Front Cover
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Part one: Origins and infancy...
 Part two
 Part two: The Garth Arridge administration...
 Part three: The Paul Johnson administration...
 Part four: The Franklyn Johnson...
 Appendix A. The board of trustees,...
 Appendix B. Presidents of...
 Appendix C. Officers of the class...

Title: History of Jacksonville University : the first twenty-five years, 1934-1959
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00053731/00001
 Material Information
Title: History of Jacksonville University : the first twenty-five years, 1934-1959
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Bald, Ralph D.
Affiliation: Jacksonville University
Publisher: Jacksonville University
Publication Date: 1959
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida -- Jacksonville
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00053731
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01679968

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page i-a
    Title Page
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
    Part one: Origins and infancy (1934-1943)
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Part two
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
    Part two: The Garth Arridge administration (1944-1951)
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
    Part three: The Paul Johnson administration (1951-1956)
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 48a
        Page 48b
        Page 48c
        Page 48d
        Page 49
        Page 50
    Part four: The Franklyn Johnson administration (1956-1959)
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
    Appendix A. The board of trustees, 1959
        Page 86
    Appendix B. Presidents of the university
        Page 87
    Appendix C. Officers of the class of 1959
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
Full Text



THE FIRST 7'WI'.NTY- FIV YlEARS, 1934-1959


_ _


Price $1.00

, .0t,




Associate Professor of History
Jacksonville University



With the opening of the fall semester, 1958, Jacksonville Uni-
versity entered upon the twenty-fifth year of its growth. By a happy
combination of chance and design, this twenty-fifth year marks
not only a quarter century of development but also the graduation
of the first senior class, an event which represents a major step toward
a long-cherished goal-the creation of an outstanding four-year insti-
tution of higher learning in Jacksonville. The year 1958-1959 is thus
doubly significant, and as early as 1956, the university's Board of
Trustees began to prepare for its celebration. In August of that year
the board appointed the Silver Jubilee Commission, composed of repre-
sentatives of the Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, and
alumni, and charged it with the planning and execution of the twenty-
fifth anniversary celebration. As a part of this celebration, it was
decided to publish a history of the university covering the period from
its origins in 1934 through the Silver Jubilee Year 1958-1959.
The university's history can logically be divided into four major
parts: origins and infancy, 1934-1943; the era of the school's first
full-time president, Garth Akridge, 1944-1951; the Paul Johnson
administration, 1951-1956; and the transition to a four-year insti-
tution under President Franklyn Johnson, 1956-1959. In each period,
attention will be focused on such topics as administration, faculty,
Board of Trustees, curriculum, enrollment, student activities, financial
support, buildings and plant, and university-community relations.
The material for the history has been gleaned from a wide variety
of sources: minutes of Board of Trustees' meetings, minutes of faculty
meetings, presidents' correspondence files, central files of the univer-
sity, catalogues and bulletins, the Jacksonville Journal and the Florida
Times-Union, student publications, and interviews with members of
the faculty, administration, and Board of Trustees, and with students
and alumni.
The author is pleased to pay tribute to all those who assisted in
the preparation of this history. A special word of thanks is due the
members of the Silver Jubilee Commission's history committee who
reviewed the manuscript: J. Richard Grether-whose help was invalu-
able, particularly in connection with the early period of the history -
Fred B. Noble, Professor Joseph A. Hauber, Professor Lawrence E.
Breeze, and President Franklyn A. Johnson. Others who read the
manuscript and offered their counsel were Dean Paul E. Lindh, Dean
William E. Highsmith, Professor Jacob F. Golightly, Guy W. Botts,
Eugene C. Shea, and William S. Johnson, vice president of the Uni-

versity Council, who kindly agreed also to write the Foreword to the
history. In addition, the author wishes to give full recognition to the
work of Professor Robert E. Allison, a member of the history com-
mittee, who gathered many of the materials and laid much of the
groundwork for this undertaking. Finally, for her assistance and
encouragement, the author proudly acknowledges the debt he owes
to his wife.

Ralph D. Bald, Jr.

Jacksonville University
May, 1959


Ideas and ideals constitute man's greatest attributes. Both ideas
and ideals prompted a small group of dedicated men to start Jackson-
ville's institution of higher learning.
Twenty-five years as measured by man's history as a civilized
being is but a speck on the pages of that history. To us, however,
these twenty-five years mean everything they are all we have and
upon them must we build for the future.
The citizens who founded Jacksonville Junior College must have
believed that the humble beginning would lead to greater things. We
can visualize the workings of their minds in those early and trying
days minds which battled with current problems while they looked
to the future.
The author of the following pages has caught the many shadings
and complex situations of the past twenty-five years. Comparative
newness on the scene has given him an opportunity to approach his
task in a purely objective manner. There are some who may feel he
has spent too much time on this or that and too little on some other
phase of our growth. Considering the numerous personalities, crises,
and soul-searching periods involved in this story, we feel he has done
a workmanlike job of preserving a factual picture of Jacksonville
University's growing pains.
We have a terrific interest in this story of accomplishment and the
future good it foretells. The time, energy, and resources expended by
the characters portrayed by the author have gone a long way toward
satisfying Jacksonville's greatest need. A fully-accredited, four-year
institution of higher learning, such as we are about to realize on the
Arlington campus, will give to our citizens an asset beyond price.
The realization of this dream must be stimulated by more and more
of our people investing of themselves and their money. The attain-
ment of the first phase of our goal came with the decision to expand
from a Junior College to a four-year University. The next step, full
accreditation, presents many hurdles which can be cleared only through
united action.
The impact of Jacksonville University upon our cultural lives is
already apparent. Great minds have brought their messages to us, the
arts have been stimulated, sports have moved forward, and last, but
not least, our young men and women may now receive a four-year or
two-year degree in their own home city. All of these good things will
increase as the University grows to its full stature.

If those who have brought Jacksonville University to the brink
of greatness have a feeling of pride at their efforts, we say they have
every right to feel so. If those who read of the sacrifices, vicissitudes,
heartaches, and leadership outlined in the following pages do not "go
and do likewise," we feel sorry for them. It is our firm belief that they
will never have a greater opportunity to make lasting contributions
to a cause whose horizons are limitless.
William S. Johnson
Vice President
Jacksonville University Council



PREFACE -___________----------------------- iii
FOREWORD _____V_____________------------- V


1. Birth of the University _____----------- --- -- 3
2. The Precarious Years _______------- 9

3. The College Acquires a Home and a Full-time President 18
4. The Search for a Campus ____------- --- 23
5. The Move to Arlington _________------------ 29

6. The Last Years of Jacksonville Junior College _____ 38

7. The Great Decision __---- ---- -----_ 52
8. Transition Years __ ------ --- -------- 61
9. The Unfinished Task -- ----------- 78

A. The Board of Trustees ------------ -------- 86
B. Presidents of the University -- -------- 87
Chairmen of the Board of Trustees _---- -- 87
Presidents of the University Council _--- 87
Presidents of the Alumni Association .. 87
C. Officers of the Class of 1959 --- ----- ----- 88
Presidents of the Student Body _____- -- 88

INDEX ---________ --- -------------------------- 89



Chapter 1. Birth of the University
Chapter 2. The Precarious Years

By the end of September, 1934, Judge Porter and Dean Rosser had
recruited a faculty of eleven part-time instructors: Charlotte Buckland
(biology), Emilio Carles (Spanish), F. S. Wetzel (chemistry), J.
Richard Grether (English), A. L. Clayton (physics and surveying),
Edward Newsome, Jr. (advertising), W. 0. Quade (mathematics),
Amy W. Smallman (history), S. A. Nasrallah (accounting), Betty W.
Starbuck (psychology), and Myrtis Tureman (English). All of the
faculty were drawn from the Jacksonville area; four (Buckland,
Nasrallah, Starbuck, and Tureman) were teachers at Andrew Jackson
High School, and a fifth (Wetzel) taught at Lee High School. Emilio
Carles had for many years been the Spanish Vice Consul in Jackson-
ville. J. Richard Grether, later dean and acting president of the college,
was, as indicated above, associated with the Barnett National Bank.
During the summer of 1934, Judge Porter opened temporary offices
at 132 East Forsyth Street and began looking for suitable quarters for
the new school. On July 19, he presented the plans for the university
to the Duval County Board of Public Instruction and asked permission
to use one of its buildings for evening classes. The board postponed
action, but later in the summer the college received permission to hold
classes at Andrew Jackson High School, at Main and 28th Streets,
and tentative plans were made to begin instruction there on the eve-
ning of September 17.
Toward the end of August, however, these plans were changed.
Through the efforts of Rev. F. C. McConnell, pastor of the First Bap-
tist Church and a member of the university's Advisory Board, the
third floor of his church's Education Building, 121 West Church
Street, was made available. The Board of Trustees accepted this offer
because the Baptist Educational Building, being more centrally located
than Andrew Jackson High School, could be more easily reached by
students from Ortega and South Jacksonville. Moreover, the Church
Street location was near the Public Library, which was to serve as the
main library facility for the college. In fact, when the change in
location was announced, Joseph F. Marron, head of the Jacksonville
Public Library and college librarian, issued .a statement to the effect
that he had completed arrangements for texts and reference works
to be used in connection with the new college classes.
Because of the change in location and an extension of the registra-
tion period, the opening of classes was changed from September 17 to
October 1. Registration had been going on during the summer at the
temporary offices on East Forsyth Street, and by the end of September
60 students were enrolled.* Originally, the entrance requirements

*Exact enrollment figures for this first semester are not available, but the best
estimate would be somewhere between 60 and 70.


Early in 1934, a small group of men met in an office in downtown
Jacksonville and began making plans for the founding of an institution
of higher learning. The meeting was held in the office of William J.
Porter, Judge of the Duval County Criminal Court of Record and the
key figure in this pioneer effort. Meeting with Judge Porter were
Thomas W. Benson, president of the Suwanee Life Insurance Company;
Dean Boggs, an attorney; Kenneth A. Friedman, president of Southern
Features, Inc.; J. Richard Grether, chief clerk in the Trust Department
of the Barnett National Bank; and F. S. Wetzel, head of the chemistry
department at Lee High School.
An essential part of the preliminary arrangements was the securing
of a charter from the State of Florida. This was accomplished on April
16, 1934, when Judge Porter and his associates were empowered by the
state to form a non-profit corporation to be known as Wm. J. Porter
The summer of 1934 saw a number of important developments:
the naming of a Board of Trustees and an Advisory Board, the selection
of the administrative staff and the faculty, and preparations for the
opening of classes in the fall. The original Board of Trustees (actually
the charter called it the "Board of Directors") was composed of four
of the organizers of the college Judge Porter, Thomas W. Benson,
Dean Boggs, and Kenneth A. Friedman and Miss Mary Corbin,
Secretary of the Jacksonville Law School.
Furnishing counsel and guidance to the trustees of the new college
was the Advisory Board, composed of about twenty business, profes-
sional, and religious leaders of the community. Included were such
prominent figures as P. W. Zacharias, president of Cohen Brothers;
Charles A. Tutewiler, president of the Jacksonville Junior Chamber
of Commerce; Joseph F. Marron, Jacksonville City Librarian; J. K.
David, president of the Duval Ice and Coal Company; and Boyce
Taylor, city editor of the Jacksonville Journal.
On September 13, 1934, the Advisory Board issued to the press a
formal statement of the rationale and aims of Porter University. The
decision to establish this institution, said the board, stemmed from the
fact that Jacksonville, as the only city of its size in the United States
without the means of offering a college education, had long needed an
institution of higher learning. The board pointed out that a "standard
college would be a valuable addition to the city from an advertising
standpoint." Taking a long look into the future, the board predicted

that the college would "undoubtedly attract many thousands of winter
visitors and permanent residents from all parts of the nation." The
objectives of the university, the board continued, were:
To furnish an opportunity for citizens of Jacksonville
and vicinity to obtain a standard collegiate education with-
out leaving the city; to fill the need for a center of culture
and a cultural background for Jacksonville; to operate as a
non-profit institution, thereby enabling students to obtain
a good education at a minimum cost; and to conduct for the
present and the immediate future, all classes at the college
at night in order not to interfere with the daytime occupa-
tions of the students.
Earlier in September, Judge Porter, in a letter to the Federal
Emergency Relief Council, seeking funds to assist "about seventy-
five" prospective students, also touched on the aims of the new college.
Of the 700 graduating each year from Duval County high schools,
said Porter, only 150 could afford to go away to college; Porter Uni-
versity "hoped to afford the other 550 a chance to secure a higher
education which they would not otherwise have." Similarly, the
printed announcement of the opening of Porter University stated that
it was the school's aim "to enable ambitious young men and women
to get a college degree at a minimum cost without leaving the city."
Thus the groundwork was being laid for a community college.
Even before these formal statements of aims, the city responded to
the decision to establish such a college. On August 28, 1934, the
Jacksonville City Council passed a resolution approving and endorsing
the efforts of the organizers of the college and expressing the council's
"sincere wishes for the continued growth and expansion of the insti-
tution." The Junior Chamber of Commerce approved a similar reso-
lution, as did the Allied Executive Council, an organization composed
of the heads of various city and state-wide organizations of business
men. And other civic, business, and social clubs, the newspapers, and
various business organizations offered their cooperation and assistance.
Meanwhile, planning continued for the opening of the college's
first semester. Obvious and immediate were the needs for an adminis-
trative staff, a faculty, and a location for the college. The first presi-
dent of the institution was Judge William J. Porter. The first dean
was Dr. Barkley Rosser. Dr. Rosser had graduated from old Duval
High School and had received his bachelor of science and master of
science degrees from the University of Florida, and his doctor of
philosophy degree (in mathematics) from Princeton University. T. W.
Benson served as vice president, Kenneth A. Friedman as controller,
Joseph Marron as librarian, Dean Boggs as business manager, and Mary
Corbin as secretary.

By the end of September, 1934, Judge Porter and Dean Rosser had
recruited a faculty of eleven part-time instructors: Charlotte Buckland
(biology), Emilio Caries (Spanish), F. S. Wetzel (chemistry), J.
Richard Grether (English), A. L. Clayton (physics and surveying),
Edward Newsome, Jr. (advertising), W. O. Quade (mathematics),
Amy W. Smallman (history), S. A. Nasrallah (accounting), Betty W.
Starbuck (psychology), and Myrtis Tureman (English). All of the
faculty were drawn from the Jacksonville area; four (Buckland,
Nasrallah, Starbuck, and Tureman) were teachers at Andrew Jackson
High School, and a fifth (Wetzel) taught at Lee High School. Emilio
Carles had for many years been the Spanish Vice Consul in Jackson-
ville. J. Richard Grether, later dean and acting president of the college,
was, as indicated above, associated with the Barnett National Bank.
During the summer of 1934, Judge Porter opened temporary offices
at 132 East Forsyth Street and began looking for suitable quarters for
the new school. On July 19, he presented the plans for the university
to the Duval County Board of Public Instruction and asked permission
to use one of its buildings for evening classes. The board postponed
action, but later in the summer the college received permission to hold
classes at Andrew Jackson High School, at Main and 28th Streets,
and tentative plans were made to begin instruction there on the eve-
ning of September 17.
Toward the end of August, however, these plans were changed.
Through the efforts of Rev. F. C. McConnell, pastor of the First Bap-
tist Church and a member of the university's Advisory Board, the
third floor of his church's Education Building, 121 West Church
Street, was made available. The Board of Trustees accepted this offer
because the Baptist Educational Building, being more centrally located
than Andrew Jackson High School, could be more easily reached by
students from Ortega and South Jacksonville. Moreover, the Church
Street location was near the Public Library, which was to serve as the
main library facility for the college. In fact, when the change in
location was announced, Joseph F. Marron, head of the Jacksonville
Public Library and college librarian, issued a statement to the effect
that he had completed arrangements for texts and reference works
to be used in connection with the new college classes.
Because of the change in location and an extension of the registra-
tion period, the opening of classes was changed from September 17 to
October 1. Registration had been going on during the summer at the
temporary offices on East Forsyth Street, and by the end of September
60 students were enrolled.*' Originally, the entrance requirements

*Exact enrollment figures for this first semester are not available, but the best
estimate would be somewhere between 60 and 70.

limited enrollment to graduates of accredited high schools, but late in
September the college announced that in some cases "special adult
students" would be allowed to enroll. The high school diploma require-
ment would be waived "in order to enable anyone genuinely desirous
of taking college courses an opportunity for higher education."
The first person to register -and thus the person who held the
distinction of being the first student to enter Porter University was
Miss Laura May Minor, a 1934 graduate of Andrew Jackson High
Porter University was officially opened on Monday evening, Octo-
ber 1, 1934, on the third floor of the Baptist Educational Building.
That evening, in the auditorium on the third floor, the university held
its first assembly. Judge Porter addressed the students and guests on
the aims and ideals of the university and thanked the citizens of Jack-
sonville whose interest, encouragement, and assistance had made the
opening of Porter University possible.
During this opening year the college offered freshman courses in
English, history, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, accounting,
psychology, Spanish, and advertising. Classes were held in the evening
only,* Monday through Thursday, with some laboratory work being
conducted on Friday evenings.
For library facilities, the college depended almost entirely on the
Jacksonville Public Library, which at that time was the largest library
in the state of Florida. The college library, or at least a reading room,
got its start on September 26, 1934, when, after a radio appeal for
library contributions, an anonymous donor drove up to the temporary
offices on East Forsyth Street and brought in about 75 books. "Yester-
day," said a college publicity item, "the college library was but a
dream; today it is a reality 75 reference books and an unabridged
Just two days before the opening of classes, university officials
announced that special arrangements had been made with the Jack-
sonville College of Music whereby students in either institution could
take courses in the other, with each school granting full credit for
such courses. This was the beginning of a reciprocal credit arrange-
ment that was to last until the Jacksonville College of Music merged
with Jacksonville University in 195 8.'"' This long association appears
to have stemmed originally from a letter written to Judge Porter in
August, 1934, by George Orner, president of the Jacksonville College
of Music, congratulating Porter on the founding of the university and

*The college remained an evening school until September, 1944.
**See below, pp. 67-68.

offering him cooperation and best wishes for success "in this splendid
One of the most important problems facing any new educational
institution is that of accreditation. Full accreditation by the regional
accrediting association was not to be received for many years, but
even before Porter University opened, steps had been taken to insure
that credits earned there would be accepted elsewhere. It was especially
important that the matter of acceptance of Porter University credits
at the University of Florida be clarified. Judge Porter, Dean Rosser,
and Mr. Grether contacted President John J. Tigert and Registrar
H. W. Chandler in Gainesville; and on September 24, Dr. Chandler,
in a letter to Dean Rosser, outlined the policy the university would
follow. Students who transferred to Gainesville after attending Porter
University could be given provisional credit for as much as two years
work at Porter University if such work had been passed with grades
of "C" or better and could fit into the curriculum of the University
of Florida. These credits would be finally validated after the student
completed a year of work at the university, with an average grade of
at least "C." With this commitment by the state university as an
entering wedge, a similar agreement was worked out with John B.
Stetson University in December, 1934, and with Southern College'" in
January, 1935.
It should be pointed out that from the very beginning Porter
University sought to maintain close ties with the University of Florida.
A deliberate effort to establish such a connection is indicated in a letter
from Judge Porter to President Tigert in September, 1934, in which
Porter said that "we are patterning our courses after those given at
the University of Florida. We are to use exactly the same textbooks
So far as is possible we are going to use the same methods of
instruction you follow." And Porter went on to ask for the coopera-
tion and guidance of the university in the selection of courses, texts,
and faculty and in the formulation of policy.
Dr. Tigert's response was sympathetic and helpful. On one point
in particular he found himself in complete agreement with Porter.
There seems little doubt that at its inception, in the early summer of
1934, the founders of Porter University had in mind the establishment
of a "standard four-year college." By September, however, this am-
bitious plan had evaporated and by the opening of school in October
had given way to a more modest two-year program. In his letter to
Dr. Tigert, Judge Porter stated that because of the many problems
involved, he and his colleagues had abandoned the idea of a four-year
school and were planning instead for a two-year junior college. "We

*Later called Florida Southern College.

intend," said Porter, "to point our students toward either the Uni-
versity of Florida or to Florida State College for Women to obtain
their degrees after they have satisfactorily completed their first two
years with us."
Dr. Tigert concurred wholeheartedly with this revised plan. He
pointed out that the establishment of junior colleges at strategic points
in the state would take a load off the lower division of the state uni-
versity and observed that if Porter could set up a standard junior
college in the near future, he would "really perform a service." Tigert
suggested that Porter secure from the State Superintendent of Public
Instruction a statement of standards for junior colleges and set about
getting his college accredited as soon as possible.
Thus, hope for a four-year institution seems to have expired even
before the university opened its doors. But this hope was merely put
aside, not forgotten. In the years ahead it arose again with new vigor,
was acted upon in the middle 1950's, and finally became a reality in
the college's Silver Jubilee Year.

