Eckerd College

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Eckerd College
TypePrivate, coeducational, residential
Endowment$55 million[1]
PresidentDonald R. Eastman III
Location, ,
United States
Campus188 acres (0.76 km2), suburban
ColorsTeal, Navy, and Black
AthleticsNCAA Division IISunshine State
AffiliationsPresbyterian Church (USA)

Eckerd College is a private liberal arts college in St. Petersburg, Florida. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.


Eckerd College has a suburban 188-acre (0.76 km2) campus on Frenchman's Creek and Boca Ciega Bay, about 3 miles (4.8 km) from Gulf of Mexico beaches. The campus is near, but separate from, residential and commercial neighborhoods of St. Petersburg. The college is committed to a more environmentally friendly and sustainable campus, supported by such initiatives as its Yellow Bike program.[2]

Peter H. Armacost Library

The college has several architectural styles, but a common feature is the use of glass and external views to emphasize a connection with the environment. Recent campus additions include the Peter H. Armacost Library, Iota residential housing complex, sports facilities, a renovated student center and the renovated Miller Auditorium. Other campus buildings include those designed and used for classrooms, laboratories, offices, conferences, theatrical productions, musical instruction, art exhibits, athletic events, and student services. The just-finished Iota housing complex was constructed to be ecologically friendly. The James Center For Molecular and Life Sciences, a 51,000-square-foot (4,700 m2), US$25 million laboratory facility, opened in February 2013. In Summer 2015, the college was to break ground on a $15 million arts building, bringing together visual and digital arts disciplines currently found across several buildings. The construction of the Sailing Cove is underway on the Western end of the campus beach. Both projects incorporate green initiatives and feature natural landscaping to accent the facilities.[3]


Eckerd College awards both Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. In addition to programs in Marine Science, Chemistry, Environmental Studies, International Business, and Creative Writing, Eckerd offers majors covering the spectrum of the liberal arts. Degree programs in 39 fields are available, along with opportunities for student-designed majors.

Eckerd College originated the 4-1-4 academic calendar,[citation needed] with the "1" representing the Winter Term during the month of January, in which each student concentrates on a single class. Before graduation, students in nearly all majors are required to either pass a senior-year comprehensive examination or to complete a senior thesis project. All students must complete a senior seminar course in their final year.

Among undergraduate research opportunities are available to students is D.A.R.W.I.N., a computer science project (partnered closely with marine science) to automate dolphin dorsal fin recognition.[4] Another is the Eckerd College Dolphin Project, the longest running undergraduate-centered dolphin research program in the world.[5] A United States Geological Survey center in St. Petersburg provides further research opportunities.

Wireman Chapel

Eckerd students have won more NOAA Hollings Scholarships than students at any other school (66 recipients as of 2016).[6] Phi Beta Kappa (Eckerd is one of the youngest colleges in the country to be awarded a chapter) and Sigma Xi are among the nationally recognized academic societies at Eckerd College. Eckerd's Ethics Bowl teams have consistently captured awards in intercollegiate competition, winning the competition for seven straight years (2004-2011).

Supporting the academic program is the Peter H. Armacost library, a $15 million facility opened in January 2005. The 55,000 sq ft (5,100 m2) two-story library is located near the college's student center and dormitories. It houses book and periodical collections and features seating for about 400, including seventeen group-study rooms and fifty-eight computer stations. Both high-speed cable and wireless connectivity are available throughout the library.[7]

Opportunities for study-abroad are available at Eckerd College. For over 30 years the college has maintained the Eckerd College Study Centre on London's Gower Street. Eckerd hosts an international student population in its traditional program, and short-term English-immersion courses are held in a dedicated on-campus facility.

Since 1980, Eckerd College has also been the home of the Leadership Development Institute for managers and executives.[8]


Eckerd College is also one of only forty liberal arts schools profiled in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives,[9] and was ranked #127 of 180 among all national liberal arts colleges in the United States by US News and World Report.[10] Eckerd was also named one of thirteen "Institutions of Excellence in The First College Year" by the Policy Center on the First Year of College.


Eckerd College is a member of the Sunshine State Conference (NCAA Division II) fielding 13 athletic teams in coed and women's sailing, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's soccer, baseball, volleyball, men's and women's golf, men's and women's tennis, and softball. The Eckerd varsity sailing team competes nationally as a member of the SAISA (the South Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association) and is a member of the ICSA (Intercollegiate Sailing Association). The college's basketball and volleyball teams play in the McArthur Physical Education Center's gymnasium. A swimming pool, adjacent to the gymnasium, is open to all students. Eckerd's mascot is the Triton, and the school's colors, teal, navy and black were adopted by the athletic programs in 2005; previously the school's colors had been black, red, and white.

In 2006, for the first time in the 24-year history of the Eckerd College Women's Volleyball program, the Tritons qualified for the NCAA South Region tournament.

