the program in the Department
of Religion and under his editorship the College began
the publication of a quarterly journal called RELIGION
IN THE MAKING. Dr. Case continued to serve with
great effectiveness until his death in 1947.
The Department of Education established a laboratory
school for elementary education in 1937 in the building
originally designed as a dormitory for men.
Expansion and War 31
With the growing number of graduates, the post of
alumni secretary was created in 1936 and to this position
was appointed Coming F. Tolle, a graduate of the class
of 1927 who had been a member of the Board of
Trustees since 1931. Except for service as a chaplain
in the Army, he has been connected with the College
ever since, serving successively as alumni secretary, dean
of men, registrar, and business manager. His self-con-
fessed most distinguished service to the College consisted
of replacing the sandy entrance road with broad pave-
ment in 1936. It was with considerable sadness that he
watched the pavement torn out in 1950 to make way for
The number of volumes in the library was consider-
ably enlarged as the student body grew, the finest addi-
tion being the Fred B. Fisher Collection on comparative
religion which was given in 1938. By the time the new
building was dedicated in 1945 the holdings of the
library amounted to more than 40,000 volumes.
In 1944, the College joined in helping to celebrate
the centennial of the Florida Conference of the Meth-
odist Church. President Spivey wrote the centennial
pageant which was produced for the Conference at its
session in Tallahassee.
Alumni citations were awarded for the first time dur-
ing Founders' Week in 1941, and for a number of
years thereafter the custom of awarding certificates to
meritorious graduates for distinguished community,
statewide, or national service was continued.
32 Through Three Decades
President's Spivey's second decade drew to a close
at almost exactly the same time as World War II was
ending. The decade had been one of expansion un-
paralleled in the history of the College. The expansion
of this decade made possible the achievements of the
one to follow.
THE MID-FORTIES ushered in the era that most of
Florida expected in the mid-twenties, and this was
true of the College, as well as of the state as a whole.
Students in large numbers from many states as well as
foreign countries flocked to the College. The regular
enrollment passed one thousand for the first time and
the faculty grew to more than one hundred. The annual
budget passed a million dollars for the first time in 1946
and the endowment reached a total of more than a mil-
lion and a half dollars by 1955.
These accomplishments had been a part of the dream
of 1925, so in reality it took two decades to achieve what
all had so confidently expected would be but a matter
of months. Horizons were finally widening.
An institution becomes great, however, by the quality
of its contribution to the life of the community, state,
and nation, rather than in the size of its student body,
the number of its buildings, and the size of its budget.
Florida Southern College faced this decade with a fixed
determination to improve the quality of its contribution.
To this end, its teacher training program has been
strengthened, particularly with the development of an
34 Through Three Decades
intern-teacher program to replace the older laboratory
school. It is not sufficient to be able to say that fourteen
percent of the public schoolteachers of Florida are
graduates of the College. It is the hope of the College
that it may be said that they are the best teachers in
Likewise, in the training of religious leadership, both
lay and professional, the College has endeavored to im-
prove the quality of its services. Nearly half the present
members of the Florida Conference have attended the
College, and the percentage is increasing. An enlarged
program for pre-ministerial students and directors of
religious education has been developed to prepare these
people for greater service.
An effort to serve men in military service has led to
the development of what has been popularly called "The
College of Opportunity," especially for men who had
their college training interrupted when called into active
military duty. This department operates among men on
active duty at nearby bases. Through the R.O.T.C.
program, a number of students have been enabled to
secure their commissions prior to entering upon their
The student body more than doubled in 1945 over
its total for the previous year. This rapid increase placed
a severe strain on all the facilities of the college. Most
of the increase was in the number of men, most of them
veterans, and for the first time in the history of the
Wider Horizons 35
college the men outnumbered the women, sometimes
as much as three to one.
Nearby houses had been used as living quarters for
men for many years. With the sudden influx of men,
the College purchased all the suitable houses in Lake-
land and converted them into dormitories. Adequate
housing for men became the most pressing need of the
decade and was finally made a reality through the
Federal Housing Authority, with the construction of
seventeen apartment-type dormitories. Included in the
building project was a modem cafeteria to replace the
old one in Edge Hall. These buildings were first oc-
cupied in the autumn of 1948. With larger facilities
available for student activities, the older student build-
ing became the Frank D. Jackson Religion Building.
Morrison Williams, who had managed the College stores
in the old building since its erection in 1937, continues
to direct the expanded activities in the new location.
From surplus war housing, the federal government
erected a science building and an infirmary for men,
thereby relieving pressing needs.