During its first ten years the new college fought a continuous
battle for life. In the beginning these were the years of the Great
Depression, and later they were the years of global war. Struggling
against great odds and tottering frequently on the edge of disaster,
somehow the college managed to survive. The 25-year history of this
institution is marked by many outstanding achievements, and very
near the top of the list must be placed the accomplishment of merely
staying alive during these early years.
The September 1934 decision to shift from a four-year to a two-
year program foreshadowed a change in the institution's name, in
September, 1935, from Porter University to Jacksonville Junior Col-
lege. This change was made so that the name would more accurately
reflect the program actually being offered, and also in order to identify
the school more closely with the city it served.
In 1935, also, came the first of a number of changes in the location
of the college. In February, 1935, it left the Baptist Educational
Building and moved to 517 Laura Street, where rooms were rented
from the Haddock Business University. In January, 1936, because
of an increase in its own evening enrollment, the business school found
it could no longer offer this space, and again the junior college had to
find a new home. In February, 1936, quarters were secured in the
Florida Theatre Building, where, until 1939, the school shared space
with the Jones Business College. In September of 1939 came still
another change in location-a move to the Masonic Temple Building
at the corner of Monroe and Main Streets. Here the school occupied
six rooms until 1944, when it finally acquired a home of its own at
704 Riverside Avenue. For laboratories the college used the facilities
of Lee High School, an arrangement that was worked out largely
through the efforts of F. S. Wetzel.
During the difficult and trying period 1935-1943, there were
numerous changes in the Board of Trustees. The original board'*
remained unchanged until late in 1936, when Mr. Grether became a
member. By mid-1937 Judge Porter and Mr. Grether had completed
a major reorganization of the board. Of the original body there re-
mained only Judge Porter and his wife Mary Corbin Porter. Besides
Mr. Grether, an important new member was Fred B. Noble, a promi-
nent Jacksonville attorney, who upon joining the board became

"See above, p. 3.

chairman and served in that post until 1943. As a result of the
reorganization, also, a rising young attorney, Guy W. Botts, joined the
board in 1938; and in May, 1939, came another notable addition-
Harold Colee, executive vice president of the Florida State Chamber
of Commerce. Mary Corbin Porter resigned from the board in May,
1939; and Judge Porter, the last of the original trustees, withdrew
about a year later. In 1940 and 1941 the board elected three important
new members: Judge Burton Barrs, of the Duval County Civil Court
of Record; Joseph F. Marron, head of the Jacksonville Public Library;
and Clifford G. McGehee, president of the Jacksonville Paper Company.
The year 1943 brought a number of outstanding changes and
additions to the board. On June 28 of that year Judge Barrs was
elected chairman, replacing Fred B. Noble. Re-elected to the board
were Grether, Noble, Botts, Colee, Marron, McGehee, and Peyton J.
Watson, vice president and treasurer of the Consolidated Automotive
Company, who had joined the board in September, 1942. New mem-
bers elected in 1943 were J. Burton Webster, general agent for the
Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company; attorney H. Plant Osborne;
and a most significant addition-Carl S. Swisher, president of Jno. H.
Swisher & Son, Inc.* This 1943 reorganization was exceedingly im-
portant as it foreshadowed a distinct improvement in the fortunes of
the struggling young college.':"
After Porter University became Jacksonville Junior College in
1935, Judge Porter had continued as president. Dr. Barkley Rosser,
who had served as dean in the fall of 1934, gave way to one of the
original faculty members, Mrs. Amy W. Smallman, who acted as dean
during the winter of 1934-1935 and was then replaced by W. F.
In February, 1937, coincidental with the reorganization of the
Board of Trustees, came a major change in administration. At that
time Powell resigned as dean, and to take his place, the board selected
one of the original faculty, J. Richard Grether. At about this time,
also, Judge Porter gave up active direction of the college; and in a
letter written September 25, 1937, he stated that Grether "is now in
complete charge of Jacksonville Junior College." Grether served as
dean and, with the exception of a few months, as acting president until
the spring of 1944, when he resigned to devote more time to his
position with the Barnett National Bank. It would be difficult to over-
estimate the importance of Dean Grether's services to the college

*Fifteen years later, in the Silver Jubilee Year, nine of the eleven-man 1943 board
were still active members: Grether, Noble, Botts, Colee, Barrs, Marron, McGehee,
Webster, and Swisher.
**See below, pp. 18-19.

,10 .

during this period; to him must go much of the credit for the school's
survival in the years of its infancy.
For a few months in 1939 and 1940, the board placed the adminis-
tration of the college in the hands of Dr. Francis J. Waterhouse, who
was appointed president on May 27, 1939. Waterhouse had received
his A.B., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard University, and had
taught at Dartmouth College, the University of Pennsylvania, and the
University of Texas. He had then served for seven years as chairman
of the modern language department at Kenyon College, Ohio, leaving
there, as he himself put it, with the idea of coming to Florida to start
a college. Waterhouse appears also to have come to the college with
rather vague promises of financial help, which he hoped to secure
through his contacts with a "group of Harvard and Yale men who
make it a business of raising money for educational institutions that
find themselves in financial straits."
Waterhouse's brief tenure ended with his resignation in April, 1940,
and with what appears to have been disillusionment on both sides.
The outside financial assistance for the college never materialized, and
in his letter of resignation Waterhouse stated his conviction that "the
future of the college is far from promising and it will certainly
not be worth my while to continue in office. I have been one of the
faculty who has actually lost money right through the year, and I
cannot sacrifice my interests any further." Following this unhappy
episode, complete control of the college was returned to Dean Grether.
The number of faculty during the years 1935-1943 fluctuated
between seven and eleven, and there was considerable turnover. Of the
original faculty, only Grether, who continued to teach throughout
his connection with the college, and F. S. Wetzel were still on the
faculty in 1937. Wetzel continued as a member until September,
1943, thus completing a nine-year stint, by far the longest, up to that
time, of any faculty member except Grether.
Student enrollment ranged between a low of 11 in the fall of 1937
to a high of 78 in the fall of 1943. A September 1937 newspaper
account of the opening of the fall semester lists courses in 15 subject
fields. But because of the low enrollment the actual course offerings
were far more modest, and the examination schedule for that semester
lists only five subjects: English, mathematics, psychology, sociology,
and chemistry. However, in the fall of 1943, when enrollment reached
the high point of 78, the curriculum included, in addition to the five
subjects offered in 1937, Spanish, French, German, American history,
political science, biology, economics, and speech.
In the spring of 1936 the junior college began making plans for
its first summer school. In April of that year Dean Powell wrote to

.11 .

Dr. Tigert at the University of Florida asking his advice and approval
for such a step. In his reply Tigert stated that he had no objection to
the college's offering summer courses similar to those given in the
regular session and indicated that the University of Florida would
accept summer school credits on the same basis as regular session
credits. Beginning in 1936, a summer session was held each year, with
the peak enrollment being reached in the summer of 1943, when a
total of 31 students attended. Courses offered in the summer of 1943
were English, mathematics, Spanish, psychology, sociology, physics,
American history, and political science.
During this period the college did not award degrees as such.'* The
1935 catalogue mentions the granting, after completion of 60 hours
of work, of the "associate of arts certificate." But later accounts
indicate that the Florida State Department of Education permitted
the college to award a "diploma" to any student completing 60 se-
mester hours if that student did not intend to transfer to a senior
college to continue work toward a four-year degree.
During the early years, the number of students receiving diplomas
was quite small; in fact, up until 1941 a total of only five had earned
this distinction.*" Following final examinations each spring, it was
customary to hold a banquet in a downtown hotel, at which time
diplomas and other awards were given out. On May 30, 1941, at the
seventh annual banquet, a diploma was presented to J. C. Bennett, Jr.,
"the college's single graduate." Two graduates received diplomas at
the 1942 banquet. In June, 1943, the figure had risen to seven, up to
that time the largest graduating class in the school's history.
During the year 1935-1943 the college continued to work out
arrangements for the transfer of credits from Jacksonville Junior
College to other institutions. By 1938, agreements on such transfers
had been reached with the University of Florida, John B. Stetson Uni-
versity, Florida Southern College, Florida State College for Women,
University of Alabama, and George Washington University. In gen-
eral, credits were transferable on the basis agreed upon with the
University of Florida in September, 1934, with the credits being
accepted provisionally and validated after the student completed a
year of satisfactory work at the institution to which he transferred.
Another indication that the college, at least in a small way, was im-
proving its status and prestige was its membership, beginning in
December, 1941, in the American Association of Junior Colleges.

'~The first junior college associate in arts degrees were granted in 1952. See be-
low, p. 41.
**The first five students to receive diplomas were Laura May Minor-who in 1934
had been the first student to enter the college Mark R. Harbison, Allen B.
Moreland, Thomas Whitehead, Jr., and Albert L. Smith.

.12 .

Since virtually all the students attending the college were employed
during the daytime and attended classes at night, extracurricular
activities were limited almost entirely to those of a social nature. At
the beginning of each semester the faculty appointed a social com-
mittee to conduct such activities. For the second semester of the
1941-1942 school year, for example, the committee planned a George
Washington birthday party, a skating party, a St. Patrick's Day party,
and the annual Beach Spring Frolic. Each year the climactic event, of
course, was the banquet at which the diplomas and awards were pre-
sented. In those early years, incidentally, the school colors were scarlet
and white, with the change to the present green and white coming in
the summer or fall of 1944.
One object that remained virtually unchanged down through the
years was the college seal. In 1941 Dean Grether, faced with an un-
expected and immediate need for a seal, sat down at the dining room
table in his home and drew a rough sketch of the device. Alfred Miller,
of the Miller Press, added some suggestions, and the result was the seal
still being used today, with the lamp, the globe, and the open book
bearing the motto Fiat Lux, meaning "Let there be light."
The early years of the college, then, were by no means barren. But
there is no incident, episode, or achievement in the period 1935-1943
that can rank in importance with the ability of the college merely to
exist, to maintain its identity intact, ready when conditions were more
favorable to enter a period of consistent growth and development.
Certainly during its first eight or nine years the infant college, as a
1944 newspaper editorial put it, "showed signs of lack of proper
nutrition." Changing the metaphor, Dean Grether, in a letter written
in September, 1937, phrased it this way:
Since that time (September, 1934) our little craft has
suffered many vicissitudes. At times she has been becalmed
in motionless seas and it has seemed that she would never
move again. At times she has floundered through heavy seas
with every wave threatening to engulf her. At times she
has been forced to put into port for repairs or to change
members of her crew. At times she has had most of her
cabins filled with passengers and at other times she has been
almost empty. Always, however, she has been able to come
into the home port under her own power in June.
Dean Grether was hardly exaggerating when he wrote of the
vicissitudes of these early years. In the fall of 1937 only 11 students
were enrolled, and in June, 1938, cash on hand was an almost micro-
scopic $6.30. This was the nadir of the school's financial history,
however; by 1943 the situation had improved somewhat, and the bank
balance stood at $400. The college used a rather unusual method of

.13 .

determining faculty salaries. Out of the total net tuition, one-half
was divided evenly among the faculty, and the remainder was dis-
tributed among them on the basis of student load. But many students
paid their tuition in installments, and frequently these payments were
in arrears or remained uncollected. With no source of income other
than tuition, the college's financial situation, especially before 1939,
can only be described as desperate.

On occasions, faculty members had extreme difficulty collecting
their salaries. There was the case of one instructor who had taught for
two weeks in October of 1935; five months later she was still waiting
for her $7.50 in pay. At that time Dean Powell informed her that "we
are fully aware of this obligation to you and regret to say that at this
time the college has no money and is having extreme financial diffi-
culties.":" There is one instance also of a faculty member placing in the
hands of an attorney the collection of $15 back salary, and there were
times also when instructors threatened to withhold grades at the end
of the semester until their salaries were paid.

In June, 1936, registrar and instructor Amy W. Smallman severed
her connection with the college, and her letter of resignation sheds
further light on the school's financial plight. Mrs. Smallman offered
to give up her teaching salary of $80 for April and May-she received
no salary as registrar-"so that those instructors who feel that they
must receive their pay before they will hand in their grades may
have a better chance of being paid on time." If the money was not
needed for that purpose, she wanted it to be used for publicity "if the
school shall continue." If the school did not continue, the money was
to go to Judge Porter to reimburse him for bills he had paid for the
college out of his own pocket.
Mrs. Smallman then gave the reasons for her pessimism concerning
the future of the college:
I regret the necessity for resigning, but I feel that such
difficulties are bound to be perennial in any college without
endowment or any income other than tuition, and I feel that
my efforts are useless. One cannot make water run uphill.
There is obviously no public interest in a college here, and
without that there is little hope of establishing a stable one.

*In the fall of 1935, incidentally, Powell, taking a shot in the dark, addressed a
letter to John D. Rockefeller, Senior, at "The Casements," in Ormond Beach,
Florida, enclosing the college catalogue and asking the financier for "one or two
thousand dollars" to "put us through the present year." A few weeks later, from
30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York City, came the reply: "Mr. Rockefeller must ask
you to excuse him from responding favorably to your suggestion regarding assistance
to the college."

. 14.

The facts fully support Mrs. Smallman's gloomy picture, especially
for the first few years of the college's existence. But the determination
and vision of men like Dean Grether and chairman of the board Noble
pulled the college through these trying years. In the late 1930's and
early 1940's came a small but perceptible improvement in the school's
fortunes, and in 1943 and 1944 it began to move on toward new

. 15 .

in rented quarters, and it called the Civitan Club campaign "a project
of extraordinary value to the community."
At about the same time that the Riverside Avenue property was
acquired the college successfully completed its search for a full-time
president. On February 13, 1944, Judge Burton Barrs, chairman of
the Board of Trustees, announced that Dr. Garth H. Akridge had
been named president and that he would take over direction of the
school on March 1. Akridge was a native of Arkansas; he had graduated
from Arkansas State Teachers' College and had received his M.A. and
Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University. From 1940 to 1943, Akridge
had served as Director of Vocational Education for the Dade County
Public Schools. When he accepted the presidency of Jacksonville Junior
College, he was on leave from the Dade County School position and
was serving as Civilian Chief, Personnel and Training Division, Miami
Air Depot, U. S. Army Air Forces.
A full-time president and a new home might seem to have been
progress enough for the time being. But still to come, in September,
1944, was the crowning achievement of an auspicious year-the in-
auguration of day classes. A necessary preliminary step toward the
holding of such classes-classes which would entail the employment
of a full-time faculty and increased costs generally-was the securing
of additional revenue. This financial obstacle was removed in August,
1944, when Judge Barrs went before the City Council's Budget and
Finance Committee and asked for an increase in the city's original
appropriation of $4,000 to the college for the year. 1944. Reacting
favorably, the committee passed a resolution appropriating an addi-
tional $3,000 for the remainder of the year.* Later in August, the
City Council approved the increase; the Board of Trustees authorized
Dr. Akridge to employ a full-time faculty; and the way was cleared
for the beginning of day classes in September.
By the time these classes began, on September 18, 1944, Dr.
Akridge had assembled a faculty of six full-time and three part-time
instructors. The college's first full-time faculty members were: Andre
S. Bialolenki (psychology and English), Charles C. Davis (biology and
chemistry), Sigrid Moe (English and literature), Martha O'Nan
(French, Spanish, and Latin), Fred A. Wallace (mathematics and
physics), and Sidney Warren (social science, political science, and

*The total amount of city support for the year 1944 was thus $7,000. In 1945, the
city began contributing the full $10,000 allowed under the enabling act passed by
the state legislature in the spring of 1943. In 1948 this amount was increased to



Chapter 3. The College Acquires a Home
and a Full-time President
Chapter 4. The Search for a Campus
Chapter 5. The Move to Arlington


In 1944, after ten years of grim struggle for survival, the college
began an era of almost uninterrupted growth and progress. The year
1944 itself saw a number of exceedingly important developments:
the college left its rented quarters and moved into a home of its own;
a full-time president was selected; and a full schedule of day classes
was inaugurated. These outstanding events focus attention on 1944
as a key year in the history of the college. But in its own way the
preceding year-1943-was even more significant, for at that time
the groundwork was laid for the spectacular events of the following
Even before 1943 there were signs of a change for the better in
the fortunes of the college. In the summer of 1941 the Board of
Trustees adopted a list of objectives that included the securing of a
building for the college, the initiation of day classes, the strengthening
of the faculty, the securing of an endowment, and, ultimately, the
establishment of a four-year college. And then in February, 1942,
representatives of the college outlined a long-range expansion program
at a meeting of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce's Committee
on Higher Education. Emphasized especially was the need for day
classes, and the inadequate funds and lack of space that made it
impossible to provide such classes at that time. Some signs of an
awakening of community interest in the college and its problems can
be detected in the decision made at this meeting to establish a Chamber
of Commerce subcommittee on the junior college expansion program,
with Fred B. Noble, as chairman and J. Richard Grether as a com-
mittee member.
The years 1941 and 1942 were years of hope and of tentative
planning; 1943 was a year of decision and action. First in point of
time and in order of importance was a step taken by the Florida legis-
lature to make possible a strengthening of the school's financial struc-
ture. In the spring of 1943 and at the request of the college's Board
of Trustees, the legislature passed a bill authorizing the city of Jack-
sonville to appropriate up to $10,000 a year to Jacksonville Junior
College. In November, 1943, the City Council put into its budget
the sum of $4,000 for the college for the year 1944. It was this
appropriation that made possible one of the key events of 1944-the
employment of a full-time president.
In 1943, also, important additions were made to the Board of
Trustees. As noted above, Carl S. Swisher and J. Burton Webster

.18 .

were elected to the board at the annual meeting in June. Thus
strengthened, the board began a determined search for a president
and for a permanent home for the college.
The problem of securing a permanent location was placed in the
way of solution on December 10, 1943, when the Civitan Club of
Jacksonville voted to sponsor a drive to raise $20,000 to purchase a
classroom building. Already selected as being suitable for such a
purpose was the former home of Colonel W. E. Kay, 704 Riverside
Avenue, at the corner of Gilmore Street. The house had been built
about 1900 by Captain Charles E. Garner, a riverboat skipper and
for eight years president of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.
Garner lived in the house for about six years and then sold it to Colonel
Kay, who was general counsel for the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad.
Colonel Kay and his family occupied the home until 1939. In 1940
it was purchased by Mrs. R. E. Boone, who converted it into a rooming
With 15 rooms, including a ballroom on the third floor, and with
a lot measuring 200 by 150 feet, the property seemed quite well suited
to the expanding needs of the college. Plenty of classroom space would
be available as well as living quarters for the full-time president the
college was seeking. And so at its December 10 meeting the Civitan
Club appointed J. Burton Webster, a past president of the Civitans, as
chairman of the drive to raise $20,000, an amount which would pur-
chase the Kay home and provide for the necessary repairs, alterations,
and improvements. The Board of Trustees, with Judge Barrs, Mr.
Noble, and Mr. Colee playing especially active roles, gave its full
support to this drive, making it a sort of joint effort of the Civitans
and the board.
Within a week after the Civitan Club meeting of December 10,
1943, the drive had raised $4,000, and early in 1944 enough money
had been contributed or pledged to make it possible to go ahead with
the purchase. On May 1, the college moved into its new home-the
Kay mansion at 704 Riverside Avenue. Major contributors to the
campaign, which closed in September, 1944, with $22,500 pledged
and $16,500 paid,* were Mrs. Alfred I. duPont, Clifford G. McGehee,
and Carl S. Swisher. Also, there were enough other contributors to
indicate at least a stirring of wider civic interest in the future of the
college. Other evidence of such interest is the long, leading editorial
that appeared in the Florida Times-Union on January 12, 1944, urging
people to support the Civitan Club's drive. The paper observed that
owning its own home would give the college a status it couldn't attain

*Actual cost of the Kay property was $16,503.43.


in rented quarters, and it called the Civitan Club campaign "a project
of extraordinary value to the community."
At about the same time that the Riverside Avenue property was
acquired the college successfully completed its search for a full-time
president. On February 13, 1944, Judge Burton Barrs, chairman of
the Board of Trustees, announced that Dr. Garth H. Akridge had
been named president and that he would take over direction of the
school on March 1. Akridge was a native of Arkansas; he had graduated
from Arkansas State Teachers' College and had received his M.A. and
Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University. From 1940 to 1943, Akridge
had served as Director of Vocational Education for the Dade County
Public Schools. When he accepted the presidency of Jacksonville Junior
College, he was on leave from the Dade County School position and
was serving as Civilian Chief, Personnel and Training Division, Miami
Air Depot, U. S. Army Air Forces.
A full-time president and a new home might seem to have been
progress enough for the time being. But still to come, in September,
1944, was the crowning achievement of an auspicious year-the in-
auguration of day classes. A necessary preliminary step toward the
holding of such classes-classes which would entail the employment
of a full-time faculty and increased costs generally-was the securing
of additional revenue. This financial obstacle was removed in August,
1944, when Judge Barrs went before the City Council's Budget and
Finance Committee and asked for an increase in the city's original
appropriation of $4,000 to the college for the year 1944. Reacting
favorably, the committee passed a resolution appropriating an addi-
tional $3,000 for the remainder of the year.'* Later in August, the
City Council approved the increase; the Board of Trustees authorized
Dr. Akridge to employ a full-time faculty; and the way was cleared
for the beginning of day classes in September.
By the time these classes began, on September 18, 1944, Dr.
Akridge had assembled a faculty of six full-time and three part-time
instructors. The college's first full-time faculty members were: Andre
S. Bialolenki (psychology and English), Charles C. Davis (biology and
chemistry), Sigrid Moe (English and literature), Martha O'Nan
(French, Spanish, and Latin), Fred A. Wallace (mathematics and
physics), and Sidney Warren (social science, political science, and

*The total amount of city support for the year 1944 was thus $7,000. In 1945, the
city began contributing the full $10,000 allowed under the enabling act passed by
the state legislature in the spring of 1943. In 1948 this amount was increased to


The day enrollment was a comparatively small but still respectable
figure of 65.: Evening-school enrollment soared to a record high of
205, making a total of 270 day and evening students-quite a con-
trast with the total of 78 enrolled in the fall of 1943.
Courses offered included English, mathematics, biology, chemistry,
physics, history, political science, sociology, economics, accounting,
French, and Spanish. Also, in the fall of 1944 the college offered, for
the first time, instruction in psychology, sociology, chemistry, and
mathematics for students enrolled in the Cadet Nurse Corps at St.
Luke's Hospital. This instruction was given by the junior college
faculty, but classes were held at St. Luke's Hospital rather than at
the college. This arrangement was terminated in June, 1950; but in
September, 1958, at the beginning of the Silver Jubilee Year, a similar
program was put in operation by the university and St. Luke's.**
It is interesting to note, also, that beginning in November, 1944,
and continuing until June, 1945, Jacksonville Junior College served as
the Jacksonville representative of the University of Florida Extension
Division. Plans were worked out by Dr. Akridge and B. C. Riley, dean
of the university's General Extension Division; and during the winter
and spring, University of Florida extension courses in algebra, English,
political science, Spanish, and accounting were taught at the junior
college by regular junior college faculty. In fact, some of the courses
-English 363 and 366 (Contemporary Drama and Contemporary
Poetry) and Political Science 309 and 310 (International Relations)
were upper-level courses, above the freshman and sophomore courses
offered by the junior college. Thus, upper-level courses were taught
at the college some 13 years before they became a regular part of the
curriculum. :'*

The year 1944 was marked also by a number of other "firsts." At
the close of the spring semester, 1944, the college published its first
Dean's List, composed of the names of ten students, each of whom
had maintained a scholastic average of at least B plus. In the spring
of 1944, also, a Dramatic Club was organized by Dean Grether just
before he resigned. The year 1944 witnessed, in addition, the birth of

*In fact, Dr. Akridge was so pleased about the size of the day enrollment that on
September 19, he sent a telegram to the board chairman, Judge Barrs, who was on
vacation, informing him that 60 day-students were already registered. Akridge
included in the telegram the facetious observation that "we might develop a full
university if you could double your vacation period." In his answer, Judge Barrs
replied, "I knew the College would benefit from my absence, but am sorry you all
found it out so soon."
"'See below, pp. 65-66.
**"Up through August, 1947, the junior college bulletins continue to refer to this
arrangement with the University of Florida, but there is no evidence indicating
whether or not such courses were actually taught at the junior college after the
1944-1945 academic year.

student publications at the junior college. The first yearbook, called
The Sandune, was published in the spring of the year,* and on October
27 the campus newspaper, The Scribe, made its debut.-"'"
By 1947 the extracurricular activity program had expanded to the
point that a student council was formed and given the responsibility
of organizing and coordinating all student activities authorized by
the faculty. And the following year the Green Key Award was es-
tablished as a means of recognizing distinctive service to student life
and activities at the college. The six charter members of Green Key
were chosen by the faculty in May, 1949. Later, the students who
already held this award helped select new members.
Student activities in the field of intercollegiate athletics began
during the 1947-1948 academic year. In the fall of 1947 the college
hired on a part-time basis its first athletic coach, John A. Geilen, who
during the next few years made a habit of producing winning basket-
ball teams. His outstanding 1949-1950 team won 24 games and lost
only 3, and took fifth place in the national junior college tournament
at Hutchinson, Kansas. In the spring of 1947 the school fielded its
first track team, coached by biology instructor Richard P. Trogdon.
Track continued to be a major sport until 1954, when it was dropped
from the athletic program. The old Kay mansion, of course, had no
facilities for athletics; basketball games were played at local high
school gymnasiums-Landon and Lee-and the track team used Lee
High School's Cawthorn Field.
During the years 1944-1949 there was a steady increase in the
number of scholarships provided by interested organizations and indi-
viduals. By 1949 the list of donors included the Junior Woman's Club
of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Business and Professional Woman's
Club, the Woman's Club of Jacksonville, the American Association of
University Women, the United Daughters of the Confederacy, and
the Altrusa Club. These scholarships were important not only because
of the obvious assistance they gave to promising students who other-
wise might not have been able to attend college; they were important
also because they indicated an increasing interest in the college on the
part of the Jacksonville community and a significant change from
the apathy of the 1930's.