In addition to Division II teams, Eckerd students also participate in club sports such as rugby union, lacrosse, and field hockey. The Eckerd College Men's Lacrosse Team finished the 2006 season ranked #3 in the National Collegiate Club Lacrosse Poll, with a 13-1 record. Since its founding in 2003 the team has captured two state championships, a regional championship, and a third-place national finish. In 2000, the Eckerd's Men's club Volleyball Team won the NIRSA Division II Sports Club Volleyball Championships in Reno, Nevada.

Campus life and activities[edit]

Binninger Theatre

Eckerd College maintains a regular series of on-campus events for the benefit and enjoyment of campus and community. The music, theatre, and art programs are active in staging concerts, dramatic productions, and artistic shows, respectively, throughout the academic year. On-campus speakers have included the late nobel laureate in economics, Milton Friedman, the late Israeli Foreign Minister, Abba Eban, Jimmy Carter, Michael Collins, Anderson Cooper, Jared Diamond, Gerald Ford, Stephen Jay Gould, Jesse Jackson, Coretta Scott King, Stephen King, Henry Kissinger, Richard Leakey, Dennis Lehane, Seyyed Hossein Nasr, William Proxmire, Paul Rusesabagina, Helmut Schmidt, Peter Singer, James Van Allen, Elie Wiesel, and Yevgeny Yevtushenko.

A total of 114 different clubs and organized activities are available for Eckerd College students (2014-2015 academic year), funded and authorized by Eckerd's student government, the Eckerd College Organization of Students (ECOS). ECOS has an operating budget of more than a half-million dollars that it distributes to student-run clubs and organizations. Among these clubs and organizations are Eckerd's student newspaper, "The Current," which can be found online at, a radio station (WECX), a student programming board, Palmetto Productions, sports clubs, cultural clubs, and various academic-related clubs, such as those for anthropology, art, biology, chemistry, philosophy, law, and foreign languages.

Among the service clubs are campus chapters of Amnesty International, Circle K, and Habitat for Humanity. Eckerd College also hosts the EC Coalition for Community Justice, a group seeking to raise campus housekeepers' wages.

Eckerd's Waterfront Program is a center of watersport activities, such as sailing team, skiing, kayaking, and fishing. An award-winning student group, Eckerd College Search and Rescue (EC-SAR), assists the U.S. Coast Guard in rescue operations throughout the Tampa Bay area.

In 2008, Eckerd was ranked as #7 on a list of "Top 20 Wired Colleges", according to the Princeton Review and PC Magazine.[11] In 2006, Eckerd was ranked #18. The 2008 and 2006 rankings are to be contrasted with Eckerd's performance in 2003, when it made it no further than #350.[12]

About 80% of Eckerd students live in on-campus residence halls that are either co-educational or all-female; there are no all-male dorms. Eckerd College has eleven residence hall complexes, each with a name from the Greek alphabet. Among these, Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Kappa, and Iota complexes offer traditional dorm-style housing. Omega and Nu complexes house upperclassmen, and are organized around suites on each floor. An on-campus hotel facility was recently converted for student use, and is now called Sigma complex. The newest dorm complex, Iota, opened on September 30, 2006.

Since 1973, Eckerd College has set aside pet-friendly housing for students wishing to bring small animals to campus.[13] Every spring, a separate graduation ceremony is held for outgoing pets, complete with "diplomas" presented by the president. Other special housing includes a "Health and Wellness House" and "Community Service" house and an "Environmental House". The Campus also build a pet park in 2014 for community use.


Eckerd was founded as Florida Presbyterian College in 1958 as part of national growth in post-secondary education driven by GIs entering college after returning from World War II and later by the baby boom of children. The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (Southern) worked together to start the college, receiving a charter from the Florida legislature in 1958 and opening in 1960. The college opened in temporary quarters at Bayboro Harbor with a liberal arts focus and 154 freshmen;[14] it had 310 freshmen and sophomores in January 1962, when it was about to expand with the addition of a junior class,[15] and began the 1966–1967 academic year with 810 students.[16] In 1971, Jack Eckerd donated $12.5 million to the college, the largest single gift it had received to that date. The following year the institution's name was changed to Eckerd College to recognize his support. A covenant relationship is still maintained with the Presbyterian Church (USA).

The past presidents of the college are William Kadel[15] (1958–1968), Billy Wireman (1968–1977), Jack Eckerd (1977, Interim President), Peter Armacost (1977–2000), Eugene Hotchkiss (2000–2001, Interim President), and Donald R. Eastman III, who has served as president since July 1, 2001.