Among the buildings in the Wright-designed group,
the Emile E. Watson Administration Building was com-
pleted in 1948, the Industrial Arts Building in 1952,
and the Danforth Chapel in 1955. Elaborate walkways
connecting the buildings, a modem parking-lot, and
the J. Edgar Wall Waterdome were other completed
features of the Frank Lloyd Wright campus. The Polk
County Science Building, started in 1954, is in the
process of construction.
This brings the total of new buildings erected during
36 Through Three Decades
the decade to twenty-three and over the three decades
to thirty-six. It is estimated that all these buildings have
cost a total of $2,500,000 and could not be replaced
for three times that amount today.
The post-war period brought many changes to the
campus besides the large group of men. Older students,
many of them married, a return to intercollegiate ath-
letics in nearly all sports except football, many new
fraternities and sororities, and an Army Reserve Officers
Training Corps were among the major changes. Sorority
houses were established for the first time in 1950.
The peak of the regular enrollment was reached
in 1948-1949; but the increase of special services, such
as evening classes for veterans, classes for men in the
Air Force at MacDill and Pinecastle Bases, and summer
schools, keeps pushing the total number of students
served higher each year.
The curriculum was enlarged in 1945 to provide for
a program of graduate studies and a much expanded
program in music. The development in music was made
possible through the generosity of Mrs. Eleanor Searle
Whitney and the program was under the direction of
the late Dean Robert Gayler. A school of Citrus Culture
was established in 1947. The Southern Bio-Research
laboratory established in 1947 under the direction of
Wider Horizons 37
Dr. Boris Sokoloff has distinguished itself, particularly
in the field of cancer research.
A retirement program for faculty members was estab-
lished in 1946 and the late Dr. George F. Scott, who
had served the College continuously since 1913 as a
trustee and since as a faculty member, became the first
person in the history of the College to retire on a stipend.
The decade marked the passing of the three long-
term officers of the Board of Trustees: Mr. E. T. Roux
in 1946 and Mr. L. N. Pipkin and Mr. J. Edgar Wall
in 1954. Mr. C. V. McClurg, local banker and long-time
College benefactor, was elected treasurer replacing
Mr. Roux; Dr. P. M. Boyd, former pastor of the College
Heights Church and a long-time friend of the College,
was elected vice-chairman; and Mr. H. E. Wolfe, St.
Augustine business man, was elected chairman.
Founders' Week has been observed throughout the
decade the first week in March each year. Pageants,
floats, dinners, and speeches have composed the usual
fare, but in 1954 the week was climaxed by a pilgrimage
of the entire student body and faculty to Clearwater
Beach to visit the site of the college immediately before
its removal to Lakeland.
Evidence of an ever widening horizon is seen in
the constant effort to improve the quality of the service
the College renders its constituency.
THE ROOTS RUN DEEP
THOUGH EDUCATIONAL facilities, both public and pri-
vate, developed very slowly in Florida, Methodists
have had a prominent part in that development. The
Florida Conference of the Methodists and the State of
Florida were both organized in 1845. Prior to that time
many Florida Methodists had aided in establishing
Methodist colleges in Georgia and had sent their children
there for education.
When the Florida Conference was established, south
Georgia was included within its area, but both of the
newly established schools, Emory College at Oxford
and Georgia Female College at Macon, were outside
its bounds. Much sentiment developed in the newly
formed Conference to establish a school within its
bounds immediately, but the generally depressed eco-
nomic situation delayed the establishment until 1848.
When the Florida Conference selected the site for its
first educational venture it chose Thomasville, Georgia,
some fifteen miles outside Florida, but readily accessible
to the northern portion of the state.
40 Through Three Decades
No sooner had this school (named Fletcher Institute)
been opened when a movement was launched for the
establishment of a school in the southern portion of
the Conference. This movement culminated in 1852 in
the election of the Board of Trustees of the East Florida
Seminary which was established soon thereafter at Mi-
canopy, Florida. The Seminary continued until, like
most similar institutions, it was forced by rising clouds
of war to close its doors late in 1860.
While not the first educational venture of the Florida
Methodists, the East Florida Seminary did have the
distinction of being their first Florida institution. Further-
more, it antedates all other Florida educational institu-
tions of similar rank.