*The editor of the 1944 Sandune was Jane Lanham. After this first issue, publication
of a yearbook ceased until 1951, when the project was resumed under the year-
book's present title, The Riparian. The Riparian's first editor was Marvin Thacker,
who later was to serve as president of the Jacksonville University Alumni Asso-
ciation. See Appendix B.
**Ernestine Hurlbert was the first editor of the newspaper. In September, 1946, the
name was changed to The Fledgling; and in January, 1957, the paper was given
its present name, The Navigator.




When the college moved into its own home on Riverside Avenue
in 1944, it was assumed that a fairly lasting solution had been found
to the problems of adequate space and facilities. But in just a little
over two years the Kay mansion began to burst at the seams. Indeed,
the whole history of the school during the period since World War II
could be made to center around raw statistics on enrollment. In 1943,
the last year in the rented quarters in the Masonic Temple, enrollment
was 78. In 1944, after the college moved into the Riverside Avenue
building, the figure jumped to 270. Enrollment remained at about
that level until the fall of 1946, when returning World War II veterans
and the GI Bill brought an almost 100 percent increase, boosting the
number of students to about 550.* Significantly, day enrollment,
which had been 84 in 1945, increased by about 400 percent, to 333.
Between 1946 and 1950 the total number enrolled ranged between
500 and 600 and then began to fall off because of the Korean war,
dropping to a low of 409 in 1951. Since that time the figure has gone
steadily and sometimes spectacularly upward.
It was the sharp increase in the fall 1946 enrollment that bears
most directly on the school's history during the years between World
War II and the Korean conflict. Even before that date there was, of
course, the problem of making efficient use of the space at 704 River-
side Avenue. The large rooms on the first and second floors were
partitioned off into classrooms and administrative offices, and the third
floor ballroom was converted into a library. Even the old stable behind
the building was pressed into service, the loft for faculty offices and
the stable itself for the speech department. Despite these alterations
and improvisations, there still remained the problem of laboratory
facilities. For the first two years after the move to Riverside Avenue,
the college arranged to use the facilities of local high schools. But in
the summer of 1946, the college secured two surplus temporary build-
ings from Camp Blanding and had them moved to the Riverside Avenue
property, where they were used for engineering drawing classes and
for chemistry and biology laboratories.

*An interesting sidelight to the 1946 enrollment picture was the fact that during
the summer the college participated in the Navy V-5 cadet training program and
gave courses to 56 V-5 trainees. These students had been transferred to the junior
college from Georgia Institute of Technology for the six-week summer session.
This was part of the two years of college work they were required to complete before
entering pre-flight training.

In anticipation of the increased enrollment in the fall of 1946, the
Board of Trustees created more classroom space in the main college
building by moving Dr. Akridge's residence from the rooms he occu-
pied there and renting a house for him elsewhere. This enrollment
increase, of course, made mandatory an increase in the size of the
faculty. In the fall of 1944 there were 9 full- and part-time instruc-
tors; the figure rose to 12 in 1945, but in 1946 the faculty was
increased to 20, which was the biggest increase in any one year until
the boom in enrollment after the Korean war.
To assemble this 1946 faculty was no mean accomplishment. This
was the period of burgeoning GI enrollment, and collegeteachers,
especially in scientific fields, were in very short supply. The college's
correspondence files for 1946 are full of letters from Dr. Akridge to
college placement bureaus and teacher placement agencies, written in
an effort to recruit instructors in physics, chemistry, engineering
drawing, and mathematics. To his plea that "we are desperately in
need of instructors in these fields," the usual answer from other col-
leges was that "if we knew of any such people we would hire them
ourselves." Still, Dr. Akridge did manage to increase the number of
faculty members by almost 100 percent over the previous year.
Among those who joined the faculty in 1946 were four teachers
who are still with the university today: Jacob F. Golightly, Robert E.
Allison, Joseph A. Hauber, and C. Edward Bryan, the latter serving
in a part-time capacity. Important additions to the staff in 1946 were
the school's first full-time librarians, Carol Nance* and Kathleen M.
Even before the onrush of GI students in the fall of 1946, there
were signs of increasing community awareness of the needs of the
college and a willingness to do something concrete about meeting these
needs. Hardly had the Civitan Club completed its campaign to raise
funds for purchase of the Kay property, than it began a second drive-
this one for $30,000-principally for the purchase of library books
and laboratory equipment. This second drive, begun in September,
1944, was a substantial success, a very practical symbol of the con-
tinuing efforts of this important civic group to assist in the develop-
ment of the college. And then in 1947, the state legislature amended
the 1943 act that had enabled the City of Jacksonville to make an
annual $10,000 appropriation to the college. This amendment, which
was proposed by State Senator John E. Mathews of Jacksonville, in-
creased the amount of aid the city could give to $25,000. Beginning
in 1948, this much larger amount of direct community support was

*Actually, Carol Nance had begun to work at the library on a part-time basis in

regularly provided, thus helping greatly to alleviate the school's finan-
cial problems.
Only a little more than a year after the college moved to its own
home on Riverside Avenue, and more than a year before the big
enrollment increase of September, 1946, Dr. Akridge and the Board
of Trustees began making plans for another move-this time to a new
campus. In July, 1945, Dr. Akridge wrote to board member Carl S.
Swisher giving Mr. Swisher the distances from Main and Bay Streets,
in downtown Jacksonville, to various possible sites for a college campus.
The letter indicates that Dr. Akridge was already working on a floor
plan for the first building. It shows also that in this early planning
Mr. Swisher was beginning to play a leading role, for Dr. Akridge
wished him "continued success in your commendable efforts to estab-
lish more fully the College on a suitable campus with an adequate first
unit to house the program that we can reasonably anticipate during
the immediate future." Then in August, 1945, Dr. Akridge wrote
letters to the United States Office of Education, the American Council
on Education, and the National Education Association asking them for
help in estimating the cost of constructing "in the near future" a
classroom building to accommodate about 500 students.
But the first priority was to locate and secure a suitable campus.
In fact, in October, 1945, Mr. Swisher informed the trustees that if
such a campus could be acquired by the end of the year, he would lead
a drive to raise $100,000 for the first building and contribute $10,000
toward it." Shortly thereafter, it began to look as though the City of
Jacksonville would step into the breach and procure a suitable piece
of property for the college to use as its new campus. In November,
1945, the president of the City Council appointed a special committee
to help the college trustees select a site. On December 17, J. Burton
Webster, speaking for the board, told a special session of the City
Commission that the college had outgrown its facilities and was look-
ing forward to the day when it would become a four-year institution.
The commissioners then passed a resolution to the effect that they
would assist the City Council in locating a suitable campus. Only a
few days later, the City Council, meeting in special session, adopted
a resolution stating that it was "advisable and necessary to acquire
lands for park purposes which ultimately may be used for the develop-
ment and advancement of the cultural life of the City through the
medium of the Jacksonville Junior College." The resolution went on
to commit the council to acquire 100 to 150 acres of land for the
college at a cost not to exceed $130,000.

'*At this time, also, there are references to a "Permanent Planning Committee" of
the Board of Trustees, a committee made up of J. Burton Webster, C. G. McGehee,
Glenn Marshall, Jr., George H. Hodges, and Carl S. Swisher.

. 25 .

These very generous offers of community support came to naught,
however. The largest grant of land the city could offer was a 40- to
60-acre plot, which the Board of Trustees considered inadequate. There
are indications that certain legal difficulties involved in city procure-
ment of land for the college also proved to be a stumbling block.
Early in 1946, and indeed all through the first half of that year,
it appeared that a campus and all the necessary facilities were going to
fall into the hands of the college in one nice big package. This package
was Naval Auxiliary Air Station, Cecil Field, which according to word
put out early in the year by the Jacksonville Naval Air Station Com-
mander, Rear Admiral Ralph N. Davison, was definitely going to be
declared surplus. On March 7, 1946, Dr. Akridge was informed that
Cecil Field was scheduled to go on caretaker status on May 1 and under
normal procedure would be declared surplus 60 days later.
This news, of course, immediately opened up the prospect of ac-
quiring this government property as a site for the college. It was an
attractive prospect indeed; the field's 2,700 acres and its many facilities
such as hangars (one of which could be used as a field house), two
large classrooms, five buildings that could serve as dormitories,* dining
room, 600-seat cafeteria, recreation building, and swimming pool,
would be sufficient to advance by at least 15 years the plans for expan-
sion of the college.
Dr. Akridge and the trustees lost little time in following up this
golden opportunity to solve in one fell swoop most of the major
problems of the young college. Early in March the board inspected
the field, and Dr. Akridge polled the student body and got a unanimous
vote in favor of the move, despite the fact that the 17 miles separating
Cecil Field from downtown Jacksonville would greatly increase the
distance most students would have to commute. Early in March, also,
Akridge went to Washington and met with various government offi-
cials in conferences arranged by Senators Claude Pepper and Charles
Andrews and by Representative Emory Price. A number of Jackson-
ville area civic organizations, including the Duval County Federation
of Women's Clubs, the Wesconnett Civic Club, the Springfield Wom-
en's Club, and the Duval Education Association, issued statements
calling upon the government to release Cecil Field to the local college.
The drive to secure the field was strongly supported also by two
highly placed figures in the field of Florida education: Colin English,
head of the State Department of Education, and John J. Tigert, presi-
dent of the University of Florida. On behalf of the college, Dr. English

"It was estimated that these five buildings, which had been used as officers' quarters,
could serve as dormitories for more than 800 students and that the rental received
would substantially meet the operating and maintenance costs of the Cecil Field

wrote to the War Assets Administration, from whom the field would
have to be purchased, asking the head of its Institutional Branch, Real
Property Division for his help. Said English, "I have watched with
considerable pride the successful struggle of the Jacksonville Junior
College to achieve a large measure of success in the Florida College
field," and English went on to stress the need for helping the state's
private colleges, thus easing the heavy load of GI students burdening
the state institutions. This same viewpoint was expressed by Dr. Tigert
in a letter written to Dr. Akridge after he and Akridge had made an
inspection trip to Cecil Field. Dr. Tigert was of the opinion that the
field was "admirably adapted" for housing the college. And he went
on to predict that "something like a catastrophe" was going to develop
in the state colleges unless Jacksonville and other educational centers
were able to expand their educational facilities.
Early in the period of negotiation for Cecil Field, the college
learned that the Surplus Property Act of 1944 required that no airport
be disposed of until it had first been offered to the state and its sub-
divisions, including all the municipalities in the vicinity. Also holding
higher priorities than the junior college were the Veterans Adminis-
tration, Civil Aeronautics Administration, and the Federal Housing
Authority. By the end of April the state, county, and city had waived
their priorities,'* and the Veterans Administration had assured Dr.
Akridge that it would do likewise once the field was declared surplus.
As spring wore on, however, it became increasingly apparent that
the high hopes for a Cecil Field campus would not be realized. The
Navy, it seems, had changed its mind. For a time, early in June, 1946,
it appears that some sort of plan for a joint occupation of the field by
the Navy and the college was contemplated but was turned down by
the Board of Trustees as not being feasible. For a time, also, it seems
that the operation of the airport at Cecil Field got involved in the
negotiations. Amazingly, in light of the obvious difficulties of such a
proposal, the college prepared a letter for the chief of the Navy's
Bureau of Yards and Docks to the effect that since a course in aviation
training had been added to the curriculum, the college could operate
the airfield. Finally, on June 17, the Navy Department notified the
War Assets Administration that because of its strategic military value
Cecil Field would be retained by the Navy,'"' and on June 28 the War

*On March 19 the Board of County Commissioners of Duval County unanimously
waived its priority and also went on record as "enthusiastically endorsing the
Jacksonville Junior College and any educational program it might see fit to use."
**Later on, in September, the Navy indicated that Cecil Field was retained in an
operational status to support the naval air training program at Jacksonville Naval
Air Station. "This course of action," the Navy said, "has been necessitated by recent
changes in budgetary allowances and a redistribution of personnel undergoing flight

Assets Administration informed Dr. Akridge that it considered the
case closed.
It seems, though, that even before the Navy finally shut the door,
the college was beginning to have serious misgivings about the project.
One very practical problem was the distance of 17 miles between
Cecil Field and downtown Jacksonville and the difficulty of procuring
busses to transport students to and from the field. In fact, on June 26,
two days before the Navy made its final decision, Dr. Akridge informed
Admiral Davison, at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, that because of
the post-World War II shortage, the college could not get delivery of
busses in time for the beginning of the fall semester, and for that
reason, said Akridge, the college would have to continue operating at
its old location. Very sensibly, Akridge went on to indicate that while
the college had not discarded the possibility of using such facilities as
those at Cecil Field, the decision would depend on evidence of sufficient
enrollment, demand from out-of-town veterans, occupancy terms, and
the ability of the college adequately to staff and equip such facilities
for educational purposes. Thus ended the Cecil Field episode-one that
embodied great hopes, much red tape, some flights from reality, and
finally a facing up to insurmountable problems and a Navy decision
not to release the field.
With the collapse of the Cecil Field project the Board of Trustees
renewed its search for a campus. The board appointed a site selection
committee composed of Carl S. Swisher, C. G. McGehee, J. Burton
Webster, Glenn Marshall, Jr., and Harold Colee; and altogether during
the hunt for a site the committee investigated more than 40 locations.
Finally, in December, 1946, came the announcement that the college
had found a place for a new and permanent home. Newspaper ac-
counts, and indeed a letter from chairman of the board Burton Barrs
to Dr. Akridge, indicated that the college had "closed the deal" for a
185-acre waterfront tract on the south bank of Cedar Creek, where
the creek runs into the Ortega River. This site seemed to fulfill all
the requirements set up by the board: it was on a main highway
(Blanding Boulevard); it was on the water; and it was close to the
city, seven and one-half miles from downtown, with plenty of room
for future expansion.
Once again, however, the attempt to find a campus was doomed
to failure. To all intents and purposes the deal seemed to have been
closed on Christmas eve, 1946. About a month later, however, the
Ortega Company, which owned the land, informed the trustees that
certain restrictive clauses would have to be placed in the deed before
the property could be conveyed. Rather than accept these restrictions,
the board, late in March, 1947, voted unanimously to abandon the
negotiations. Needless to say, the college did not move to Ortega.

S28 .

Happily, the disappointment over the failure to secure the Ortega
property was short-lived. On April 8, 1947, only a few days after the
Ortega negotiations collapsed, Judge Burton Barrs, chairman of the
Board of Trustees, announced the purchase of a tract of land on the
St. Johns River as a permanent site for Jacksonville Junior College.
This tract, secured for about $35,000 from the Barnett National Bank
and the late Bion H. Barnett, consisted of 137 acres of land in Arling-
ton, with about 2300 feet of frontage on the river and about the same
frontage on Chaseville Road (renamed University Boulevard in Janu-
ary, 1959).:
The college, it seems, had acquired an almost ideal campus site, one
that fulfilled just about all the prerequisites set up by the board. It
was on the water; there was plenty of room for expansion; and the
area was readily accessible, being only seven miles from the heart of
the city. Moreover, the building of a bridge across the St. Johns to
Arlington, a project that had been under consideration for many years
and was almost certain to be realized, would just about cut this
distance in half. In addition, a study of building permits issued in
Duval County indicated that most of the residential growth in recent
years had been south of the river and toward the beaches; so it seemed
that a location on that side of the river would be nearer the center of
the county's population 10, 20, or 30 years hence. And there were
aesthetic as well as practical advantages to the Arlington site, for this
was an area of great natural beauty, much of it covered with trees:
hickory, water oak, magnolia, willow, live oak, and dogwood.
The acquisition of an outstanding campus site was of course a
giant step forward, but almost three and one-half years were to elapse
before the college was able to move to its permanent home in Arling-
ton. Shortly after the purchase of the property in April, 1947, there
was talk of beginning the construction of one or more buildings by
the end of the year, with classes to open in the fall of 1948. There
was even mention of opening in temporary buildings in the fall of

*About 90 of the 137 acres was high ground, with an elevation of about 40 feet.
The remainder was mostly low land, partly covered by water at high tide. By the
summer of 1948 it had been raised with over 700,000 cubic yards of fill to an
elevation of six feet or more above sea level, the fill coming from dredging operations
being carried on by the U. S. Corps of Engineers in the Terminal Channel of the
St. Johns River. The filling in of this low-lying area resulted in a net addition to
the original 137 acres, giving the college about 150 acres of usable land. Later, 30
additional acres were purchased, making a total of about 180.

1947, and Dr. Akridge indicated that perhaps the college would expand
into a four-year institution by 1949.
A less sanguine view was that of board chairman Judge Burton
Barrs. Writing to Akridge, the judge emphasized the need for careful
planning and the need also for a building-fund campaign. Moreover,
there had to be settled the question of whether the school should secure
temporary buildings to speed the transfer to Arlington or permit only
permanent structures to be built there.
In the months that followed, all of these matters came up for
scrutiny and decision by the Board of Trustees. But before any final
action was taken on any of these problems, there was an important
change in the leadership of the board. After four years of faithful
and effective service as chairman, Judge Barrs indicated, in May, 1947,
that he would not be able to accept renomination; and on June 24,
1947, he was succeeded by Carl S. Swisher, who since his election to
the board in 1943 had become an increasingly active and influential
Logically, the first step was to prepare an over-all plan for the new
campus, and in August, 1947, the board authorized the architectural
firm of Kemp, Bunch & Jackson to employ Arthur McVoy, a planning
consultant, to draw up such a plan. Mr. McVoy was instructed to
project on the Arlington site a plant that would be adequate to accom-
modate about 3,000 full-time students enrolled in a four-year college
or university. This seemed to be a reasonable estimate of growth over
the next 20 to 30 years. Actually, as finally published in March, 1948,
the plan included a blueprint of the campus as it would appear in each
of three stages of enrollment increase: Stage 1-900 to 1,100 students;
Stage 2 2,000 to 2,400 students; and Stage 3 3,600 to 4,000
Later, substantial changes were made in this original plan, but it is
interesting to note that a number of the university's present buildings
are located just about where they appear on Mr. McVoy's original
scheme: Founders Building, Swisher Auditorium, Swisher Gymnasium,
Swisher Library, President's House, and the maintenance buildings.
Parts of the campus that did not materialize as he planned them include
a lagoon where the present athletic fields are situated, with an amphi-
theater below and toward the President's House from the present
library. On the lagoon and facing the amphitheater, there was to be
a floating stage, and where the lagoon met the river, there was to be a
yacht club. At the site of the present Alexander Brest Amphitheater,
Mr. McVoy's plans showed a 24,000-seat stadium.
This Campus Plan and Growth Pattern for Jacksonville Junior
College prepared by Mr. McVoy is of considerable significance. Most


college campuses and plants have just grown, like Topsy. Here, the
Board of Trustees of the junior college wisely decided to proceed ac-
cording to a master plan, a plan geared quite definitely to the expansion
of the school into a four-year institution. Despite some departures
from the original recommendations, the present campus stands as a
monument to the wisdom of long-range planning per se and to the
pioneer work done by Mr. McVoy. His plan, incidentally, received
national recognition when it was published in the August 1949 issue
of Progressive Architecture in the form of an article titled "Planning
a New College Campus." At that time McVoy was director of the
City Planning Commission, Baltimore, Maryland.
While this plan was being prepared, the board decided to go ahead
and procure some temporary buildings. These could be obtained from
the government at very little cost to the college and placed on the
Arlington campus ready for future use. Altogether, four temporary
frame buildings were secured from the Federal Works Agency's Bureau
of Community Facilities under a program designed to provide facilities
for student veterans. Two of the buildings were brought to the
Arlington campus from Camp Forrest, Trillahoma, Tennessee, in the
fall of 1947; and the other two were brought from Camp Blanding,
Florida, the following spring. All of this was done at relatively small
cost to the college. The government spent almost $25,000 dismantling
and re-erecting the first two buildings, but the cost to the college was
less than $1,000, most of which was used to defray the cost of trans-
porting the buildings from Tennessee. For the four buildings them-
selves the college paid nothing. It was expected that they would be
used to house laboratories, a library, and a student center.
As the year 1948 progressed, the Board of Trustees proceeded with
its plans to erect the first unit of the master plan-a permanent build-
ing that would accommodate about 500 students. Obviously, this
would require a great deal of outside help. To bring the community
into the picture, the trustees gave a dinner party at the George Wash-
ington Hotel on October 20, 1948, at which time they presented to a
large group of prominent Jacksonville civic and business leaders the
details of a proposed immediate expansion program for the junior
college. The first step would include the construction of a permanent
building, a water system, sewers, roads, and sidewalks, and would cost
in the neighborhood of $550,000.
The reaction of the dinner guests was quite favorable, and on the
motion of William S. Johnson, executive vice president and general
manager of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, the group went
on record as urging the Board of Trustees to undertake the con-
struction of the first permanent building. And there were a number
of other signs of favorable community reaction. Resolutions con-


gratulating the trustees on their plans were adopted by the Jacksonville
Chamber of Commerce and by the Junior Chamber of Commerce. The
plan was endorsed also by the Jacksonville Branch of the American
Association of University Women in a resolution stating that the need
for funds to carry out such a program was not transcended by that of
any other community-wide institution. The Civitan Club added its
support and proposed that the year 1949, "as far as new community-
wide fund raising efforts for capital purposes are concerned, be desig-
nated 'Jacksonville Junior College Year.' "
By the end of 1948, the building fund had in it about $75,000 in
cash and pledges toward the erection of a permanent classroom and
office building on the Arlington campus. The drive for funds met with
only moderate success in 1949, a complicating factor here being the
extension of the Baptist Hospital fund-raising appeal over into the
period of the junior college campaign. It may have been, too, that the
city was still feeling the effects of the 1948 business recession.
As 1948 wore on, however, two factors-one old, one new-added
greatly to the urgency of the drive for funds. The old factor was
that of accreditation. What standing the school did have was based
pretty much on the willingness of the University of Florida to grant
transfer students provisional credit for work done at the junior col-
lege." But in its bid for formal accreditation by the regional accrediting
body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, the
local institution was turned down in December, 1947, and again a year
later. Each time, the lack of an adequate physical plant was the main
stumbling block. In 1949 there was a mounting determination to
remove this impediment by getting started on the new building, per-
haps in time for the Southern Association to act favorably at its
December 1949 meeting.
The new factor entering the picture in 1949 was the news of the
plan to build the Gilmore Street Bridge. Such a project would certainly
mean the condemnation of the college property at 704 Riverside
Avenue, and it seemed likely that the school would have to vacate
by September, 1950. In July, 1949, Mr. Swisher stressed this point
in letters to other members of the board. Another reason for acting
quickly, he said, was the fact that faculty members and students had
been making voluntary contributions since the fall of 1948, and
further delay would indicate that their efforts weren't being ap-
By December, 1949, planning and fund raising both reached the
point where Mr. Swisher and Dr. Akridge could express the hope that
during the coming year not one but two classroom buildings might