In the 1980s, during the tenure of President Armacost, the college embarked on an extensive development program for land owned adjacent to its main campus, including the construction of waterfront homes and a retirement center. Financial irregularities related to these projects resulting in the loss of more than half of Eckerd's endowment were discovered by the Board of Trustees in 2000, resulting in the resignation of the vice president for finance and the retirement of Armacost.[17] The college eventually lost the partially developed land. In February 2004 the college announced that it had regained solvency.[18]

In May 2006, Miles Collier, the Chairman of Eckerd's Board of Trustees, and his wife, Parker Collier, announced a $25 million challenge gift to the college;[19] they subsequently increased this by a further $15 million.[20] In November 2008, alumnus Grover Wrenn, a member of the founding class in 1960, gave the college a $1 million gift, the largest from an alumnus.[21]

Notable people[edit]

Notable alumni[edit]

Retired or part-time faculty[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Arnott, Bryan. "Students Tuition To Rise By 1722". The Online Current. The Current. Archived from the original on 2015-05-02. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Sustainability". Eckerd College.
  3. ^ "CannonDesign". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  4. ^ "D.A.R.W.I.N." Eckerd College.
  5. ^ "Eckerd College Dolphin Project". Eckerd College.
  6. ^ "Eckerd College Still No. 1 in the U.S. for Hollings Scholars". Eckerd College.
  7. ^ "Eckerd grows, book by book". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2007-11-09.
  8. ^ "Leadership Development Institute". Eckerd College.
  9. ^ "Colleges That Change Lives". Eckerd College. Archived from the original on 2010-05-27.
  10. ^ "Eckerd College Ranking at US News and World Report". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  11. ^ The ranking was out of 240 colleges and universities completing a Princeton Review survey. See "Eckerd climbs in ranking of wired colleges". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  12. ^ "Eckerd makes top high-tech listings". St. Petersburg Times.
  13. ^ "Cat Colleges and Hero Kitties". Animal Planet. March 19, 2011.
  14. ^ Wilbur, William C. (October 8, 1991). "Eckerd College: a proud part of the community". St. Petersburg Times (opinion). p. 2.
  15. ^ a b "Gettysburg Native Building Campus For Presbyterian College He Heads in Florida". The Gettysburg Times. January 30, 1962. p. 3.
  16. ^ "Presbyterian College Budget At $1,138,000". St. Petersburg Independent. October 15, 1966. p. 5A.
  17. ^ Van der Werf, Martin (June 27, 2000). "Eckerd College President to Retire After Endowment Is Found to Be Short $19-Million". The Chronicle of Higher Education.
  18. ^ Meinhardt, Jane (February 23, 2004). "Eckerd College cimbs back in black". Tampa Bay Business Journal.
  19. ^ Krueger, Curtis (May 20, 2006). "Gift to Eckerd will open doors". St. Petersburg Times. Archived from the original on June 14, 2006.
  20. ^ "Couple adds $15-million to Eckerd College pledge". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  21. ^ "Eckerd College receives $1-million gift". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved 2008-11-24.
  22. ^ "Alumni in Action Dorothy Allison". Eckerd College. Archived from the original on 2013-12-21. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  23. ^ "Steve Balboni Stats", Baseball Almanac
  24. ^ "Berger, Jeffery J." The Connecticut News Project. Archived from the original on 2013-12-21. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  25. ^ "Bill Evers '04 Drafted by Tampa Bay Devil Rays", Eckerd College news, 06/10/2004
  26. ^ "Representative Frank Farkas". Florida House of Representatives. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  27. ^ Cirincione, Mary (March 11, 2015). "Hank Green Loves Science, and Wants Others to Love it, Too". USA News. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  28. ^ "A Drink With ...Michael Hein, Ulster County executive". Ulster Magazine. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  29. ^ "Eckerd College Baseball Players Who Made it to the Major Leagues". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  30. ^ "Introduction of Dennis Lehane, Commencement Speaker Dr. Donald R. Eastman, III". Eckerd College. Archived from the original on 2007-10-04. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  31. ^ a b Reynolds, Simon (2009). Rip it Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984. Faber & Faber.
  32. ^ "Jon Mueller". Albany Athletics Communications. Archived from the original on May 1, 2014. Retrieved July 23, 2014.
  33. ^ "JAY NICORVO '99". Eckerd College. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  34. ^ "Alumni Profile: Eckerd Leads Aaron O'Connell '05 to Quantum Mechanics to Wall Street to TED". Eckerd College. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  35. ^ "Eckerd Alumni Continuing the Experience". Eckerd Alumni. Retrieved December 20, 2013.
  36. ^ "Jay Washington". Real GM Basketball. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  37. ^ "Dennis Lehane - Creative Writing - Eckerd College". Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  38. ^ Marker page Archived 2008-12-03 at the Wayback Machine - Eckerd College
  39. ^ Meinke page - Eckerd College
  40. ^ Watson, Sterling (Summer 2001). "Teaching with James Michener". Michigan Quarterly Review. XL (3).
  41. ^ Brozan, Nadine (September 27, 1991). "Chronicle". The New York Times.
  42. ^ "Steve Forbes, Eckerd College professor John Prevas look to Caesar for leadership lessons". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  43. ^ "A fond farewell to Prof. Sterling Watson: The Current salutes a writing legend in his last semester at Eckerd". The Online Current. Archived from the original on 2013-12-21. Retrieved December 12, 2013.

Further reading

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 27°43′1.55″N 82°41′18.26″W / 27.7170972°N 82.6884056°W / 27.7170972; -82.6884056