The Civil War seriously interrupted Florida's meager
educational facilities. The state seminaries at Ocala and
Tallahassee continued to operate throughout the war
period, though very much curtailed in scope, but most
of the private institutions were abandoned, many never
to be reopened. In this manner the Florida Methodists
lost their East Florida Seminary while a division of the
conference territory in 1866 removed its only remaining
school, the Fletcher Institute, from the jurisdiction of
For the first time in thirty years, Florida Methodists
found themselves in 1867 without a school of their own
within the bounds of whatever Conference they were
located. Little time was lost, however, before plans were
underway for altering this situation. Repeated efforts
(particularly by the Tallahassee Methodists) to estab-
lish some type of school during the ensuing decade all
came to failure. The extent of actual accomplishment
The Roots Run Deep 41
in educational endeavor within Florida Methodism was
the establishment in 1876 of a fund for the education
of preacher's children and the founding of a few private
high schools in which it was advertised "Christian prin-
The movement to operate a school under Methodist
auspices finally came to fruition in 1883 when the Jack-
sonville district of the Methodist conference succeeded in
establishing the South Florida Seminary at Orlando,
with Claude A. Saunders as principal.
Florida Southern College traces its direct ancestry
back more than one hundred years and its continuous
history back to the Orlando school which soon changed
its name to Wesleyan Institute. It was in 1885 that the
Institute, though engulfed in financial difficulties, at-
tained enduring stature. Florida Southern has for many
years considered 1885 as the date of its founding.
Before disposing of the Orlando property in 1886,
the Florida Conference authorized the trustees of the
school to receive bids from other communities prepara-
tory to the establishment of another school. Accordingly,
bids were received and the school was awarded to Lees-
burg. This institution was styled "The High School and
College of the Florida Conference of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, South," and as such opened with
four teachers and fifty-eight pupils in the autumn of
1886. Joshua Hollingsworth was the first president in
Leesburg. The cumbersome name of the school was
soon changed to "Florida Conference College," and
42 Through Three Decades
under this name it operated, at times precariously, at
Leesburg until just past the end of the century. W. T.
Seals, Theophilus W. Moore, Henry E. Partridge,
Wightman F. Melton, James T. Nolen, and Thomas G.
Lang, in addition to Hollingsworth, served as presidents
while the institution was at Leesburg.
The school was coeducational from its beginning and
required the same curriculum for men and women,
except that the latter were excused from courses in
Greek. In 1890 the first graduating class was composed
entirely of women, seven in number, but this proportion
was of short duration, for sixteen of the first thirty-five
graduates were men.
Feeling that the Conference college would be able
to expand more rapidly if moved from Leesburg to some
other community, members of the College board of
trustees voted in May, 1900, to take steps looking to the
removal. The financial situation caused by the disastrous
freeze during the winter of 1894-1895 had nearly caused
the closing of the College then and was instrumental in
bringing the decision to seek a location where the local
community could give larger support than seemed forth-
coming in Leesburg.
In 1902, the school was opened at Sutherland (not
far from Clearwater) under the name of Florida Semi-
nary, with Shade W. Walker as its new president. The
school prospered from the outset and in 1906 the name
was changed to Southern College. John P. Hilburn,
Walter L. Clifton, and Rhenus H. Alderman were the
other presidents at Sutherland.
The eleven-year administration of President Alder-
man, an administration more than double in length
The Roots Run Deep 43
any prior to that time, was characterized by several
dramatic events in the life of the College, including
two fires, two storms, an epidemic of influenza, and the
removal of the College on two occasions-from Suther-
land to Clearwater Beach and later to Lakeland.
The trustees determined in 1921 to remove the Col-
lege to some other location and finally selected Lake-
land. Under the vigorous leadership of President
Alderman, new buildings were erected and classes
began in the autumn of 1922 on the new campus on
the shores of Lake Hollingsworth in Lakeland. President
Alderman resigned in the spring of 1925 and he was
succeeded by Ludd Myrl Spivey.
A whole host of persons, Methodist and non-Meth-
odists, ministers and laymen, rendered noble service
to the cause of education to make possible the attain-
ments that had been reached by the summer of 1925.
Limitations of space permit the mentioning of but two
names, besides the eleven presidents already named.
Rev. R. H. Barnett and Rev. W. F. Norton were mem-
bers of the first board of trustees selected after the
College was removed to Leesburg. From the time of their
selection in 1886 to the present there have been few
days when these gentlemen or at least one direct descend-
ant of each have not been connected with the College
as either student, chaplain, faculty member, financial
agent, or trustee.