*See above, p. 7.


possibly be erected on the Arlington campus. If the two could be
built simultaneously, about ten percent could be saved on the second
building and possibly ten percent on both. Moreover, a second building
would make it possible to expand the curriculum to include third-year
courses in the fall of 1950 and fourth-year courses the year following,
thus converting the junior college into a four-year institution. Mr.
Swisher strongly urged the Board of Trustees to consider the ad-
vantages of constructing a second building, and on January 17, 1950,
the student body and faculty, at a meeting called by the student
council, launched a drive to raise approximately half the funds for
this additional project.
The advantages of putting up two buildings instead of just one
were obvious. But the problem of raising the necessary funds proved
insurmountable, and only one building was erected in 1950. On
January 24, Mr. Swisher showed a sketch and floor plan to the board,
and the members then voted to proceed with the construction of the
school's first permanent building. On April 25 a contract was signed
with A. D. Newkirk & Son, and that same day work began on the
foundation trenches. The building was designed by Kemp, Bunch &
Jackson, and it included space for 17 classrooms, administrative offices,
and a board room.
The principal contributors to the new building were Jno. H.
Swisher & Son, Inc., Mr. and Mrs. Carl S. Swisher, Jacksonville Paper
Company, Moore Dry Kiln Company, Moore Pipe & Sprinkler Company,
Mrs. Alfred I. duPont, Florida National Bank of Jacksonville, St. Joe
Paper Company, and the National Container Corporation. In addition,
there were about 40 other individuals, business firms, and civic organi-
zations that gave substantial assistance. However, the cost of the
building-well over $200,000-so far exceeded the original estimates
of about $150,000 that despite this widespread community support,
it was necessary to borrow rather heavily from the college operating
fund surplus before the building was finally completed.
There were, of course, other heavy expenditures involved in
establishing the college at its new home in Arlington. Money was
needed for a water system, a road, sewers, and repairs and remodeling
of the four frame government-surplus buildings already on the campus.
Raising money to defray this sort of expense was bound to be more
difficult than raising money for a new building. The problem was
largely solved by drawing on the sum of approximately $48,000 which
the college received from the state for the condemned Riverside Avenue
property. An interesting sidelight to the disposal of this property was
an offer made by Rev. Marshall Wyatt to Dr. Akridge to purchase
the columns around the porch of the old Kay mansion for use in the
erection of a sanctuary for the Lake Shore Presbyterian Chapel, a


mission of the Riverside Presbyterian Church. Later, these columns
were purchased for that purpose, and today 20 of them are a part
of the Lake Shore Presbyterian Church building on Blanding Boule-
vard.* Thus a part of the first permanent home of the college was
preserved as part of the Jacksonville scene.
With construction not getting under way at the Arlington site
until late in April, 1950, it was bound to be touch and go as to whether
the new building would be ready in time for the opening of the fall
semester. As it turned out, classes began almost on time, early in
October, despite the fact that the building was not quite completed.
Registration was held at the old Riverside Avenue location late in
September, and on Saturday, September 30, the moving of furniture,
books, and equipment officially began. Mr. Swisher furnished a moving
van and a number of workers, and students helped, too. That same
day also the faculty held its first meeting on the new campus, and on
Monday, October 2, 1950, classes began.
The new building, of course, gave the college far better facilities
than it had ever enjoyed before. But still it was necessary to depend
heavily on temporary structures. Four of these were acquired from
the government and placed on the campus in 1947 and 1948,:'* and
two more were brought over from the Riverside Avenue location in
the summer of 1950. As they were finally arranged, four of the tem-
porary buildings were situated across from and a little north of the
new permanent building; two of these were used as laboratories, one
as a student assembly hall, and the other for storage. The other two
temporary buildings were located south of the new building, one serv-
ing as the library and the other as the student center. The new
building, incidentally, was not given its official name Founders
Liberal Arts Building until 1954. Before that date it seems to have
been called the "Administration Building" or "the main building."
It is now known simply as the "Founders Building."
The move to Arlington meant also that the college had a transpor-
tation problem on its hands. The Mathews Bridge was not completed
until the spring of 1953, and prior to that time the Jacksonville Coach
Company busses ran regularly only as far as Hope Haven Hospital on
Atlantic Boulevard. To accommodate students who traveled by bus,
the college purchased two busses, painted them with the school colors,
green and white, and ran a shuttle service, known as the "Green Beetle

"The church architects felt that these graceful columns would help create a pleasing
blend of traditional and contemporary styles. One change had to be made in the
columns, however; the original Ionic-style capitals were in very poor condition and
were replaced by simpler Doric capitals.
'"See above, p. 31.


Run," between the college and the hospital. Later, the service was
extended also to St. Nicholas Center.
The establishment of a campus in Arlington involved more than
the erection of buildings and the provisions for transportation. Im-
portant also were the actions taken to provide roads, a water system,
a sewage system, and attractive landscaping for the new building. As
has been indicated, the cost of most of these projects was defrayed by
the sale of the Riverside Avenue property. But some special comments
are called for in connection with the water system and the landscaping.
The main item in the water system was the water tower, which was
purchased second-hand and brought to the campus from Cocoa, Florida.
On September 6 there was still about ten days' work remaining to be
done on the tank when the Jacksonville area was menaced by a hurri-
cane. There was danger that the tank would be blown over, but a
crew of seven men, racing against time, connected a pipe from the
tower to a nearby well and pumped 20,000 gallons of water into the
tank, for ballast, just before the storm struck.
Landscaping of the new building was made possible by the gener-
osity of Mrs. Leah G. Swisher, who contributed flowers, shrubs, and
trees and paid for much of the labor. The patio of the building was
carpeted with bitter-blue St. Augustine grass and fringed with dwarf
pink azaleas and ornamental queen palm trees. The building's exterior
was landscaped with semi-tropical shrubs and more queen palms. In
addition, the rest of the campus was cleared, and much of the Spanish
moss was removed from the trees to allow the sun to reach them.
Clearly, the beauty of the campus today is a living tribute to those
who spent time, effort, and money planning and caring for the
aesthetic, as well as the practical, needs of the new campus.
Capping the climax of the move to Arlington was the action taken
by the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in
granting full accreditation to Jacksonville Junior College. The asso-
ciation had inspected the college in 1947, 1948, and 1949, but always
the inadequacy of the physical plant had barred the way to accredi-
tation. Increasing concern over this problem had been a factor in the
final decision to erect a new building and move to Arlington.* That
concern continued after the move. In spite of the drawing power of
a new building and a beautiful location, enrollment fell off almost 25
percent. Of course, much of this loss could be attributed to the out-
break of the Korean war, but Dr. Akridge told the Board of Trustees,
early in October, 1950, that it was due also to students' concern over
the college's accreditation status. At this same meeting Dr. Akridge
told the board that M. C. Huntley, executive secretary of the Southern

*See above, p. 32.

. 35 .

Association, would visit the college for an inspection tour prior to
the meeting of the association on December 1, at which time a decision
would be reached on accreditation. The results of the inspection were
favorable; on December 7, 1950, at its annual meeting in Richmond,
Virginia, the Southern Association gave its approval and at long last
Jacksonville Junior College received full accreditation.
A few days later Dr. Akridge received from Dr. Doak S. Campbell,
the president of Florida State University, a letter expressing hearty
congratulations from the students and faculty there. Accreditation,
said Dr. Campbell, meant that the junior college could now devote
itself to the development of a long-range program that would meet
the needs of the community more fully than it had been able to do in
the past. In January, 1951, the mail also brought Dr. Akridge a con-
gratulatory letter from Arthur S. Adams, president of the American
Council on Education. Accreditation by the Southern Association,
Adams pointed out, made the college eligible for institutional mem-
bership in the council, and he invited the college to join. In April,
1951, Dr. Akridge sent in the first year's dues, and the college became
a member of this important educational organization.



Chapter 6. The Last Years of
Jacksonville Junior College


The year 1951 brought an important change in the leadership of
the college. In June, the resignation of Dr. Garth H. Akridge ended
the seven-year administration of the school's first full-time president.
The debt Jacksonville University owes to Garth Akridge is a con-
siderable one. These seven years had been a period of great change, a
period of rapid growth and substantial progress. Looking back, Dr.
Akridge could take pride in a number of important achievements.
Under his direction the school had moved into its own home on River-
side Avenue and had begun its first day classes; later it had acquired a
campus site in Arlington, built its first permanent building there, and
made the move from downtown. Under him what had been a small
evening school with less than 80 students expanded steadily, moved
on through the trying post-World War II years, and became a fully
accredited, 500-student junior college.
After the resignation of Dr. Akridge, the Board of Trustees, at its
annual meeting on June 12, 1951, placed Dean Roy E. Dawson'" in
temporary charge of the college as dean of the Summer School. A few
days later the board contacted Julius A. Brown, assistant professor
of physical science and physics at the college, and offered him the
position of acting president. Professor Brown accepted but made it
clear that he would serve only until a permanent president was named
to replace Dr. Akridge. It was agreed also that Professor Brown, who
at this time was already on vacation in New England, would return to
Jacksonville late in August to take up his duties. This arrangement
worked out as planned; Dean Dawson directed the affairs of the college
during the summer session and then turned the reins over to Acting
President Brown during the last week in August.
The board's search for a new president was intensive, but it was
of short duration. On October 2, 1951, the trustees elected Dr. Paul
L. Johnson president. He officially assumed his duties on October 22,
replacing the acting president, Julius A. Brown. Professor Brown
remained on the faculty until 1954 and then after an absence of about
four years rejoined it as professor of physics, coming back in Septem-
ber, 1958, at the beginning of the Silver Jubilee Year. During his long
academic career, Professor Brown had compiled a distinguished record.
After graduating from Dartmouth College, he had earned an advanced

*Dawson had been appointed acting dean in 1947 and dean in 1948. From early in
1944, when J. Richard Grether ended his long service as dean, until 1947 the
position had remained unfilled.


degree, bachelor of science (Oxon.), as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford
and had taught at Dartmouth, Columbia, Colgate, and Colby in this
country and overseas at the American University of Cairo and at the
American University of Beirut, in Lebanon. Professor Brown was
associated with the latter institution for 36 years, serving during the
last 5 of those years as dean.
In Dr. Paul L. Johnson the trustees believed they had found "a good
young educator of high promise eminently fitted to lead the Junior
College on to new and wider fields." A native of Odessa, Missouri, Dr.
Johnson had received his B.A. degree from Central Missouri College
and had served as a public school teacher and principal in Missouri and
Nebraska. After four years of Navy service in World War II, he
taught for a brief time at Phoenix Junior College in Arizona, leaving
to work on his doctorate at Columbia University, where earlier he had
earned his master's degree. After interrupting his studies for a year
to serve as dean and director of public relations at Norfolk Junior
College, Norfolk, Nebraska, Dr. Johnson received his doctor of edu-
cation degree from Columbia in August, 1951. His major field was
the administration of higher education, and his doctoral dissertation
was a compilation of readings on the community college.
To welcome Dr. Johnson to his new position and to the community,
the college held an informal reception on November 11. This was
combined with an open house, and thus the affair served the double
purpose of making the new president feel at home and giving the
general public its first chance to inspect the new building and campus.
Dr. Johnson began his four and one-half year term as president of
the college at a time when its post-World War II growth had been
halted by the Korean conflict. In fact, when he took over in the fall
of 1951, enrollment was down to 409, the low point of the post-war
years. But by the end of his administration in 1956, the Korean war
of course had ended, and enrollment had almost tripled; four new
permanent buildings had been added, and the Board of Trustees and
the administration, in light of this rapid progress, were seriously con-
sidering the possibility of converting Jacksonville Junior College into
a four-year institution.
There were other changes as well during the years 1951-1956.
Indeed, administration and faculty seem to have been in a chronic
state of change. In the spring of 1952 Dean Dawson resigned, and
Dr. Allen C. Hutchinson replaced him in July of that year. Early in
1954, Dean Hutchinson gave way to Dr. Charles R. Eisenhart, who
continued to serve as dean until the end of the Paul Johnson adminis-
tration in mid-1956. Along toward the middle of 1954, the position
of registrar and director of student personnel was created, and for a
few weeks in the fall of 1954 it was held by Howard Johnson. John-


son left in November, 1954, and his work was taken over by Dean
Eisenhart. To relieve him of this additional burden, the Board of
Trustees, in March, 1955, approved the appointment of Paul E. Lindh
as registrar and director of student personnel; in June, 1955, he as-
sumed this post, thus allowing Dr. Eisenhart to concentrate on his
duties as dean. At about this time also the Board of Trustees created
an additional administrative office-that of assistant to the president,
a position first filled by John J. McBride in the fall of 1955. Another
important addition was Mrs. Pearl E. Rupp, who joined the adminis-
trative staff in 1952 and became registrar in 1956 after Paul Lindh
became dean.'
The faculty during the period 1951-1956 was in constant flux.
Faculty turnover-since back in the middle 1930's one of the college's
major problems-remained high. The faculty increased in numbers
from 20 in 1951 to 27 in early 1956, but only 4 members of the 1956
faculty had been with the college in 1951. These four, incidentally,
had joined the faculty in 1946 and are still members: Golightly,
Allison, Hauber, and Bryan, the latter on a part-time basis. Despite
this rapid turnover, some of the faculty members recruited during
the Paul Johnson administration are still on the teaching staff in this
Silver Jubilee Year of 1959; Lawrence E. Breeze (1952); Roland L.
Rourke, who became head basketball coach and the school's first ath-
letic director in 1953; William H. Crawford (1953); James B. Fleek
(1954); George G. Ballis (1954); Suzanne T. Carrell (1954); Eleanor
H. Luton, who later became Mrs. William H. Crawford (1955);
Charles Raulerson (1955); George A. Lewis (1956); Robert G.
Woodhouse (1956); and Helen L. Merrill, who joined the full-time
faculty in September, 1955, after having taught part time in 1937
and 1938 and again in 1944 and 1945, and who later was to become
the university's first dean of students.
An important first for the faculty during this period was the
formation, early in 1953, of a chapter of the American Association
of University Professors, a national organization of college and uni-
versity teachers and administrators. The members of the new local
chapter elected Julius A. Brown as their first president.
One of the most significant developments of the Paul Johnson era
was the systematizing of the college curriculum. Before and during
the Akridge administration, the college awarded diplomas but not
degrees; there were, of course, graduation requirements, but there was
no precise definition of the courses of study students could pursue.
In the interim between the resignation of Dr. Akridge and the advent
of Dr. Johnson, the college published its 1951-1952 catalogue, set-

"See below, p. 61.

.40 .

ting forth for the first time the programs of study students could
elect. Specific course requirements were set up for each of seven
such programs: normal (later called general), arts, science, pre-medical
or pre-dental, pre-business administration, pre-education, and pre-
In January, 1952, only a few months after he assumed his duties,
Dr. Johnson went before the Board of Trustees and secured their
authorization for the granting of the associate in arts degree beginning
in June, 1952. Approval for granting of this standard junior college
degree had already been obtained from the Southern Association of
Colleges and Secondary Schools and the American Association of
Junior Colleges. This step entailed very little change in graduation
requirements, but by early 1953 curriculum planning had reached the
point where it was possible to publish in the 1953-1954 catalogue a
far more flexible and varied two-year college program. There were
two main divisions of the curriculum-a university transfer program
for those planning to continue their education in a four-year institu-
tion after leaving the junior college, and a semi-professional program
for those who probably would not continue their formal education
beyond the second year of college.
Each of these programs was broken down into a number of different
curricula to meet the various needs of the students. This was a sig-
nificant development; what was done by the curriculum planners in
early 1953 set the pattern that was still being followed in 1959 in the
Junior College division of the university. There were some changes
in the specific courses required for each program of study, but the
organization of the curriculum, even in its detail, was almost precisely
the same. Beginning in 1953, also, a student in order to graduate had
to meet the specific course requirements of the program of study he
elected. Prior to that time the student was obliged merely to take
the courses specified as being required for graduation; requirements
were not stated in terms of programs of study.
While Paul Johnson was president, some important new courses
were added to the curriculum. Humanities was offered initially in the
fall of 1952 and a year later was made a required course in all programs
of study. In the fall of 1953, also, physical education was offered for
the first time and, with the exception of veterans, was required of all
students during both freshman and sophomore years. Before that date
the lack of facilities had prevented any training in this important
field; but with the completion of the Swisher Gymnasium in April,
1953, the college could begin to train the body as well as the mind.
Another innovation of these years was the offering of courses
acceptable for teacher certification by the State Department of Edu-
cation. The first such course was "Teaching Physical Education in


Elementary Schools," given to 70 Duval County teachers in a special
three-week course in June, 1952. At a second session, early in July,
another education course was offered: "General Art for Elementary
Grades." In September, 1953, however, the Department of Education
withdrew teacher-training courses from the junior colleges on the
grounds that these were upper level (junior and senior year) courses.
This action was strongly protested by Dean Eisenhart, who argued that
although such courses were listed in the state colleges' catalogues as
upper level courses, they were actually being taken by freshmen and
sophomores. Vigorous protests were lodged also by the Junior College
Committee of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce; but it was
June, 1956, before the Department of Education modified its policy,
and then it was only to the extent of agreeing to accept credits taken
at junior colleges by in-service teachers seeking to renew their cer-
tificates. Junior colleges still could not offer teacher-training courses."
Absolutely vital to any first-rate institution of higher learning is
a good library. During the Garth Akridge administration the library
had made slow but steady progress. The college employed its first
full-time librarians in 1946, and between that year and the end of
the Akridge administration in 1951, the number of bound volumes
increased from 4,000 to 8,000. Unfortunately, the record for the next
five years shows a decline in the rate of increase in the library's hold-
ings. By August of 1956 the library possessed about 11,500 bound
volumes. This was roughly a 45 percent increase over the 1951
figure, but it represented a sharp decline from the 100 percent increase
for the preceding five years. There was also an absolute decline in the
number of books added; for the years 1946-1951 the number was about
4,000, but for the next five years the figure was only 3,500.
The building up of a good library takes a great deal of money and
a great deal of time. It requires not only the acquisition of books and
other materials but also a trained staff and proper facilities. The
facilities problem was solved in 1954 with the opening of the Swisher
Library.'"" But from 1951 to 1956, the school actually lost ground in
the important matter of adding to its library holdings. This is par-
ticularly regrettable in light of the fact that during much of this
period the college had a substantial surplus in its operating fund.
During the period 1951-1956 the college continued to offer a
varied student activities program built around such organizations as
the student council, the Green Key honorary society, and such groups
as the YM and YWCA and the Veterans, Literary, Business, French,
and German clubs. For students with an interest in music there were

*See below, p. 65.
**See below, pp. 46-47.

.42 .

the chorus and band. The chorus had first been organized by C.
Edward Bryan when he joined the faculty in 1946; the band was
a late-comer, being formed in 1955 under the direction of Dr. Lee
Important additions to the list of student organizations came in
the spring of 1953, when for the first time the college gave its approval
to local fraternities and sororities. By the end of the 1955-1956 school
year there were three such organizations connected with the college:
the K.T.K. and P.D.D. fraternities and the B.X.A. sorority. These
letters later came to stand for Kappa Tau Kappa, Phi Delta Delta, and
Beta Xi Alpha, respectively. The decision to approve fraternities and
sororities came after considerable discussion, pro and con, by the
student council, administration, faculty, and Board of Trustees, and
after it had been determined that these organizations would be local
rather than national and would not be known by Greek-letter names.
However, this latter restriction was gradually lifted.
A new development in the field of student-faculty coordination of
student activities was the formation in 1955 of the Faculty-Student
Committee on Student Affairs. Its principal duties were two in num-
ber: the allotment of student-activity-fee money to the various student
organizations and publications and the scheduling of the various stu-
dent activity meetings.
During the years 1951-1956, basketball continued to dominate the
intercollegiate athletics picture. Track, the only other varsity sport,
was dropped from the program in 1954; but the tradition of producing
strong basketball teams, begun by the school's first coach, John Geilen,
was ably perpetuated by Roland L. Rourke after he took over as the
first athletic director and full-time basketball coach in 1953. The
peak performance of the "Dolphins" as a Rourke-coached junior college
team came in the 1955-1956 season when they won 24 while losing
only 3. In March, 1956, the team placed fifth in the national junior
college tournament at Hutchinson, Kansas;* and that same season the
team's six foot six inch center and captain, Charles Brendler, was
named to the junior college all-America team.
The athletic program also stressed intramural sports, providing
competition in touch football, basketball, softball, and volleyball.
Men's intramural teams were drawn from the fraternities and from
the independents. Similarly, sorority and independent teams took
part in the women's intramural program.

*The over-all won and lost record for this team, as well as its record at the national
tournament, duplicated exactly the records compiled by Geilen's strong 1949-1950
team. See above, p. 22.

Student activities give students the opportunity to broaden their
college experience and develop leadership qualities; they also serve to
build morale and tradition. In this latter respect the early years of the
Paul Johnson administration saw a number of important developments.
The first of these came on November 23-24, 1951, when the college
held its first homecoming celebration. A coordinating committee
composed of Julius A. Brown, James B. David, Margaret Cagle, and
Pamela Valentine, representing the faculty and administration, and
Marvin Thacker and Jo Ann Van Zile, representing the student coun-
cil, worked out a schedule of events which formed a basic pattern
that was still being followed seven years later at the Silver Jubilee
homecoming festivities. The 1951 homecoming was held during the
Thanksgiving holidays and was climaxed by a banquet and ball and
by the crowning of the homecoming queen. On Friday evening,
November 23, at this first homecoming banquet, which was held at
the Riverside Women's Club, a student, Sabina Clare Reiser, acted as
toastmistress, and Congressman Charles E. Bennett was the principal
speaker. At the dance which followed, Mrs. Paul Johnson, wife of
the president, crowned Barbara Ledbetter as the first homecoming
queen. The next morning there was a breakfast for all Green Key
members, past and present, at the home of Peggy Miller in Avondale,
and that night the celebration closed with a basketball game between
the alumni and the Jacksonville Naval Air Station, with the alumni
team coming out on top.
A very significant part of this first homecoming was an open house
for the alumni, held at the college on Saturday afternoon, November
24. It was then that the alumni organized the Jacksonville Junior
College Alumni Association and elected Shannon Poppell as its first
president. Other officers were Charles Hilty, vice president; Gwen
Poppell, secretary; Edward Cagle, treasurer; and Pamela Valentine,
corresponding secretary. Thus was born an organization that was to
play an increasingly important role in the growth and development
of the college.
An especially noteworthy item relating to the fostering of spirit
and tradition was the appearance early in 1952 of the official college
Alma Mater. George Sackman, a member of the sophomore class,
composed the music and the words. In 1953, however, the words
were re-written in their present form by a committee of the student
The Paul Johnson administration was a period that saw a steady
improvement in the college's financial position and a number of major
additions to the physical plant at the new Arlington campus. In 1955
the college for the first time began to receive financial help from Duval
County. Beginning in 1945 the city of Jacksonville began assisting


the college with yearly appropriations of $10,000, a sum that was
increased to $25,000 in 1948, and as early as 1951 the college began
its efforts to secure a similar appropriation from the county.
As had been the case with the city appropriation, the necessary
first step was the passage of an enabling act by the state legislature.
In January, 1951, the Board of Trustees appointed Fred B. Noble and
Harold Colee to look into the matter and approved Mr. Noble's offer
to draft the bill and have it advertised for 60 days as required by law.
This early effort ended in failure, however; at the 1951 session of the
legislature the bill passed the house but failed in the senate. Finally,
in the spring of 1955, the legislature approved an act enabling Duval
County to support the college to the extent of $25,000 annually. On
May, 1955, the county commissioners voted an appropriation of
$25,000 to the college for the coming fiscal year, thus joining the city
in helping to place higher education within the reach of the citizens
of the Greater Jacksonville area.
At about this time also the Board of Trustees sought to improve
the organization of the college's finances. In September, 1955, the
board voted to establish an Endowment Trust Fund to be administered
by the Barnett National Bank. The fund was divided into two parts:
Endowment A, from which the college could use only the income,
and Endowment B, from which both income and principal could be
used in case of emergency. The basic purpose of the fund was to
provide a unified basis for securing and investing gifts of Jacksonville
citizens to the college, and it was to consist of miscellaneous securities
and gifts of money contributed during previous years and small surplus
funds which had been invested in short-term securities.
The years of the Paul Johnson administration, 1951-1956, brought
some startling changes to the Arlington campus. First and foremost
was the addition of four new permanent buildings. These were, in
order of their dedication, the gymnasium, library, science building,
and auditorium. In choosing the locations for these buildings the
college followed almost exactly the original long-range campus plan
drawn up in 1948.* The building of these particular buildings, as
well as the order in which they were built, was determined by a variety
of factors. In November, 1954, Mr. Swisher, in announcing to the
Board of Trustees plans for the auditorium, referred to it as the fifth
building of a "five-building program" begun at the time he had be-
come chairman of the board in 1947. The first building, of course,
was the Founders Building, completed in 1950. The other four were
built during the Paul Johnson period in accordance with the needs
of the college and the desires of the donors.

*See above, pp. 30-31.

It should be noted that three of these four structures-the gym-
nasium, library, and auditorium-were not classroom buildings. Back
in October, 1950, Dr. Akridge, in a memorandum for the Board of
Trustees, pointed out that the Korean war would so affect the enroll-
ment picture that an additional classroom building would not be
required in the near future. It would be wise, he felt, to concentrate
instead on badly needed facilities such as a gymnasium and an audi-
torium. Dr. Akridge was correct in his estimate of the enrollment
situation, for the pre-Korean war high of a little over 600 students
was not surpassed until the fall of 1954. Wisely and realistically, the
Board of Trustees and Mr. Swisher, the donor of these three buildings,
took this situation into account and built first what was needed most.
The fourth building the Nelms Building was designed to meet
special requirements in the sciences and engineering for laboratories
and classroom space.
Most urgently needed and first to be constructed was the gym-
nasium. On March 25, 1952, Mr. Swisher informed the board that
the Carl S. Swisher Foundation would provide the funds to erect such
a building and that same day the board voted to accept the gift and
to name the building the Carl S. Swisher Gymnasium. Plans were
drawn by architect J. Brooks Haas, and early in July, 1952, the con-
tract was let to the George D. Auchter Company of Jacksonville.
Work was completed on the 2,000-seat gymnasium, the largest in
Duval County, in March, 1953, and at a total cost of well over
$300,000; on April 19 it was dedicated, with Florida Supreme Court
Justice Harold L. Sebring giving the dedicatory address.
Now for the first time in the history of the college a real physical
education program could be instituted, and the college could schedule
its basketball games on the campus instead of at city high school
gymnasiums. And the community at large was also to benefit, for in
the years that followed, the college gymnasium was to be the scene
not only of varsity basketball games that large numbers of the local
fans could enjoy but also of such attractions as ice shows, professional
tennis matches, and Gator Bowl Basketball Tournaments. The gym-
nasium thus helped to fill an important void in the community scene-
the lack of an adequate civic and sports arena.
Next there was the pressing problem of replacing the barracks-
type library building with a new facility adequate for study and
research and for the storage and cataloguing of books and other ma-
terials. Recognizing the seriousness of this need, Mr. Swisher, in the
spring of 1953, announced that the Carl S. Swisher Foundation would
provide the funds for a library building. The new library, like the
gymnasium, was designed by J. Brooks Haas and constructed by the
George D. Auchter Company. In December, 1953, the Auchter Com-


pany began work, and on September 9, 1954, the $200,000 building
was dedicated.
Clearly, there was no comparison with the old temporary library
structure. The new Swisher Library was built on three levels, the
upper two being the main reading rooms. Here were provided tables
and chairs for 200 students, easy chairs for recreational reading, and,
for the readers' convenience, an open stack arrangement of books, with
shelf space for about 30,000 volumes. Other facilities were also in-
cluded: student conference rooms, work rooms for the library staff,
and an exterior reading patio facing the St. Johns River. The design
of this building was so outstanding that it was selected for inclusion
in an exhibit entitled "A Half Century of Architectural Education,"
held in May, 1956, at Georgia Institute of Technology. The Swisher
Library design was one of 75 chosen for the exhibit from a total of
about 500 that were considered. The jury was headed by Joseph M.
Hudnut, former dean of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard
University. Another honor came in July, 1956, when the U. S. De-
partment of Commerce indicated that a photograph showing the
outstanding design of the building would be displayed at the Inter-
national Trade Fair in Zagreb, Yugoslavia, in September.
The next new building to be dedicated was the Nelms Science
Building. This important addition to the school's physical plant was
completed early in 1956, but its history can be traced back almost two
generations to the early 1900's. In 1902, after the great fire that
destroyed the larger part of the city of Jacksonville, there was erected
at 42-48 West Adams Street a two story building, 105 feet wide and
42 feet deep. In 1910 the property was bought by Robert Perry Nelms.
A native of Portsmouth, Virginia, and the son of a seafaring man,
Nelms came to Jacksonville as a child and later operated a bicycle
and motorcycle repair shop, first on Main Street, then at 42-48 West
Adams Street, and later on Bay Street. He worked hard, saved his
money, and invested wisely in real estate, acquiring considerable pro-
perty during the collapse that followed the Florida land boom of the
1920's. Nelms died in May, 1945, from the result of injuries sustained
when his car collided with a train in the city's southside.
Some years later, Mr. Nelms' widow, Almira A. Nelms, sought the
advice of her lawyer, Guy Botts, on the matter of creating a fitting
memorial to her husband. Mr. Botts, a trustee of the college, suggested
that a science building might be an appropriate gift. Mrs. Nelms died
on December 4, 1951, and about two weeks later Mr. Botts, the execu-
tor of the Nelms estate, reported to the Board of Trustees that she
had left the residue of that estate to Jacksonville Junior College for
the construction of a building to be called the Nelms Building. The
will requested that the building be used as part of an engineering

school if the college should establish such a school. But this was not
made a condition of the gift; the will stated that the Nelms Building
was to be the one designated by the Board of Trustees as the next-needed
building. A few weeks later a committee of the board, appointed to
study this question and headed by Glenn Marshall, Jr., recommended
that the bequest be used to construct a science and engineering
The board accepted this proposal in January, 1952, but there were
certain obstacles that had to be removed before construction of the
building could begin. The principal asset of the Nelms estate, which
was estimated at about $250,000, was the building at 42-48 West
Adams Street, which Mr. Nelms had bought in 1916 and which since
1947 had been occupied by the A. S. Beck Shoe Store. For two years
after the death of Mrs. Nelms until December 4, 1953, that is -
the income from the Adams Street property was to go to Mr. Nelms'
sister, Edna C. Nelms. After that date the Adams Street property
could be sold and the proceeds used to construct the Nelms Science
Finally, in the summer of 1954, an agreement was reached to sell
the Adams Street building to the Prudential Insurance Company of
America for $252,000, the delivery date to be November 1, 1954. On
November 2, Mr. Botts reported to the board that the property had
been sold and that as soon as plans and specifications for the Nelms
Building were completed, he was ready to turn the funds over to the
college. Thus the story had turned full circle. A small building built
in downtown Jacksonville in 1902 and acquired by an enterprising
Jacksonville business man in 1916 became the basis for a notable addi-
tion to Jacksonville's community college in 1954. That this small
50-year old structure and tiny parcel of land could represent a quarter
of a million dollar bequest is also a revealing commentary not merely
on the inflation of prices since the turn of the century but on the
tremendous economic growth of the city of Jacksonville in recent
This fine addition to the college plant-the Nelms Science Building
-was designed by Kemp, Bunch & Jackson, who had also been archi-
tects for the Founders Building, and it was constructed by the builder
of the Swisher Gymnasium and Swisher Library, the George D. Auchter
Company. Work began early in 1955, and the college began to use
the building in April, 1956. The dedication ceremony was held on
April 22. The main building provided classroom and laboratory facili-
ties for science and engineering courses as well as a number of faculty
offices, and an air-conditioned wing included two large science lecture

.48 .






|1 ..... I

|,m U|-


1937-1939; 1940-1944

^ I\ /


po- .014
w !"1A 0"% 56


The last of the four permanent buildings added during the Paul
Johnson administration was the auditorium. On November 2, 1954,
Mr. Swisher announced to the trustees that the Carl S. Swisher Foun-
dation would provide $250,000 for this building. Plans were soon
completed by the architect, J. Brooks Haas, and in the spring of 1955,
the 0. P. Woodcock Company began the construction work. The
building was dedicated on April 29, 1956, one week after the dedica-
tion of the Nelms Building. This air-conditioned 604-seat structure,
with its excellent acoustics and lighting system, was fully equipped
for staging dramatic and musical productions. Student dramatic pro-
ductions, directed from 1947 to the spring of 1954 by Thelma Riddle
Golightly and after that date by George G. Ballis, were of consistently
high quality; and after the completion of the Swisher Auditorium,
they attracted an ever-increasing student and community following.
Not only did the new auditorium make possible more varied and
advanced course offerings in the fields of speech and drama, it provided
a much needed facility for student assemblies and convocations; and,
like the Swisher Gymnasium, it was a building that could be used and
enjoyed by the people of the Jacksonville community. This was not
the first time, incidentally, that devotees of the theater in Jacksonville
had reason to be grateful to Mr. Swisher. For over 20 years he had been
an active supporter of the city's Little Theatre; he had helped to pro-
vide the building in San Marco which had housed the theatre since
1938 and had also helped make possible a new addition to it in 1954.
The four buildings completed during the years 1951-1956 were of
course vital to the expansion of the college. At the same time there
were a number of other less spectacular but still significant improve-
ments to the Arlington campus. Again, Mr. Swisher was an extremely
important benefactor, contributing-as had been his custom through-
out his association with the college-to all sorts of smaller projects
that remained largely unknown to the general public, but without
which the over-all development of the campus could hardly have been
possible. In the summer of 1951, it was a matter of footing the bill
(about $1,500) for much-needed landscaping and other improvements
-such things as planting grass in front of the Founders Building and
grading around the student center and the library, and connecting
those two buildings to the Founders Building with stepping-stone
walks. That summer, also, the Carl S. Swisher Foundation provided
the money to decorate the Ladies' Lounge and the Board Room in the
Founders Building. In the fall of 1951, it was Mr. Swisher who gave
the $16,000 needed to purchase the so-called Driggers property, the
acre of land and the frame house situated near the main entrance to
the campus and used later as a home for the custodian of buildings and
grounds. In December, 1952, after the Board of Trustees was informed


that the college needed a sewage disposal system, which, it was esti-
mated, would cost from $16,000 to $22,000, Mr. Swisher offered to
contribute the funds for it, and the project was authorized.
During the following summer came another important campus
improvement. At the August 1953 meeting of the board, Alexander
Brest, a board member'* and secretary and treasurer of the Duval
Engineering & Contracting Company, announced that his firm would
construct a parking area east of the driveway in front of the Founders
Building and would do the work without charge to the college. This
was an especially significant gift, not only because of the amount of
money involved-about $7,000- but because it was the first of many
contributions by Mr. Brest, who was later to construct for the college
such indispensable facilities as additional parking areas, roads, and
athletic fields.**
Shortly before Mr. Brest offered to build the parking area in front
of the Founders Building, there was a major addition to Duval County's
transportation and communications system, an addition that was of
great importance to the college. On April 15, 1953, came the opening
of the Mathews Bridge, linking the Arlington area with the city of
Jacksonville. The site for the bridge had been laid out in 1930, but
many disappointments followed-the project was twice turned down
by the voters-and almost 25 years elapsed before this great structure
became a reality. Once completed, it brought the college much closer
to downtown Jacksonville. A distance of seven miles had now shrunk
to four. Students could make the trip more easily and quickly by
automobile, and city busses now began regularly scheduled runs along
Chaseville Road, stopping right at the main entrance to the campus.
After long and faithful service the school busses that had made the
"Green Beetle Run" to the Hope Haven Hospital could now be dis-
posed of.
The years 1951-1956 had wrought tremendous changes; a beautiful
campus had been carved out of a wilderness; four fine new buildings
had been added, and toward the end of the period, enrollment figures
resumed the upward spiral interrupted by the Korean war. It was
quite natural, then, that plans and aspirations would begin turning
more and more toward the possibility of expanding the junior college
still further and converting it into a four-year institution. But before
the final decision on this fateful matter was reached, the Paul L.
Johnson administration came to a close. On June 15, 1956, Dr.
Johnson resigned as president of the college, and thus his four and
one-half year regime passed into history.

*Mr. Brest was elected to the board in April, 1953.
**See below, p. 73.





Chapter 7. The Great Decision
Chapter 8. Transition Years
Chapter 9. The Unfinished Task


Since its founding in 1934 the college had experienced a number
of especially eventful years: 1944, when the school selected Dr.
Akridge as full-time president, moved into a home of its own, and
began its first day classes; 1947, when the college purchased land for a
campus in Arlington; 1950, when the college moved to Arlington and
occupied its first permanent building there. But the most memorable
year of all was 1956, when the Board of Trustees decided to make a
major change in the status of the college by converting it into a four-
year institution. The year 1956 was memorable for another reason
also-it marked the beginning of the Franklyn A. Johnson adminis-
These two events were by no means unrelated. In seeking a replace-
ment for Dr. Paul Johnson, Mr. Swisher indicated that the board
would be looking for a president with the professional qualifications
and personal qualities required to spearhead the drive toward a four-
year institution. To find such a man, the board appointed a selection
committee composed of Lawrence C. Case, Frank W. Sherman, O. J.
Oosterhoudt, J. Burton Webster, and Peyton J. Watson. The final
choice was Dr. Franklyn A. Johnson of Rollins College. Here again
the matter of changing over to a four-year college entered into the
picture, for Dr. Johnson made it clear to the selection committee and
to the board that he was not at all qualified for, or interested in, head-
ing a junior college, and he accepted the presidency with the under-
standing that in the reasonably near future the school would begin
moving into a four-year program.
Only 34 years old when he was chosen, Dr. Johnson had, none the
less, an unusually impressive background. After making an outstand-
ing combat record as an infantry officer in World War II, he returned
to college at Rutgers University, and graduated magna cum laude in
1947. He then went on to graduate school at Harvard University,
earning his M.A. degree in 1949 and his Ph.D. in 1952. While working
for his doctor's degree, he served for two years as an intelligence officer
for the Central Intelligence Agency in Washington, D. C., and the
academic year 1951-1952 he spent in England as a Fulbright scholar
at the London School of Economics. After receiving his doctor's
degree, Dr. Johnson took a position teaching government at Rollins
College in Winter Park, Florida. When he left Rollins in June, 1956,
to come to Jacksonville, Dr. Johnson was associate professor of gov-
ernment and chairman of the division of social relations and business

and had recently received the senior class's Outstanding Professor
award. While at Rollins, Dr. Johnson also found time to help found
the Florida Citizenship Clearing House and from 1954 to 1956 served
as its first state director. His publications include two books One
More Hill and Defense by Committee and numerous articles for
scholarly journals.
In August, 1956, less than two months after Dr. Johnson assumed
his duties as president (June 16, 1956), the Board of Trustees made
the final decision to establish a four-year college. This was the cul-
mination of a long-cherished dream; from the inception of the college
its leaders had hoped that there could be a four-year institution here
in the Jacksonville area. Back in 1934 Porter University had been
organized as a "standard four-year college" but was forced by the
many problems involved in such a project to open its doors with a
more modest and realistic two-year junior college program.: For the
remainder of the 1930's the struggle for survival as a junior college
made it quite useless even to consider the prospects for a four-year
program. But beginning about 1941, the matter was broached once
more, and it runs like a thread through the history of the next 15
In the summer of 1941 the Board of Trustees announced that it
was the ultimate objective of the junior college "to become a four-
year academic college." Two years later, the chairman of the board,
Judge Barrs, told a radio audience that "of course our aspirations in
the Jacksonville Junior College are ultimately to make a four-year
daytime institution out of it."
Beginning in 1944 almost every important development in the
history of the college brought a reiteration of this theme. In March
of that year, when Dr. Akridge was named full-time president, a news
dispatch expressed the hope that he would "promote the welfare of
the college and lead it to its goal a four-year college for Jack-
sonville," and that same spring the first yearbook, The Sandune,
offered "a toast to you, Dr. Akridge, and a four-year college for
As it turned out, Dr. Akridge became an earnest proponent of the
four-year program. At the time negotiations were going on for the
Cecil Field site,':" he stated that the college hoped to establish a four-
year institution if the field could be obtained. Early in 1947 he wrote
letters to a number of colleges asking them for copies of their charters
for use as guides for a possible revision of the school's charter, a revision
that would permit expansion into a four-year college or university.

*See above, pp. 7-8.
"'*See above, pp. 26-28.


Again, when the college secured the site for the Arlington campus,
Dr. Akridge viewed the purchase as "the first essential step toward
providing standard four-year college training adequate to serve the
higher educational needs of the Greater Jacksonville area."
There is other evidence that the procurement of the Arlington
property and its development into a campus were closely tied to the
idea of expansion into a four-year college. The very first long-range
plan for the development of the campus, the Campus Plan and Growth
Pattern prepared by Arthur McVoy in 1947, was based on this ex-
pectation. From 1948 to 1950, when preparations for the move to
Arlington were being made, Dr. Akridge and some board members
expressed hope that soon after the move the college could add a junior
year. During the fund-raising drive for the first building there was a
determined effort by Mr. Swisher to include in that drive funds for a
second classroom building which would enable the college to begin
offering the junior year in the fall of 1950 or 1951.
It is interesting to note that in 1950, when Mr. Swisher was trying
to interest people in contributing to the college building fund, he
drafted a letter that began with the following paragraph: "You have
been selected by the Board of Trustees of the Jacksonville Junior
College as one of those whom we would like to invite to become one
of the founders of what we intend to be very shortly, a four-year
college." The interest in moving on to a four-year program is obvious,
and there is a strong implication here that the name Founders Liberal
Arts Building, chosen later as the name for the first permanent build-
ing, was selected to commemorate those who were laying the ground-
work for and in a sense "founding" what was to become a four-year
During most of the Paul Johnson administration, 1951-1956, the
official attitude toward the four-year program was one of caution and
conservatism. Shortly after he became president, Dr. Johnson, in a
speech to the Jacksonville Exchange Club, said that a four-year college
was in the offing but not for the immediate future; "within a decade"
was his only prediction. But interest in the project continued to be
strong. In November, 1953, Mr. Swisher told a meeting of the alumni
that it would be possible for the Arlington college to become a four-
year school by 1955. But when the matter came before the board in
March, 1954, it passed a fairly conservative resolution to the effect
that "we institute a four-year college as soon as conditions are favor-
able and a plan is submitted which is approved by the Board by vote
of two-thirds of all of its members." Until such a plan was approved,
no publicity was to be given the matter. The board then directed Dr.
Johnson to make a preliminary study of the factors involved in the
change to a four-year college, one that would include such things as


financial requirements, estimates of future enrollment, curriculum, the
date when such a step should be taken, and Dr. Johnson's recommen-
dations as to the over-all proposal.
Dr. Johnson's study was transmitted to the board on May 18,
1954, and was discussed and acted upon at the board's May 25 meeting.
The study was prepared with the assistance of three consultants whom
the board authorized Dr. Johnson to bring in: Dr. Jesse P. Bogue, ex-
ecutive secretary of the American Association of Junior Colleges; Dr.
Ralph R. Fields, professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia
University; and Dr. James M. Godard, vice president of the University
of Miami and until just prior to the date of the report, executive
secretary of the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association
of Colleges and Secondary Schools.
The gist of the report, which ran, incidentally, to almost 50 pages,
was that until there was a substantial increase in enrollment that
would insure a class of about 250 finishing the junior year, and until
there was an assured income from independent sources approximately
equal to the amount received from tuition (then about $120,000 per
year), the changeover to a four-year college should not be attempted.
Since it was hard to predict just when these requirements could be
met, Dr. Johnson would recommend no specific date for establishing
a senior college. He did suggest that additional data on enrollment
potential and occupational needs of Duval County be gathered "next
year" and that within a year the board should draw up and begin a
comprehensive five-year development program, at the end of which
time, if the drive was successful, the changeover to a four-year college
could begin. It might be possible, he suggested, to start the junior
year by 1959, in which case it could be tied in with the 25-year anni-
versary celebration.
After a discussion of the report, the board seemed to be in agree-
ment with Dr. Johnson's conclusion "that the time and conditions
were not yet appropriate for a change to a four-year school." And the
board went on to pass a resolution to the effect that the school should
"eventually" be a four-year college and that consideration would be
given the matter after the enrollment, physical plant, library books,
and endowment required for a four-year institution were assured.
In a nutshell, the decision added up to this: the changeover to a
four-year institution should not begin until after the requirements for
accreditation had been substantially met. This in essence was the
finding of Dr. Johnson and his consultants, and the Board of Trustees
concurred. This was also Dr. Johnson's view 18 months later, in No-
vember, 1955, when he told the Downtown Lions Club that he felt
the transition to a four-year college should not be made "until the
school was relatively near the standards for accreditation."