HONOR WALK STUDENTS
James D. Hurt
Coming F. Tolle
Frances Murray Wilson
1941 Randolph Jones
1942 W. S. Bozeman
1943 Alton Kindred
1944 Alfred Hedberg
1945 Tia Townsend
1946 Elmer Smith
1947 James Harvester
1948 Frank Ryan
1949 Quillian Yancey
1950 Jerry Naples
1951 Grant Lincoln Miller
1952 Margaret Louise Hub-
1953 Frank Carter
1954 Kenneth Hemdon
QUEENS WHO RULED AS "MISS SOUTHERN"
1938 Eloise Whitehurst
1939 Eloise Whitehurse
1940 Ada Coats
1941 Betty Morqus
1942 Rilda Mounts
1943 Barbara Old
1944 Jean Broxton
1945 Judy Bryant
1946 Louise Mitchell
Annie Laurie Summers
Jeanne (Jep) Zeigler
FACULTY AND STAFF 1925-1955
Ten or more years of service
Edyth L. Bainter
Henry Green Barnett
Helen Wood Barnum
Howard J. Barnum
Jean A. Battle
Irene A. Beggs
Robert S. Bly
Shirley Jackson Case
Marguerite Wills Callahan
Samuel G. Coe
Laura Neil Clyatt
William E. DeMelt
C. Warren Hawkins
George P. Hoffman
Mrs. Murray Johnson
Sam T. Lastinger
Samuel W. Luce
J. Gordon Ogden, Jr.
James C. Peel
Leslie Harper Purcell
Bernhard P. Reinsch
Walter O. Ropp
George F. Scott
Ruth Fike Terry
Charles T. Thrift, Jr.
Coming F. Tolle
Edgar E. Tolle
Charles A. Vannoy
Kenneth G. Weihe
Morrison T. Williams
HERBERT E. WOLFE, Chairman
P. M. BOYD, Vice Chairman
HARms SIMS, Secretary
C. V. McCLURG, Treasurer
R. L. Allen
Loca Lee Buckner
Bishop John W. Branscomb
J. H. Daniel
L. Day Edge
D. D. Dieffenwierth
Alice Coffee Guyton
Through Three Decades
R. B. Gilbert
Mrs. Frank D. Jackson
O. Alton Murphy
Mrs. E. T. Roux
Shade W. Walker
G. Floyd Zimmermann
OTHER TRUSTEES 1925-1955
A. E. J. Anderson
R. Ira Barnett
W. J. Barritt
H. W. Blackburn
W. P. Buhrman
R. L. Cline
L. N. Dantzler, Jr.
L. W. Duval
E. E. Edge
0. O. Feaster
H. A. Ferguson
W. C. Fountain
J. E. Graves
H. J. Haeflinger
J. A. Hendry
J. P. Hilbum
A. M. Hughlett
Spessard L. Holland
J. L. Horton
Frank D. Jackson
C. L. Johnson
C. S. Joseph
L. P. Kirkland
L. D. Lowe
L. P. McCord
E. L. Mack
J. H. Mercer
J. T. Mitchell
M. H. Norton
Mrs. C. W. Palmore
F. J. Patterson
A. J. Peddy
L. N. Pipkin
J. D. Randall
Mrs. J. D. Randall
O. E. Rice
Mrs. Wallace Riggins
G. S. Roberts
J. B. Rooney
E. T. Roux
G. F. Scott
T. T. Scott
F. E. Steinmeyer
J. J. Swearingen
G. W. Tedder
C. F. Tolle
A. Fred Turner
R. Z. Tyler
L. F. Vaught
Isaac Van Horn
J. Edgar Wall
George C. White
Eleanor Searle Whitney
Calvin A. West
Mary Lowe West
Alfred G. Wagg
Frank D. Jackson
Doyle E. Carlton
R. B. Gilbert
Sir Wilfred Grenfell
J. H. Therrell
R. A. Gray
T. T. Scott
John Z. Fletcher
H. E. Wolfe
G. D. Runnels
L. A. Raulerson
J. A. Guyton
F. W. Coffing
Daniel J. McCarthy
Michael M. Engel
Dr. R. S. Bly, Miss Oween Sumner, Mr. Coming F.
Tolle, Mrs. A. F. Fugitt, and Mrs. Charles T. Thrift, Jr.,
have made many helpful suggestions about the text.
Mr. Harris Sims provided substantial aid for the period
down to 1935 in his "Story of Southern College." The
College library staff supplied many dates and names,
especially for the lists in the Appendix. Mr. William
Kent Hagerman made the drawing for the end papers.
Grateful acknowledgment is made to all these people
for their aid.