Later, however, in its search for a successor to Dr. Johnson, the
board began casting about for someone who was interested in helping
to convert the college rather rapidly into a four-year institution. They
found such a man, of course, in Dr. Franklyn A. Johnson. The differ-
ence in the attitudes of the two men toward this point was not that
the outgoing president was unalterably opposed to the change while
his successor favored it; rather, it was a matter of the one being will-
ing, but perhaps not anxious, to see it come in the future, and then
only after virtually all the requirements for accreditation had been
met, and the other being eager to make the change and ready to move
ahead immediately and positively toward the final goal. And it seems
likely that the difference in attitude stemmed also from the fact that
Dr. Franklyn Johnson was not, as was his predecessor, tied by training,
experience, and loyalty to the concepts and purposes of the two-year
junior college.
This great decision was also a matter of Dr. Franklyn Johnson and
the board being willing to accept the challenge of creating a four-year
institution and to begin the task before all the prerequisites stressed so
much by Dr. Paul Johnson were fulfilled. The step was taken partly
as an act of faith that the accreditation requirements would somehow
and in due time be met. But it was taken too because of the firm
conviction that once the Rubicon was crossed, the goal could be
achieved by means of aggressive leadership, determined effort, and
exploitation by means of a sound public relations program of
the desire and need of the people of Greater Jacksonville for a four-
year college.
Certainly, this desire and need had been frequently expressed by the
community. As early as June, 1946, the Jacksonville Chamber of
Commerce passed a resolution urging the Board of Trustees to develop
plans and raise the necessary money to expand the junior college into a
four-year school. In October, 1948, when the board announced its
plans for developing the Arlington campus,: it stressed the needs of
the community, telling prospective donors that
The reason that Jacksonville can no longer afford to be
the single exception to all cities of 100,000 or more (having
a four-year college) is not merely to be like other cities in
that respect. The real reason is that this community and its
citizens will continue to be handicapped in competing with
other major cities in standard of living and cultural basis
until this glaring deficiency is removed.
The board's announcement brought a quick reaction from the
Jacksonville Civitan Club, which passed a resolution endorsing the

*See above, p. 31.

.56 .

board's plans to raise funds to construct a plant for the "present"
student body and funds also for enlarging the scope of the college
"to include a full four-year degree-granting program, to meet the
urgent demands from hundreds of teachers and other citizens." The
Jacksonville Branch, American Association of University Women,
endorsed a similar resolution, approving the board's drive to provide
facilities for the two-year college program "and the additional facilities
needed to extend its program to include a full four-year college
By 1956 it became evident to most members of the board that the
tremendous expansion of the Jacksonville area was making it increas-
ingly imperative to provide the community with a four-year college.
The population of the metropolitan area had almost doubled since
1940 and was approaching 400,000. Jacksonville had long been a
transportation and communication center. Possessed of an excellent
landlocked natural harbor, the city had long since become the gateway
between the southeastern United States and the ports of the world,
and it also was located on the Intercoastal Waterway, extending from
Trenton, New Jersey, to Miami, Florida. There is nothing new in
these facts; what is significant is the phenomenal increase in the city's
waterborne commerce-from 3 million tons in 1947 to 6/2 million
tons in 1956, an increase of over 100 percent in nine years. More
broadly, the city had become the hub of a vast network of rail, high-
way, air, and water transportation facilities and as a result had grown
impressively as a wholesale and distribution center for the Southeast.
The city had also become an important communications hub, the
nerve center of the Southern Bell Telephone and Telegraph Company
system and the Western Union system for the state of Florida. And
the city had two television stations and about a dozen radio stations,
three with major network affiliations.
The business community had also moved ahead rapidly in the
fields of manufacturing and finance. It had become the industrial
capital for northern Florida and southern Georgia, with its principal
industries being besides the huge overhaul and repair facilities of
the U. S. Navy and of the railroads food and kindred products,
chemicals, transportation equipment, printing and publishing, lumber
and lumber products, machinery, paper and paper products, and cigars.
In just seven years, 1947-1954, the number of production workers in
the area had increased by 64 percent and the payroll by 105 percent.
And by 1956 there were almost 500 manufacturing and processing
firms located in the Jacksonville area.
The city had become a great insurance and banking center as well.
Within the five-year period 1952-1957 the city had issued building
permits for more than 50 stories of life insurance company home office

. 57.

construction, including the 22-story South-Central Home Office of
The Prudential Insurance Company of America and the 19-story Home
Office Building of the Independent Life and Accident Insurance Com-
pany. Jacksonville had also become the banking center of the area,
serving as headquarters for three large Florida banking groups, which
operated banks in 28 cities throughout the state.
Cultural gains had also been outstanding. By 1956 Jacksonville
was a city with 73 public elementary schools, 17 junior high schools,
and 11 senior high schools; there were 2 vocational schools and almost
20 private schools, the fully accredited Jacksonville College of Music,
and the Edward Waters College for Negroes. Culturally the city was
also blessed with a symphony orchestra, a junior symphony orchestra,
an outstanding little-theatre group, a children's museum, an art center,
the oldest music club in Florida the Friday Musicale the Jack-
sonville Forum, the Guild Players, a choral society, and a number of
excellent civic organizations. The city's public library, the first tax-
supported free library in the state of Florida, now had over 300,000
volumes, located at the main downtown building and at the five
branch libraries. By 1956, also, the city had about 300 churches of
all denominations.
Moreover, Jacksonville was not resting on its laurels. Already it
was laying plans for a $30 million improvement program, which was
approved in 1957 and was to include a new city hall, a sports arena,
and a city auditorium, as well as substantial sums for street improve-
ments and sewers. And the city was also well on its way to solving
much of its traffic problem; work was proceeding steadily on the $90
million Jacksonville Expressway System.
In view of this phenomenal economic expansion, the steady cultural
advancement, and these substantial civic improvements, it was in-
creasingly urgent that a decision be reached on the question of a four-
year college. On the one hand the city seemed to be growing so fast
that it was outstripping its facilities for higher education, leaving them
behind as it were; on the other hand the city was in great danger of
finding its future expansion and prosperity blocked by the lack of
such facilities. In other words, the city could advance for a time
without proper provisions for higher education, but ultimately the
neglect of such provisions would stifle the community's development.
Already, in the spring of 1956, there were signs that this latter con-
dition was perhaps being reached. In May, Roger L. Main, chairman
of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce's Committee of 100,
charged with the job of attracting industry to the Jacksonville area,
pointed out that one of industry's first questions in considering locating
in a new community revolved around the adequacy of the area's cul-

tural and educational facilities, and he and his committee strongly
urged the establishment of a four-year college in Jacksonville.
This statement seems to have been indicative of the increasing fear
of the Jacksonville business community that the city's future growth
would be jeopardized by the lack of a four-year institution here. In
fact, the concern was so great that there were suggestions that the
state be asked to establish such an institution in Jacksonville. It has
already been shown that the selection of Franklyn A. Johnson as presi-
dent indicated that the school was moving definitely in the direction
of a four-year college, but at that time no precise date had been set.
However, this increasing community interest and concern seems to
have brought the matter to a head in the late spring of 1956. By June
6 the newspapers had been informed that September, 1957, had been
set as the target date for the school's emergence as a four-year college
and that the name Jacksonville Junior College would probably be
changed early in 1957.
The September 1957 date was officially confirmed by the Board of
Trustees at its meeting of August 7, 1956, when it passed a motion
to the effect that the college would institute a third-year program in
the fall of 1957. At that time also the board tentatively approved
Dr. Johnson's proposals for the third-year curricula. On September
5, 1956, the board adopted an amendment to the Jacksonville Junior
College charter changing the college's name to Jacksonville Uni-
The historic decisions on the four-year college and the change of
name were announced by Dr. Johnson on the evening of September 5.
The occasion was the first meeting of the newly organized University
Council,*:" held in the Swisher Library following a buffet supper on
the patio of the Nelms Science Building and attended by about 70
professional, business, and civic leaders of Duval County. As the
Florida Times-Union put it in its September 6 issue, "Jacksonville
Junior College last night became Jacksonville University in the first
step of a transition to a four-year institution." The following day the
paper's editorial comment was that the change to a four-year institu-
tion was in keeping with the city's vigorous industrial and commercial
growth and with its increasing interest in the things of the mind and
spirit. In a university the entire scheme of things would take on a
logical pattern and the city's growth would be given meaning. "The
horizons of this city's people can never broaden as they should," said
the paper, "without the backing which is needed by the university so

*The change in name became official on September 28, 1956, when the amendment
to the charter was approved by the Duval County Circuit Court.
*See below, pp. 69-71.

that it can become the mother of men and women who will be the
community's future leaders."
The momentous September 5 announcement brought favorable
comments from all over the state. An especially fast reaction came
from the Jacksonville City Commission. On September 6, the com-
missioners passed a resolution expressing great interest and pride in
the continuing growth and progress of the college and in its contri-
bution to the city's cultural and educational life. The commission
expressed its pleasure that the college was expanding its curriculum
so that it could better meet the needs of the community. This body
was especially happy that the word "Jacksonville" was to be retained
in the school's name, and it looked forward "to graduates of the in-
stitution carrying this label over the years to all parts of the United
Thus the die was cast, and the reaction from those associated with
the school and from the community was favorable, and even enthusi-
astic. But in making his September 5 announcement, Dr. Johnson
also had a good deal to say about specific arrangements for the transi-
tion to a four-year institution and some of the obstacles that would
have to be overcome before the changeover could become a reality. He
told the University Council that the junior year would begin in the
fall of 1957 and the senior year in the fall of 1958, with majors to be
offered in accounting, general business, education, English, history and
government, mathematics, psychology and sociology, speech, chemis-
try, and general science. It was expected that the first bachelor of arts
and bachelor of science degrees would be conferred in June, 1959.
Dr. Johnson made it clear, however, that despite the move toward a
four-year program, the school expected to preserve its traditional status
as an independent, community college. Moreover, the junior college
would be retained as part of the university system, and the school
would continue to grant the two-year associate in arts degree.
This, then, was the time schedule. To meet it, to make headway
along the road to accreditation as a four-year college, and to lay the
foundations for a great university, much had to be done and many
problems had to be solved. Specifically, Dr. Johnson mentioned the
following: recruitment of additional faculty members, especially those
with doctor's degrees, the immediate expansion of the physical plant-
to include a student center and athletic facilities and an increase in
library holdings from 12,500 to at least 40,000 volumes. Certainly,
Dr. Johnson, the board, the administration, the faculty, the students,
and the community had before them many difficult and challenging
tasks; and the story of the next three years is the story of how they
worked together to accomplish them and bring to fruition the long-
cherished hopes for a four-year college in Jacksonville.


The changeover from a two-year to a four-year institution did not,
of course, begin until the fall of 1957, when the school enrolled its
first junior class. But the planning for that event began as soon as
Dr. Johnson assumed his duties in June, 1956; and virtually all that
transpired at the college from that time on was closely related to and
affected by the transition to four-year status.
Absolutely essential if this transition was to be smoothly made
was able and imaginative leadership. This is what the college got from
Dr. Johnson, and in large quantities. But this was a huge task one
that called for a team effort; and shortly after he took over his new
post, Dr. Johnson, with the approval of the board, set about building
an administrative team that could collectively and individually lead
the college through this difficult period. In the months that followed,
there were many changes in the administrative staff; and there were
several additions also, for the shift to a four-year institution required
some alteration of the school's organizational structure.
In June, 1956, Dean Charles R. Eisenhart resigned to become dean
of Defiance College in Ohio, and he was succeeded, early in July, by
Dr. Paul E. Lindh, who for the previous year had held the combined
posts of registrar and director of student personnel. At that same
time Pearl E. Rupp took over as registrar, and Helen Merrill, a faculty
member, became dean of students. These changes were recommended
by Dr. Johnson and approved by the board on July 10, 1956. And
along toward the end of the month, Douglas Martin was named to
fill the recently created position of director of public relations.
Later in the year, Dr. Johnson's thinking about organizational
structure reached the point where he conceived the university as being
composed of a Junior College, an Evening College, and an Upper
Division, made up of full-time juniors and seniors. This met with the
board's approval, and at its December 13 meeting it authorized two
new deanships: dean of the Junior College and dean of the Evening
College. To relieve Dr. Johnson of his heavy administrative duties,
the board authorized the appointment of an assistant to the president,
a post that had been held for a time by John J. McBride during the
1955-1956 school year.
The first of these three important positions to be filled was that
of assistant to the president. Kenneth E. Miller, formerly with the
University of Alabama, was chosen in May, 1957. Dr. Richard K.
Morton, who had become the first chaplain of the university early in

May, was named dean of the Evening College on July 27; and on
August 16, Dr. William E. Highsmith, of the University of Alabama,
was selected as dean of the Junior College. In order to add prestige to
the office of dean of the university, the board voted on October 16,
1957, to give Dr. Lindh the additional title of vice president of the
Dr. Johnson also took steps to insure a more efficient handling of
business matters at the university. A distinct improvement in this
important area came with the appointment of O. D. Barksdale as
business manager early in 1958 and with the naming of Fred B.
Reynolds as controller in the summer of 1957.
Without doubt, a strong administrative team was needed to lead
the way toward the goal of a four-year college. No less important
was a strong faculty. A major problem of Jacksonville Junior College
had been the difficulty of retaining a competent teaching staff. Until
the advent of the Franklyn Johnson administration, faculty turnover
had been little short of appalling. Between 1951 and 1956, the turn-
over exceeded 100 percent, and in early 1956 there were only 4 on
the faculty of 27 who had served with the college for two years or
more. Here, then, was a major problem. And it was one that had to
be solved and solved quickly if the transition to a four-year program
was to proceed on schedule, for it was intimately related to the matter
of securing and retaining capable additions to the faculty to handle
the junior and senior years that were soon to be added.
Fortunately, Dr. Johnson and the board recognized the gravity of
this problem and took steps to correct some of the basic conditions
that seemed to have been responsible: low salaries, some problems re-
lating to tenure, lack of a retirement plan, and generally poor com-
munication and rapport between faculty and administration. The
latter difficulty was to a considerable extent obviated early in 1957 by
the creation of the Faculty-Administrative Council, a group made up
of the chairmen of the three recently-organized academic divisions
(Social Science, Humanities, and Science and Mathematics), and three
faculty members at large elected by the faculty, with the president
and the dean of the university serving ex officio. Meeting weekly, it
was the responsibility of the council to consider matters presented by
the faculty, to serve as a representative faculty administrative body
between faculty meetings, to serve as a means of transmitting adminis-
trative policies to the divisions, and, when requested, to advise the
administration on policy matters. Creation of this body improved the
coordination and liaison between faculty and administration and helped
bridge the gap that had previously existed between them.
There was also considerable progress in the matter of faculty tenure.
A policy on tenure was first set forth by the Board of Trustees in April,


1955, when it ordained that faculty members could receive permanent
appointments or tenure after seven years of probationary service, three
years of which could have been served at another institution of higher
learning. Once he was on tenure, the faculty member could be dis-
missed only for cause. Under Franklyn Johnson there were further
improvements in faculty security. In September, 1957, the board gave
its approval to a detailed, written procedure for formal removal of a
member of the faculty from tenure or contract. And in April, 1958,
the board indicated that the university formally subscribed to the 1940
Statement of Principles of Academic Freedom and Tenure formulated
by the Association of American Colleges and the American Association
of University Professors (AAUP). With regard to academic free-
dom, incidentally, it is worth noting that when the Jacksonville
University chapter of the AAUP was reorganized in the fall of 1957,
there was found to be no need for a committee on academic freedom,
a conclusion that spoke well indeed for the Franklyn Johnson adminis-
tration's record on this important matter.
Faculty stability and security were further enhanced by the in-
stallation of a retirement plan and by the approval of a new salary
schedule. In December, 1956, the Board of Trustees and the adminis-
tration finally worked out a retirement plan based on membership in
the Teachers Insurance Annuity Association (TIAA) and on Federal
Social Security. The program was to be administered by a pension
committee made up of the dean of the university, the controller, two
members of the faculty appointed by the dean, and two members of
the Board of Trustees. A most significant step forward in the matter
of salaries was the action taken by the trustees on November 1, 1957,
adopting a new salary schedule. This schedule, which raised consider-
ably the lower and upper salary limits for each academic rank, was
designed to provide some immediate increase in salaries,* but it was
adopted also in order to place the university in a better competitive
position vis-a-vis other colleges, to enable it to retain its present faculty
and attract the new faculty needed for the four-year program.
The prospects for building up a capable and dedicated faculty were
improved also by a number of other developments. In April, 1958, the
board approved Dr. Johnson's plan for the granting of leaves with pay,
an arrangement whereby a faculty member could receive a paid leave
of absence to engage in scholarly work of benefit to the university and
to himself. A year earlier, in April, 1957, the board had sanctioned
a policy of granting free tuition to children and spouses of faculty
and staff members. And in October, 1957, the board approved Dr.
Johnson's proposal that a Distinguished University Professorship award

i*In fact, during the three-year period beginning in September, 1957, salaries were
increased, on the average, about 25 percent.

. 63 .

be established to recognize each year the faculty member who best
embodied as a classroom teacher the ideals of the university. The
first recipient, elected by the faculty and administration in the spring
of 1958, was Robert G. Woodhouse, assistant professor of humanities
and philosophy. One of the features of this award was that each year's
recipient would present a public address or lecture sometime during
the year. Professor Woodhouse delivered his address at a particularly
auspicious event of the Silver Jubilee Year the Charter Day Convo-
cation of April 16, 1959, commemorating the 25th anniversary of
the chartering of the university.
Contributing to the over-all development of faculty morale and
esprit de corps was the establishment, in September, 1956, of the Jack-
sonville University Woman's Auxiliary, a social and service organiza-
tion composed of the women of the faculty, administration, and staff
and the wives of faculty, administration, and staff members. The
result was a much more active social life and the accomplishment also
of numerous services to the university and the community.
No discussion of faculty morale would be complete, however,
without some mention of the substantial success achieved by Dr. and
Mrs. Johnson and Dr. and Mrs. Lindh in fostering the idea of the
"university family" and in making each person associated with the
university feel that he was a valued member of that group. This
intangible but none the less important factor, combined with the very
real improvements in such matters as tenure, retirement, salary sched-
ule, and faculty-administration rapport, brought a smashing victory
over the problem of faculty turnover and brightened the prospects for
recruiting additional faculty needed for the expansion to four-year
status and for accreditation. Before the Franklyn Johnson period,
faculty turnover was averaging about 30 percent each year, a figure
that was symptomatic of very serious ills and totally unacceptable in
light of the tremendous task ahead. After these various changes and
reforms, the turnover shrank literally to almost zero, for in the fall
of 1958 only 1 member of the total full-time faculty of 41 decided
not to return to his position with the university.
There is strong evidence also that during the new regime the
faculty was being strengthened professionally. Largely as a result of
the excellent recruiting job done by Dean Lindh, the faculty gained
steadily in professional competence and qualifications. For example,
there was a marked increase in the percentage of full-time faculty
members holding doctor's degrees. In September, 1956, the figure
stood at 6 percent; by September, 1958, it had risen to 27 percent.
The decision to establish a four-year college made it necessary to
begin planning immediately for the expansion of the curriculum.
The university's junior college curriculum was left virtually intact;

but with a junior year slated to begin in September, 1957, and a senior
year the following September, no time could be lost working out such
matters as junior and senior course offerings, majors, and graduation
requirements. This burden fell most heavily on the shoulders of Dean
Lindh. Under his capable supervision and with help and guidance from
the school's curriculum committee, from sophomore and alumni
questionnaires, and from outside experts, a curriculum was devised
consisting of majors in accounting, general business, mathematics,
English, history and government, psychology and sociology, speech
and drama, and education. Later, biology, chemistry, and physical
education majors were added. Upper Division course offerings were
worked out, and it was decided also that a 2.25 grade-point average
earned either in the Junior College or at another institution would be
required for entrance to the Upper Division.
To receive the bachelor of arts or bachelor of science degree, the
student would have to complete 124 semester hours of work with an
average grade of C and with the requirements for a major fully satis-
fied. Required also of each senior was the successful completion of
the University Course, a long-desired project of the president. Designed
almost entirely by Dean Highsmith and taught by him and various
faculty members, the course was intended to present seniors with an
interdisciplinary approach to the central problems of the contemporary
world and to meld the educational experiences of their four-year
college careers. This was a two-semester course, the first centering
around the topics "Culture in an Age of Insecurity" and "The Impli-
cations of Science" and the second around "The United States as a
World Power" and "American Problems and Issues."
A significant step in expanding the curriculum came in the spring
of 1957, when the State Department of Education approved the uni-
versity's request that it be allowed to offer certain teacher-training
courses. Under the leadership of Dean Lindh and with the help also
of Dr. S. George Santayana, chairman of the Division of Social Science,
the program was steadily enlarged. Course offerings in the field of
education were broadened, and in the spring of 1959 an important
milestone was reached; education majors trained at Jacksonville Uni-
versity entered into the last step of their preparation a semester of
practice teaching or internship in the Duval County Public Schools.
Another important addition to the curriculum was nursing edu-
cation. Beginning in September, 1958, and in accordance with a plan
worked out in the fall of 1957, first year students at St. Luke's Hos-
pital School of Nursing, Florida's oldest school of nursing, began
taking their academic training at Jacksonville University. This nursing-
education program consisted of 28 semester hours of college credit,
with the student nurses coming to the campus and taking courses in


anatomy and physiology, microbiology, chemistry, sociology, psy-
chology, and English. Dr. Highsmith, director of the university's
new Division of Nursing Education, supervised the program; Miss
Audrey E. Toft, R.N., Director of Nurses at St. Luke's, continued to
supervise the nurses' clinical education at the hospital.*
These developments in regard to the new curriculum-the working
out of the various majors and course offerings and the provisions for
training teachers and nurses-are indicative of the efforts that were
made and are still being made to meet not only the requirements of
the four-year program but also the needs of individual students and
the broader needs of the community as well. Very special efforts were
made to tailor the curriculum to the requirements of Jacksonville and
the surrounding area. An excellent example is the university's Engi-
neering Technology program. On October 30, 1957, at the request
of the university, 25 leaders of Jacksonville commerce and industry
met on the campus and were asked for their advice in formulating a
business curriculum that would help to produce graduates well qualified
to take positions in Jacksonville business and industry. Under the
leadership of Dean Highsmith, these men met first in a general session
and then divided up, by area of specialization, into four groups (insur-
ance and finance, manufacturing and distribution, transportation and
communication, and retailing), each meeting with university faculty
members teaching in that area.
Largely as a result of this conference, Dr. Highsmith was able to
announce on February 10, 1958, that beginning in the fall of 1958
the university would initiate a two-year program of study designed
for persons wishing to enter the engineering profession in a technical
capacity. In this way students who could not complete the work
leading to a bachelor's degree in engineering could prepare themselves
for immediate employment as technicians in this field. The program
would involve 70 hours of college work at the freshman and sophomore
levels, and those completing it successfully would receive the standard
junior college associate in arts degree.
This program was doubly significant, for insofar as it stemmed
from the October 1957 meeting with business leaders, it exemplified
university-community cooperation in curriculum planning, and since
it was basically a two-year, lower division program, it served as proof
positive that in its plans for expansion, the university was not
forgetting its Junior College. Clearly the university's mission of pro-
viding practical two-year terminal training for citizens of the Jack-
sonville area was not being neglected. The continued progress of the

*This was not, incidentally, the first such connection between the college and St.
Luke's. A similar but more modest arrangement had been in effect from the fall
of 1944 to the spring of 1950. See above, p. 21.


Junior College division was made quite evident also by the formation,
on March 15, 1958, of the Iota Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa,
the national honorary junior college scholastic fraternity.
Meanwhile, Dr. Johnson and the Board of Trustees were contem-
plating a step that would greatly enhance the status of the university
- a merger with the Jacksonville College of Music. The two institu-
tions had enjoyed a cordial relationship extending back to 1934, and
ever since that date there had been a reciprocal arrangement for the
transfer of credits.* Moreover, William B. Hoskins, president of the
College of Music, and H. Harvey Mette, Jr., director of music edu-
cation there, were part-time faculty members at the university; and
C. Edward Bryan, since 1946 the director of the university's chorus,
was a graduate of the College of Music. Early in 1957 Dr. Johnson,
President Hoskins, and the Boards of Trustees of the two institutions
entered into a series of negotiations that culminated in February, 1958,
with the announcement that Jacksonville University and the Jackson-
ville College of Music would merge on June 1, 1958. On that date
the latter institution became the College of Music of Jacksonville
University. William B. Hoskins became its dean, and John F. Mac-
Enulty, Jr., and H. Harvey Mett6, Jr., formerly full-time faculty
members of the Jacksonville College of Music, became full-time mem-
bers of the university faculty. Another full-time member was ap-
pointed in March, 1958 the outstanding young concert pianist,
Gerson Yessin. In the fall of 1958, the College of Music began offering
courses at the university's Arlington campus as well as at the music
college's downtown building on Herschel Street.
At the time of the merger, also, two of the three founders of the
Jacksonville College of Music became the first to receive from the
university the title of "emeritus." George Orner was designated
President Emeritus of the College of Music and Director Emeritus of
the Violin Department, and Lyman P. Prior was named Dean Emeritus
of the College of Music and Director Emeritus of the Voice Depart-
ment. Despite their emeritus status, both men continued to be active
in Jacksonville music circles and continued to teach in the College
of Music's preparatory (pre-college) division.
The merger was indeed an important move forward for the uni-
versity. The Jacksonville College of Music had been founded in 1923
and since 1937 had been fully accredited by the National Association
of Schools of Music. The addition of this accredited four-year college
was bound to help the university in its drive for accreditation.
It might seem, also, that the hand of fate, or at least coincidence,
was at work in this whole matter. In 1934, the year of the university's

*See above, pp. 6-7.

. 67.

founding, the Jacksonville College of Music granted to three students
its first bachelor of music degrees. Almost 25 years later, at the open-
ing convocation of the Silver Jubilee Year in September, 1958, the
university awarded its first four-year degrees, bachelor of music de-
grees, to three graduates of its new College of Music.
The transition to four-year status involved more than the enlarge-
ment and strengthening of the faculty and administration and the
broadening of the curriculum; it involved also the expansion of the
physical plant at the Arlington campus. Additional facilities were
needed not only for the new four-year program but also to meet the
challenge posed by the sharp increase in enrollment, which had zoomed
from 407, the low point of the Korean war period in the fall of 1951,
to 1,852 in September, 1957. To meet this challenge the Board of
Trustees revised its plans for a 3,000-student campus, contemplated
by the board in the late 1940's, and set its sights on building facilities
to accommodate 4,000 students (2,000 day and 2,000 night). Most
urgently needed were a new student center and two additional class-
room buildings. In March, 1957, the architectural firm of Reynolds,
Smith & Hills presented to the board a modified campus plan showing
the location of these three buildings, and later the firm drew up a new
campus plan for an enrollment of 4,000 students.
Fortunately for the future of the university, the three most
urgently needed buildings were soon assured. First on the list was a
new student center to replace the grossly inadequate temporary struc-
ture adjacent to the Founders Building. Here, the ground-work was
laid by board member Alexander Brest, who contacted the Wolfson
Family Foundation, and on July 20, 1956, secured from Louis E.
Wolfson authorization to spend up to $12,500 in architect's fees for
plans and specifications for a student center. At the time, Mr. Wolfson
made no commitment with respect to a gift of the building itself;
but on June 11, 1957, at a special luncheon meeting of the University
Council, Samuel W. Wolfson, secretary-treasurer of the Wolfson
Family Foundation and a member of the university's Board of Trustees,
announced a grant of $300,000 to Jacksonville University for a student
center. Groundbreaking ceremonies for the new Wolfson Student
Center were held on September 25. In August, 1958, the O. P. Wood-
cock Company finished the construction work, and the building was
dedicated on September 25, exactly one year after the groundbreaking.
Included in this fine addition to the campus were dining facilities
for 450 students, a snack bar, a student lounge, a faculty-alumni
lounge, a community room, and offices. And the building was beauti-
fully situated on a wooded hillside overlooking the St. Johns River.
Only those who had used the old student center and who had worked
in it could really appreciate the importance of this splendid gift. It

soon resulted in a great improvement in student morale and in a more
varied program of extracurricular activities. Commenting on this
gift, the Jacksonville Journal saw also a larger meaning:
As its own sense of community grows, Jacksonville Uni-
versity will make great contributions to the community of
Jacksonville. Its student center will come to have a function
not only in college life but also in the life of the city. The
progress at the campus means much to all of Jacksonville,
for it will advance the cultural standing and the quality
of life in the large community.
The funds for furnishing the new student center came from a
number of different sources. A highly successful student fund-raising
drive helped to furnish the student lounges; a campaign by the Alumni
Association made possible the furnishing of the faculty-alumni lounge;
and the university Woman's Auxiliary raised the money for 350 place-
settings of china for the dining room. A major contributor of funds
for other furnishings was the Jacksonville Kennel Club, which donated
to the university the net profit from an evening of racing early in
1958. In December, 1958, incidentally, the Orange Park Kennel Club
made a similar gift, which was used for scholarships.
The second major building project to get under way in 1957 was
the University Council Building. The University Council, composed
of 125 of Jacksonville's business and professional leaders, had been
founded in the summer of 1956 and had assumed the four-fold mission
of 1) informing the public concerning the activities of the university,
2) advising the trustees and the president on the formulation of plans
and policies for greater service to the citizens of Jacksonville, 3) con-
sidering the financial needs of the university and making recommen-
dations as to how they could be met, and 4) meeting from time to
time with the committees of the Board of Trustees and with the
president to receive reports respecting the status of the university.
It was to the charter meeting of this group that Dr. Johnson, on
September 5, 1956, made the first announcement of the decision to
expand Jacksonville Junior College into a fqur-year institution; but
it was not until March, 1957, that the organization of the council
was completed, with D. Roscoe Buttrey, president of the State Bank
of Jacksonville, elected as its first president, Seeber Denmark and
Oliver A. Jenkins as vice presidents, and William S. Johnson as
secretary-treasurer. This final organization of the council took place at
a joint meeting of the council and the Board of Trustees on March 8,
1957, and at that time Mr. Swisher suggested that the council might
wish to take on the project of financing the construction of a class-
room building to be known as the "University Council Hall of

. 69 .

Following up on this suggestion, Mr. Buttrey announced on June
15 that the council was launching a drive to raise $250,000 for a new
classroom building, to be known as the University Council Building.
The announcement came only four days after the special council meet-
ing at which Mr. Wolfson had made known the student center gift,
setting an example the council evidently took quickly to heart. Edward
W. Heist, who headed the council's development committee, was
named chairman of the campaign committee, and the officers of the
council served as committee members.
The council's campaign got under way in July, and as the summer
progressed, a sense of urgency was imparted by the prospect of another
substantial increase in enrollment in the fall. Classroom space, it ap-
peared, would be at a premium, and the university had been obliged
to explore the possibility of using the six classrooms of the Arlington
Methodist Church to handle the overflow. Here was further proof of
the urgent need for a second classroom building. In a move intended
to acquaint the people of Jacksonville with this need, Haydon Burns,
mayor of the city and a member of the University Council, proclaimed
Sunday, July 28, as Jacksonville University Day. That afternoon
several hundred people visited the university, and members of the
faculty escorted them on a tour of the campus. Later in the day guests
and faculty were entertained by Dr. Johnson and his wife at the
President's House.
By mid-September, the council drive had reached the point where
the Board of Trustees could give the go-ahead sign for the construction
of the building. At a special meeting on November 1, 1957, the
trustees voted to let a contract to the 0. P. Woodcock Company for
construction of the University Council Building. Groundbreaking
ceremonies were held on November 6, which incidentally happened
to be Dr. Johnson's 36th birthday. The building was completed the
following summer, with the dedication being held on September 14,
1958. Thus, when the first senior year began, the university had
ready for use a fine classroom building and much needed additional
space for faculty and administration offices.
Altogether the building cost about $294,000, which, of course, was
substantially more than the $250,000 the council had originally
planned to raise. By September, 1957, when the board decided to go
ahead with construction, the council's drive had reached the figure
of $135,000. The balance of the $294,000 was made up by a loan
from Mr. Swisher and by applying to the Council Building money Mr.
Swisher had raised in a sort of private campaign for a new classroom
or science building. The principal donors to that campaign, who, of
course, became principal donors to the Council Building, were Carl S.
Swisher, the R. K. and P. N. Coleman Foundation, the Elsworth Davis


Family Foundation, the Russell Foundation, Jno. H. Swisher & Son,
Inc., the McGehee Families, the Independent Life and Accident Insur-
ance Company, the Atlantic National Bank, the Barnett National
Bank, and the Florida National Bank of Jacksonville.
Other principal donors, who contributed directly to the Council
Building campaign, were the Florida Times-Union; Robert Kloeppel,
Sr.; Gulf Life Insurance Company; Knight, Orr & Company, Inc.;
John E. Meyer; and Reynolds, Smith & Hills.
The gifts from Mr. Swisher's own campaign were substantial ones
and along with the loan from Mr. Swisher were absolutely essential
to the success of this project, but this should not obscure the fact that
the council had done an outstanding job. In a few short weeks in the
summer of 1957, and with very little preparation or professional
assistance, the organization had raised $135,000.:" Moreover, in August,
1958, the council embarked on another campaign to raise $150,000, a
sum that would insure fulfillment of the original pledge of $250,000,
and provide also some additional money for air conditioning and other
expenses. At its annual meeting in October, 1958, the council elected
Mr. Heist to succeed Mr. Buttrey as president. At that time also
C. W. Beaufort was named chairman of the council's development
committee and chairman as well of the second fund-raising campaign.
Under his leadership and with the help and guidance of Kenneth Miller,
assistant to the president of the university and executive secretary of
the University Council, the drive moved steadily toward its goal.
Altogether, the council could well be proud of its achievement.
True, there was a considerable amount of outside help, especially from
Mr. Swisher-but the largest contribution by far was the money raised
in the council campaigns, and certainly the University Council Build-
ing was appropriately named. This was an important structure, a
facility that was desperately needed, but in a larger sense it exemplified
as did no other building on the campus, with the possible exception
of the Founders Building, a successful effort to enlist the widespread
community support so vital to the success of the university and to its
future development.
For the third of these high-priority buildings the university was
indebted, as it had been on so many occasions in the past, to Carl S.
Swisher. Actually, the gift had its origin in a tragic circumstance, the
death of Mr. Swisher's wife, Leah G. Swisher, on August 10, 1957.

*Council members who raised and/or contributed $2,500 or more were Quinn R.
Barton, Jr., D. R. Buttrey, J. Sam Butz, William H. Dowling, Merrill E. Grafton,
S. Kendrick Guernsey, C. J. Gunti, Hardy M. Harrell, E. W. Heist, William S.
Johnson, Robert Kloeppel, Jr., Harold A. Martin, George W. Milam, Robert C.
Millar, James H. O'Reilly, R. Eugene Orr, Ivan H. Smith, I. M. Sulzbacher, and
R. Erdman Wilson. Another council member, P. N. Coleman, was a principal donor
to Mr. Swisher's campaign mentioned on page 70.


Like her husband, Mrs. Swisher had long been a friend and supporter
of the university. It was she who had supervised the furnishing of the
auditorium and library and the landscaping and planting for these and
other buildings on the campus. There were many other contributions
and kindnesses as well, and her passing was felt deeply by all connected
with the university.
At the board meeting of November 21, 1957, Mr. Swisher informed
the trustees that the Carl S. Swisher Foundation would provide
$225,000 for the construction of the Leah G. Swisher Science Building.
The public announcement of this memorial gift came at the home-
coming banquet on November 30. Groundbreaking was held on De-
cember 11, and the contractor, R. McDonald Smith, finished the
construction early in the following summer. Dedication ceremonies
were held on August 10, 1958.
In light of the university's needs and in light also of the nation's
increasing concern over the rate of its scientific progress, this was a
contribution of great importance. This air-conditioned building's five
laboratories, two large lecture rooms, and several faculty offices more
than doubled the university's facilities for teaching science and would
make possible the offering of majors in such fields as biology, physics,
and chemistry.
A few weeks after the dedication of the Leah G. Swisher Science
Building, the university took another big step forward in the field of
science. On October 27, 1958, at the annual meeting of the University
Council, attorney Sam R. Marks announced that the university had
signed an agreement with the trustees of the half-million dollar Ger-
trude Rollins Wilson Trust,': establishing at the university a chemi-
cal research laboratory and the university's first endowed professorship.
With funds provided by the trust the university would set up and
equip a chemistry laboratory at the south end of the second floor of
the Leah G. Swisher Science Building, a laboratory to be known as the
Millar Wilson Laboratory of Chemical Research. The director of the
laboratory, who was to be selected as soon as conveniently possible,
would be known as the Millar Wilson Research Professor of Chemistry.
Mrs. Wilson was the wife of Millar Wilson, a New England textile
manufacturer who had moved to Florida in the late 1860's. She was a
founder of the Jacksonville Garden Club and the author of a number
of books and articles in the field of botany.
Additions to the campus after the beginning of the Franklyn
Johnson administration were by no means confined to the new student
center and the two classroom buildings. In July, 1956, the trustees
authorized construction of a house for the president. Work began

*Mr. Marks was one of the trustees of the Wilson Trust.

about the middle of October, and on April 1, 1957, the Johnson family
moved into this beautiful air-conditioned home. Major contributors
were Alexander Brest; Clifford G. McGehee; Dr. Carl C. Mendoza;
Stockton, Whatley, Davin & Company, the designers and builders;
and Carl S. Swisher. Furnishing of the house was made possible by
Seeber Denmark and the decorating by Robert T. Donaldson.

Besides the President's House there were numerous other additions
and changes to the campus. Many of these were contributed by the
Board of Trustees' building committee chairman Alexander Brest, and
they place him high on the list of those to whom the university is
indebted. It was he who provided all of the university's roads, parking
areas, and outdoor athletic facilities. In February, 1957, he presented
the school with a baseball field, which the trustees voted to name
Alexander Brest Athletic Field. In 1958 and 1959 he added a soccer
field, a paved parking lot for over 200 cars to serve the athletic fields
and the student center, and paved roads leading to these facilities. In
addition, he and Mr. and Mrs. Frank W. Sherman gave the university
four fine all-weather tennis courts, which were dedicated on May
17, 1957.
There were other important gifts as well. For the opening of classes
in September, 1957, Mr. Brest had ready at the north end of the cam-
pus a paved parking area with a capacity of over 400 cars. And by
the winter of 1958-1959 his crews were busy clearing, grading, and
putting in the drainage system for the 4,000-seat Brest Amphitheater
in the natural hollow behind the Swisher Auditorium.

The appearance of the area in front of the Founders Building was
improved in the summer of 1956 by the moving of two of the four
temporary buildings from that area to the vicinity of the water tower,
a task that was completed without charge by Mr. Steve Wood of the
Wood Hopkins Contracting Company. The third temporary building
was sold to the Arlington Lions Club, and the fourth was torn down.
In 1958 the old student center building was moved to the water tower
area, as was the temporary building that had stood on the site of the
Council Building. Deserving of special mention also is the 65-foot
aluminum flag pole erected in front of the Founders Building and
presented to the university by the Jacksonville Meninak (Men in
Action) Club in February, 1957.
A very notable addition to the Arlington campus came in January,
1957, with the announcement that 30 acres of land adjacent to the
campus had been secured by the university. Located between University
Boulevard and the St. Johns River and north of the road to the Presi-
dent's House, the tract was purchased from Mr. J. R. Anderson for
about $80,000. This land was certain to be needed for the future


expansion of the university, and the purchase was especially timely
in view of the rapid increase in land values in this part of Arlington.
Certainly, during the years 1956-1959 the university was ex-
periencing phenomenal change and growth; and matters relating to
administration, faculty, curriculum, new buildings, and campus im-
provements were all part of this development. But as the story has
unfolded, little has been said about those who were most directly
involved and most vitally concerned-the students themselves. Their
interest in the strengthening of the university is an obvious one, but
what still needs to be done is to bring up to date the story of student
activities during these years.
The phrase "student activities" usually connotes the adjective
"extracurricular," but students also engage in curricular activity, and
there should at least be some mention of developments in the realm
of scholarship. In the first order of importance here is the determined
effort being made to raise academic standards. Students still found it
relatively easy to gain admittance to the university, which follows
generally the same non-selective admission policies as do most state-
supported institutions; but once students were in, it was becoming
increasingly difficult for them to stay in. In January, 1956, only 3
students were dropped from the college because of low grades; in 1957
the figure was 60; in 1958 it was 183, and in 1959 it was 209. Here
is strong evidence indeed of the university's determination to raise
scholastic standards.
In a more positive way, the administration encouraged better
academic performance at both the Junior College and the Upper
Division levels by such devices as the Dean's List, the awarding of
graduation honors, and the President's Scholarship Prize, presented
each year to the graduating student earning the highest scholastic
average. A steadily expanding program of scholarships served the dual
purpose of rewarding the more capable students and easing their finan-
cial burdens. Included in this program was a rather unusual provision
for five Senior Scholarships to be awarded to individuals who were 65
years of age or older. In its mission to educate, the university, it seems,
was not forgetting the older members of the community.
The city, moreover, was reciprocating in this matter of scholar-
ships. By 1959 the list of Jacksonville civic, business, and professional
organizations giving scholarships had grown to about 20. Also, in the
spring of 1957 the university was selected to receive for one of its
sophomores a $1,000 scholarship from the National Association of
Manufacturers. Included in this grant, which went to only three
institutions in the United States, was $1,000 for the university itself.
In June, 1958, the university was approved by the Western Auto


Supply Company for its scholarship program. This was an unusual
distinction, for the university was the only non-accredited institution
in the United States to be included in the program and the only school,
also, to be given two scholarships in 1958. The two recipients were
awarded $500 each, and the university received $1,000. Students
needing financial help could turn to these various scholarships, and
there was other assistance available in the form of student loans -
from the C. B. Peeler Revolving Loan Scholarship Fund and the Kirby-
Smith Junior High School Counselor's Club Loan Fund.

Academically, the students were benefiting also from improve-
ments in orientation testing and in counseling. During freshman
orientation week, students were now being given a wide variety of
tests to determine which courses they should enter. By the fall of
1958 the university had worked out an improved system of counseling,
a system in which each student received individual guidance from a
faculty member. Working together, the student and his faculty
counselor mapped out the student's future program of study and made
certain that the student's needs and the university's graduation require-
ments were being fulfilled.

Another student matter receiving greater attention was student
placement placement of undergraduates in part-time jobs and of
graduates in full-time positions. Until 1958 this program was just one
of the many responsibilities of the dean of students, Helen Merrill.
With the first seniors slated to graduate in 1959, and with the rapid
increase in the size of the university, it was believed wise to make this
a virtually full-time assignment; and in September, 1958, Dr. Norman
P. Crawford, professor of speech, assumed his duties as the university's
first director of placement.

During the period of transition to a four-year institution, there
was a steady enlargement of the extracurricular activities program.
In athletics the period was featured by the beginning of competition
with senior colleges and by the addition of teams in several new sports.
The changeover to senior-college competition in basketball began
during the 1957-1958 season. In March, 1957, arrangements had been
made for Jacksonville University to replace Florida State University
in the Florida Intercollegiate Basketball Association, and during the
1957-1958 season the Dolphins played home-and-home games with
each of the other members of the conference: Miami, Stetson, Rollins,
Florida Southern, and Tampa. Playing, of course, without any seniors,
the team compiled an excellent over-all record of 13 wins and 5 losses
and broke even in their 10 conference games. Among the conference
wins was the school's first conquest of a major college basketball team
-an 86-72 victory over the University of Miami.

The varsity athletics program was greatly expanded during 1957,
and by the end of the year Jacksonville University had engaged in
intercollegiate competition not only in basketball but in a number of
other sports-baseball, crew, and soccer. In fact, intercollegiate com-
petition was inaugurated not by the basketball team but by the uni-
versity's first baseball team in a game with American International
College on March 25, 1957, a game incidentally, which was won by
the Dolphins with a dramatic two-run rally in the last half of the
ninth inning. The baseball record for the 1957 season was a very
respectable nine wins and six losses. In 1958 the team became a mem-
ber of the Florida Intercollegiate Baseball Conference and finished the
season with 6 wins and 12 losses over-all. American International, a
Massachusetts college, also provided the competition for the university's
first varsity crew race-a race won by the Dolphins on March 30,
Later on in the spring, the university joined Rollins, Stetson, and
Florida Southern in forming the Florida Intercollegiate Soccer Con-
ference; and on October 19, 1957, the university's first soccer team
played its first game-against Rollins College at Winter Park. A
varsity tennis team was organized in the spring of 1957 and played
matches with Fletcher High School and Jacksonville Naval Air Station,
with intercollegiate competition beginning a year later. Intercollegiate
competition in golf, which had been a part of the junior college pro-
gram back in 1953 and 1954, was resumed in the spring of 1959.

Intramural athletics continued to be based on competition among
the various fraternities and sororities and the independents," with the
program expanding as the number of fraternities and sororities in-
creased. Better control and supervision of the program came in 1957
with the creation of the Men's Intramural Board and the Women's
Intramural Board, composed of representatives from the fraternities
and sororities and sponsored, respectively, by Robert J. Daughton and
Elizabeth Buie of the physical education faculty.

As the transition to the four-year program drew to a close, the
number of campus student organizations had increased to about 30.
There were now eight local fraternities and sororities on campus, and
the Inter-Sorority-Fraternity Council was formed in the fall of 1957
to help coordinate their various activities. Other important new student
organizations included the Citizenship Club, an affiliate of the Florida
Citizenship Clearing House, and the Circle K Club, a branch of the
Jacksonville Kiwanis Club. Especially significant, also, was the forma-
tion of the university's first Debate Squad, in September, 1958.

*See above, p. 43.

Greater recognition for extracurricular activities came as the result
of the establishment of the Charles L. Wells, Jr. Extracurricular Ac-
tivities Award, to be given each year to the graduate with the most
outstanding record of participation and leadership in such activities.
At the national level the university gained recognition in January,
1958, when 7 women and 11 men from the junior class were nominated
for listing in Who's Who Among Students in American Universities
and Colleges.
The university was making every effort, then, to serve the extra-
curricular as well as the academic needs of its students. And there
were important developments also in the matter of keeping in contact
with students after they left the university-in the matter of alumni
affairs, in other words. Founded in 1951, the Alumni Association was
composed of those who had earned at least six semester hours of credit
and had paid their dues to the association. Under this arrangement
the membership never exceeded 300. Then, in March, 1958, came a
significant change. At the suggestion of Eugene C. Shea, since 1955 the
association's executive secretary, dues were eliminated, and all former
students who had earned at least six hours at the university were
considered members. In place of annual dues, the association, each
spring, would conduct a fund-raising campaign among its member-
ship, which, under the new arrangement, totaled over 3,000. The first
such campaign, carried on in the spring of 1958, was quite successful,
and from the funds it raised came the beautiful furnishings that grace
the faculty-alumni lounge of the Wolfson Student Center.
In addition to its fund-raising activities, the association increasingly
concerned itself with job placement, working closely with the univer-
sity and the Jacksonville business community in the matter of finding
positions for students and graduates of the university. The annual
Thanksgiving week homecoming celebration, of course, continued as
an important interest of the association, with each year bringing an
increase in the magnitude and variety of the week's events. It is quite
evident that under the direction of Eugene Shea and the leadership of
its recent presidents, Marvin L. Thacker, O. J. Amann, and W. E.
Grissett, Jr.," the Alumni Association had been keeping pace with the
growth and the needs of the university while at the same time it was
preparing for the influx of the first four-year graduates at the close
of the Silver Jubilee Year.

*For their terms of office see Appendix B.



As the 25th year drew to a close, as the transition from junior
college to four-year university neared completion, the university could
view with pride the solid accomplishments of its relatively brief
history. Here, as well, was a source of satisfaction for the community
as a whole, for the success of this venture into higher education had
depended greatly on strong community backing. That interest and
support, like most things worthwhile in this life, came as a result of
careful planning and much hard work, especially during the years of
the Franklyn Johnson administration.
In his personal contacts and in his many public appearances Dr.
Johnson spoke, with something of the zeal of a missionary, of the needs
of the university and of the university's very real value to the com-
munity.* He pointed out, for example, that a four-year college would
serve as an inducement to new industry; it would keep in the com-
munity some $2 million a year in purchases by the university and in
student expenditures; it would serve as the community's cultural
center; it would provide training for people who would be employed
in the Jacksonville area; and at the same time it would perform the
vital function of teaching students to think, to revere scholarship,
and to participate in free discussion. Dr. Johnson also viewed the
expansion of the university as part of the general cultural advance
the community was experiencing, as seen in such developments as the
strengthening of the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra, the employ-
ment of a full-time director of the Jacksonville Art Museum, the
improvement of the Children's Museunm the plans to build a civic
auditorium and a sports coliseum, the increase in the number of out-
standing musical and dramatic presentations being made available to
the citizenry, and the advancing effort to build at last a fine public
The president was not alone, of course, in striving to relate the
university to the community and the community to the university.
Everyone associated with the university administration, faculty,
trustees, members of the University Council, alumni, and students -
all were involved. And they employed virtually every medium of com-
munication: the press, television and radio programs, speaking engage-

"In January, 1958, the Jacksonville Junior Chamber of Commerce gave full recog-
nition to Dr. Johnson's efforts on behalf of the university and the community by
selecting him as the "outstanding young man in Jacksonville for 1957."

ments, and day-by-day contacts with individual members of the
The university also greatly increased its sponsorship of campus
events, programs, and special celebrations of interest and value to the
community. Of course, the university continued to offer plays, inter-
collegiate athletic contests, and concerts, the latter in much greater
variety and number as a result of the merger with the Jacksonville
College of Music. Very much a matter of community relations was
the university's first Civic Night, in February, 1958, when about 500
civic leaders toured the campus and were guests at the university's
basketball game with Rollins College. Civic Night has since become
an annual affair; in fact, there were two such nights in 1959.
For such events as Founders Week (held for the first time in
February, 1957, when Franklyn Johnson was inaugurated as president),
homecoming, the fall and mid-winter convocations, and the various
celebrations of the Silver Jubilee Year, the university brought to the
campus and to the community such outstanding figures as Maxwell
M. Rabb, Secretary to the Cabinet and Associate Counsel to the
President; Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks; Governor LeRoy
Collins; Senator Stuart Symington; Harlan Cleveland, dean of the
Graduate School of Public Affairs, Syracuse University; Joseph Weil,
dean of the College of Engineering, University of Florida; Dr. Doak
S. Campbell, president of Florida State University; and Campbell
Thornal, justice of the Supreme Court of Florida.
For the Silver Jubilee Year itself the list was truly imposing:
Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. LeRoy E. Burney; General
Elwood R. Quesada, Special Assistant to the President for Aviation;
Dr. Selman A. Waksman, discoverer of streptomycin and Nobel Prize
winner; Dr. Dexter Perkins, noted historian and authority on the
Monroe Doctrine; Col. Tracy S. Voorhees, former Under-Secretary of
the Army; aviatrix Jacqueline Cochran; Dr. Jos6 A. Mora, secretary-
general of the Organization of American States; Maj. Gen. John B.
Medaris, commander of the U.S. Army Ordnance Missile Command;
poet Carl Sandburg; W. Thomas Rice, president of the Atlantic Coast
Line Railroad; Dr. Alan T. Waterman, director of the National Science
Foundation; General Alfred M. Gruenther, president of the American
Red Cross; and Eric A. Johnston, president of the Motion Picture
Association of America. During the Silver Jubilee Year, also, Carl S.
Swisher and Selman A. Waksman received honorary doctor's degrees
from the university, and several of those listed above were presented
with the university's Distinguished Service Award.
With increasing frequency the university played host to meetings
of important state and regional organizations. In early December,
1958, the Florida Academy of Sciences met at the Arlington campus,


and in May, 1959, the university was host school for the annual meet-
ing of the Florida Association of Colleges and Universities, which,
incidentally, was to be headed by Dr. Johnson during the academic
year to follow. In January, 1958, the university furnished its facilities
to the Regional Girl Scout Senior Conference. Toward the end of
March, 1958, the university helped stage the Northeast Florida secon-
dary schools' science fair, a service that was repeated in 1959. In
March, 1958, also, the district 5 band festival contest, with bands from
nine Northeast Florida counties competing, was held on the university
campus; and in February, 1959, the university had as its guests the
participants in a speech and debate tournament involving high school
students from 18 Florida counties.
The leaders of the community responded to these various contri-
butions to community life by assisting in the campaign to emphasize
and publicize the university's needs and purposes. The speech by
William S. Johnson, executive vice president and general manager of
the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce," given at the mid-winter
convocation in February, 1957, is a case in point. Johnson's work for
the chamber had convinced him that the development of a superior
four-year institution in Jacksonville was vitally necessary if the city
was to attract the new industry and skilled workers essential to its
economic expansion, and he asked for the university "the unqualified
support of every man, woman, and child in the Jacksonville area."
The city's newspapers constantly stressed the community's stake
in the progress of the university. Commenting on the University
Council Building fund-raising campaign, the Florida Times-Union
put it this way:

Jacksonville as a city has much to gain economically as
well as culturally from the success of this university. As
more of our outstanding young people are enabled to receive
a well-rounded education here at home, more of them will
build their careers here at home. All too many of those who
leave a city to get an education elsewhere do not return; all
too many find their careers where they find their education.
The South as a whole has learned this lesson in recent years,
and this city is now learning it. Better facilities for higher
education here will mean more talent, more productivity,
and a higher population for the city.
What Jacksonville has to gain from the prosperity of its
university is so obvious that it really needs no further demon-

*In 1956 the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce added the word "Area" to its
name in order to emphasize the fact that the chamber served the entire metropolitan


Obvious as these benefits to the city may have seemed, there still
remained the continuing necessity for strengthening the bond between
community and college. The university's tremendous progress, achieved
in just 25 years, and the truly remarkable advances of the last few
years of that period could not be allowed to obscure the very serious
problems of the immediate future, problems that could be solved only
by a major university-community effort.
Dr. Johnson, the trustees, and the leaders of the community as well
had set a very lofty goal indeed the creation of a great institution
of higher learning. In the matter of physical plant, progress had been
outstanding, and in improvement of the faculty, substantial; but there
was a very large problem immediately ahead the achievement of full
accreditation. True, the university's Junior College and the four-year
College of Music were already fully accredited, but there was much
to be accomplished before the university as a whole could be accredited
as a four-year institution. For the time being no onus could be at-
tached because of this deficiency, for according to its regulations, the
regional accrediting agency, the Southern Association of Colleges and
Secondary Schools, could not even consider the university for accredi-
tation until six months after it graduated its third senior class about
December, 1961, in other words. Still, it was absolutely essential to
be ready when the time came. Accreditation would be extremely im-
portant in such vital respects as the admission without undue re-
strictions- of the university's graduates into graduate schools, the
i-ocurement of top flight faculty members, and the receiving of finan-
cial aid from foundations and other sources which provide support
only to accredited four-year institutions. Of serious concern, also,
was the probability that if, when it became eligible or shortly there-
after, the university failed to achieve full accreditation, it would lose
accreditation for its Junior College.
For the future, thought was continually being given to such im-
portant steps as: the erection of faculty housing and of dormitories,
expansion of faculty benefits, development of the curriculum, greater
emphasis upon research, the use of instructional television, and even a
graduate program in due course. Still, the immediate, pressing problem
was that of accreditation. The prevailing philosophy in this matter
was summed up by President Johnson:
We are convinced that Jacksonville University can and
will become a great institution of educational service. This
greatness can only rest upon a quality academic program, the
first and basic prerequisite for which is full accreditation.
Our friends and supporters have a right to expect a fine col-
lege education here, and that we will use every dollar to the


While our plans extend far beyond accreditation in 1961
or 1962, all our resources and all the support we can obtain
for this community university must be thrown into a
massive two-year effort for full accreditation by the Southern
Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. This is the
agreed, immediate goal upon which all other plans rest.
Facing the university in its drive for full accreditation was a
wide variety of requirements. Some had already been met, or were
being met, or would be met in due course, barring unforeseen difficul-
ties. But there were certain others that would demand a well-organized,
major effort by all connected with the university and by the com-
munity as well.
To begin with, there would have to be a great improvement in the
library. The library was housed in a beautiful building; and as a result
of increased purchases of books, and book-collection drives by the
students, by the Alumni Association, and by various civic organiza-
tions, the number of catalogued volumes increased from about 12,000
in 1956 to over 23,000 in 1959. And the library was strengthened also
by the appointment of Ray Rowland as librarian in January, 1958.
But the number of books would have to be greatly increased, perhaps
to as many as 65,000, if the Southern Association's standards were
to be met. Also, an addition to the library building would have to be
provided to house these books since the number needed was far in excess
of the library's 30,000-volume capacity. More space would be re-
quired, too, in order to meet the Southern Association's stipulation
that a library must be able to seat 25 percent of the student body at one
time. As it was, only about 15 percent of the day students could be
seated. Encouraging academically and yet discouraging so far as
library space was concerned was the added fact that student use of
the library, as measured by total attendance had zoomed upward from
51,070 during the year 1956-1957 to 128,730 in 1957-1958.
In light of the need for additional facilities, for more books, and
for more personnel to catalogue the books and operate the expanded
facilities, and in light also of the fact that the building up of a library
is an especially long and complicated process even when funds are
available, it seemed that nothing short of a crash program would suffice
if this accreditation problem was to be solved on time. And beyond
the cold demands of accreditation, there was the plain fact that the
larger goal of building a great university simply could not be achieved
without the opportunities for scholarship and research that only an
outstanding library could provide.

*The usual practice in libraries is to count every hour the number of persons present
and to add these figures together to determine total attendance for a given period.

A most significant step toward creating such a library and meeting
the accreditation standard was the banquet held at the Hotel Robert
Meyer on March 21, 1959. The host for the evening was the Meyer
Hotel Company, of which John E. Meyer of Birmingham, Alabama,
is president; and the banquet was given in conjunction with the grand
opening ceremonies of the hotel, the largest commercial hotel in Florida
and the first hotel to be built in Jacksonville in 30 years. Everyone
who contributed $50 to the university's library fund was invited to be
a guest at this event. It was attended by 600 people and was given at
no expense to the university; all costs were assumed by Mr. Meyer as
a contribution to the university. Altogether, the library fund realized
over $25,000 from this outstanding example of community support-
support that would enrich the library by about 5,000 volumes.
Then there were accreditation matters relating to the faculty.
Great as had been the improvement, much remained to be done. Quan-
titatively, it would be a matter of changing the ratio of faculty to
students from about 1:28 to a figure of better than 1:20, as required
by the accrediting agency. This meant that the equivalent of about
25 full-time faculty members would have to be added to the 1958-
1959 total, which stood at the equivalent of about 55. Qualitatively,
the university would have to make certain that the faculty were well
trained (with a somewhat larger number holding doctor's degrees),
active professionally, and interested in research and in broadening their
intellectual horizons.
The accreditation problem extended also to the physical plant. The
first priority here was a building for the College of Music. Also, the
spacious Swisher Gymnasium was no longer sufficient for the growing
needs of the university, and it lacked the space to accommodate, at the
same time, both men's and women's physical education classes when
bad weather forced them to go indoors. To relieve this situation, there
would have to be either a new gymnasium or an addition to the Swisher
Finally, the Southern Association set certain definite standards
regarding endowment. This, at first glance, seemed to be an almost
insuperable obstacle, for the university's endowment fund was very
small, and a large amount of money would be needed. But this was a
barrier the university would have to surmount, not only to meet the
endowment requirement itself but also to provide the funds to meet
the other accreditation requirements and to build soundly for the fu-
ture. Since the year of its birth, the university had operated almost
entirely on income from tuition, the exception being the support
received from Duval County and the City of Jacksonville. However,
the university could hardly hope to escape the experience of other
private or independent colleges that had found it impossible to operate


solely on tuition and had had to supplement this source with a sub-
stantial amount of endowment and other income.
To satisfy the financial support or endowment standard of the
Southern Association, the following conditions would have to be met.
Based on an anticipated full-time equivalent enrollment of 1,600 in
the spring of 1961, the university would be required to have an assured
annual income (over and above tuition) of $92,000. Of this amount,
$12,000 would have to be earned from an endowment of not less than
$300,000; and there would have to be a fixed and stable income large
enough to provide the remaining $80,000.
This, of course, was a very large order. And it should be pointed
out also that the financial support needed was tied directly to student
enrollment. Not only financial support but also the amount of library
space and the number of books, and of course the number of faculty
required, were all related by formula to the size of the student body.
These various accreditation needs were computed on the basis of an
anticipated full-time equivalent student enrollment of 1,600 by the
spring of 1961. Obviously, if this estimate should prove to be too
conservative, as indeed it might, all of these requirements would have
to be revised upward.
Even if these estimates stood up, the task ahead was one that would
entail a prodigious amount of work a "massive effort," as Dr.
Johnson called it from all in any way connected with the university
and from the community as a whole. Persistence, patience, and courage
would be needed in large quantities. And there would have to be care-
ful planning and efficient organization if this drive for full accredita-
tion was to end in success and if the ultimate goal of creating a great
university was to be achieved. An important step in this matter of
planning and organization was taken on July 25, 1957, when the
Board of Trustees voted to approve Dr. Johnson's proposal that a
Greater University Development Committee be established as a plan-
ning and coordinating body for long-range fund-raising. The com-
mittee would be composed of all members of the board's development
committee, which had been set up in June, 1957, and representatives
of the various units of the university family. Fred B. Noble was elected
committee chairman, and Kenneth E. Miller, Dr. Johnson's assistant,
was named executive secretary. Later, in January, 1959, I. M. Sulz-
bacher became chairman and Harold A. Martin vice-chairman.
Increasingly, the detailed organization and coordination of fund-
raising activities and projects were being handled by Mr. Miller. His
widening responsibilities in this area were formally recognized on
January 8, 1959, when he was appointed to the new post of director
of development for the university. In his new position Mr. Miller

would head the Development Office and be responsible for all fund-
raising planning and organization except for the Alumni Fund. Re-
placing him as administrative assistant to the president was Donald E.
Ames, '59, vice president of the first senior class.
Without minimizing in any way the very great problems of the
immediate future, this history of Jacksonville University can, with
good reason, be concluded on a note of optimism and hope. Relatively,
the difficulties ahead are perhaps no more impossible to surmount than
the very grave problems that were overcome during the years when
men like J. Richard Grether and Fred Noble fought to keep the infant
college alive. Their courage and vision set a precedent that was fol-
lowed in turn by others like Judge Burton Barrs, Garth Akridge, Carl
Swisher, Franklyn Johnson, and Paul Lindh. True, there were tempo-
rary failures and setbacks, but down through these 25 years there has
been established a tradition of progress and success that will help the
university to meet the challenges of the future. From humble origins,
from a handful of students and a few part-time teachers working to-
gether in rented quarters in downtown Jacksonville, there has emerged
a four-year institution, with a full and part-time student enrollment
of over 2,000, a full and part-time faculty of over 80, and a physical
plant that includes nine modern buildings situated on a beautiful 180-
acre campus. The record of the past, the example and inspiration of
these the first 25 years, can only augur well for the future, for the
day surely coming when this institution takes its place in the first
rank of the nation's universities.

.85 .



CARL S. SWISHER __------------ ---- -- Chairman

CLIFFORD G. MCGEHEE, SR. ------ Vice-Chairman

GuY W. BOTTS -___ ______- ------------.- Secretary

0. J. OOSTERHOUDT __-_________- -_-- Treasurer




























J. RICHARD GRETHER (Acting President and Dean)
J. RICHARD GRETHER (Acting President and Dean)
DR. GARTH H. AKRIDGE -__________-----
JULIUS A. BROWN (Acting President) _____
DR. PAUL L. JOHNSON ___-- ____--__



JUDGE WILLIAM J. PORTER ------ -1934-193
FRED B. NOBLE ------------------ -----1937-194
JUDGE BURTON BARRS ____- ---------------1943-194
CARL S. SWISHER -------------------1947-


D. ROSCOE BUTTREY---- ___- 1957-195
EDWARD W. HEIST ____ __________1958-195




CLIFFORD SHANNON POPPELL -----_---__----_- 1951-1952
CHARLES R. HILTY, JR. ------- 1952-1953
DANIEL A. JAPOUR -- ---- 1953-1954
Louis KURZ, JR. _---------------- -----_ --1954-1955
MARVIN L. THACKER --------1955-1956
MARVIN L. THACKER ---------------- 1956-1957
0. J. AMANN-- ---__- -- 1957-1958
W. E. GRISSETT, JR. --- ----------- 1958-1959




















JAMES T. BARKER_________

__-___ John V. Kenny

-____ Donald E. Ames

_ Sandra Ann Gordon

_____ David Neil Hall

STUDENT BODY, 1947-1959


__________________ 1948-1949



--_____________ __1951-1952

______________ ___1952-1953


-_______________ 1954-1955

--_____________ __1955-1956

-- ---_________ ___1956-1957

-___ --------------- 1957-1958

________________ 1958-1959

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