|Motto||Learning, Living, Leading His Way|
|President||H. E. "Buddy" Payne|
|Location||Temple Terrace, Florida, United States|
|Campus||Suburban, 20 acres|
|Colors||Red and White|
Florida College is a small, regionally accredited, coeducational Christian college located in the City of Temple Terrace, Florida, eight miles (13 km) northeast of the City of Tampa, Florida. Degree programs include the Bachelor of Science in Biblical Education, the Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies, the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, the Bachelor of Arts in Communication, the Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, the Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, the Bachelor of Arts in Music, as well as an Associate of Arts degree.
Since its founding as a junior college in 1946, Florida College has drawn its staff, faculty, and the majority of its students from non-institutional churches of Christ. It is also recognized among these churches as an important training center for ministers. The college maintains no official connection with any religious body, however, for doctrinal reasons. This gives it some unusual characteristics as religious colleges go – Florida College accepts no direct contributions from any organized religious body, and the members of its board serve as individuals rather than as official representatives of any religious body.
The high emphasis Florida College places on its Christian heritage is expressed in its tradition of daily chapel services. All members of the board of directors and all faculty members are required to be active members in a Church of Christ. All students are required to receive daily classes in biblical topics.
The campus is located in the heart of the City of Temple Terrace and sits astride the banks of the Hillsborough River (to the east) and is surrounded by the private golf course land of the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club, circa 1922. Two of the oldest buildings in the city are an integral part of the campus fabric and are Sutton Hall, circa 1922, which was originally the clubhouse for the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club, and the Student Center, which was originally the Club Morocco Nightclub and Casino, circa 1926.
Noted Tampa architect M. Leo Elliott was the architect for both buildings which were part of the original Temple Terrace Estates, one of the first Mediterranean Revival golf course planned communities in the United States (1921). According to the 1988 Temple Terrace Historic Resources Survey, both buildings are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. After the Florida economic collapse of 1926, in the late 1930s, the property and its buildings were acquired by the Florida Bible Institute from the City of Temple Terrace before being sold to the founders of today's Florida College.
Billy Graham attended Florida Bible Institute, which owned the property now occupied by Florida College, in the late 1930s. In his autobiography he writes he received his calling "on the 18th green of the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club". A Billy Graham Memorial Park is on the east side of the 18th green on the river.
Known as Florida Christian College, the school's charter was drafted in 1944. The school opened in fall 1946 with 100 students. The college charter stipulates the Board of Directors be active in a local, generally non-institutional, Church of Christ. The first president of the school was L.R. Wilson, who served from 1946 to 1949. He was followed by James R. Cope, who remained in office from 1949 until 1982. During the 1950s, the Churches of Christ debated internally whether congregations should support missions or educational institutions. This resulted in a schism and the development of non-institutional Churches of Christ, which do not offer financing to educational institutions. Florida College was unique during these debates as the only college associated with the Churches of Christ which advocated non-institutionalism. This stance led the Gospel Advocate, a religious magazine for members of the Churches of Christ, to brand the school "a haven for radicals". Florida College refuses to accept donations from churches. The college supports itself through donations from individuals and the tuition paid by students.
Throughout the 1950s, the majority of the students were older men who wished to become preachers; according to David Edwin Harrell, the school "became something of a training ground for a cadre of noninstitutional leaders". In 1954 the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools granted Florida College full accreditation for the Associate of Arts degree.
In the 1960s the school's recruitment policies changed, and students outside Churches of Christ were pursued. A vote by the students and staff resulted in dropping the word "Christian" from the school name in 1963. The name change was fueled in part by the controversy that the word Christian was only used as a noun and never as an adjective in the New Testament. By the 1970s the bulk of the student body were again members of Churches of Christ, although the students were younger and more traditional than those of the 1950s. In 1982, Bob F. Owen became president of Florida College, the position he held until 1991, when Charles G. "Colly" Caldwell, III, assumed office.
At the beginning of the 2008 academic year, Caldwell announced his resignation as president of Florida College. He remains at Florida College as a tenured faculty member in the Biblical Studies department. After a nationwide search, Temple Terrace resident Harry E. "Buddy" Payne was named the fifth president of the college, effective May 22, 2009. Payne was the academic dean and vice president of the college prior to being appointed president.
Florida College added its first accredited four-year degree program, the Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies, in 1996. It has since added bachelor degrees in business, communication, elementary education, history, liberal studies and music.
Florida College is located in Temple Terrace, Florida, approximately 20 minutes northeast of Tampa, on the grounds of what was once the home of Florida Bible Institute. About 20,000 people live in Temple Terrace, which covers an area of 4.5 square miles (12 km2). The Hillsborough River marks the eastern edge of the main campus, which is bordered on the other three sides by the private golf course land of the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club. Across the Hillsborough River, the college has Conn Gymnasium and its athletic fields. Immediately adjacent to the gym is an affiliated private pre-kindergarten through ninth grade school called Florida College Academy, and then a large physical plant warehouse. The main campus includes two of the oldest buildings in the city. Sutton Hall, built about 1922, was originally the clubhouse for the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club. The Student Center, built around 1926, was once the Club Morocco Nightclub and Casino. Tampa architect M. Leo Elliott designed both buildings. According to the 1988 Temple Terrace Historic Resources Survey, both buildings are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
The Hutchinson Auditorium, one of the more striking Mid Century Modern buildings in Temple Terrace cost $100,000 in 1961, and was commemorated March 5, 1961. Architect was Garry Boyle, Tampa, it was built by Paul Smith Construction Co., Tampa, and largely financed by the Hutchinson family. Most materials for the auditorium were shipped from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Hutchinson Auditorium is central to Florida College as it serves as the meeting place for weekday morning chapel assemblies at 10:15 a.m. during the school year and as the theater for most major productions on campus (e.g. plays, concerts, etc.).
Two new residence halls were begun during the 2007-2008 school year and completed in the first half of the 2008-2009 academic year. Boswell Hall, which holds 320 beds, is five stories tall, and is said to be the tallest building in old Temple Terrace with a top floor view that looks out over the old city as well as the Hillsborough River . All on-campus men live in Boswell.
Terrace Hall is the new residence hall available for the women. It holds 90 beds and is also five stories tall. This supplements the other two women's residence halls, Hinely Hall and historic Sutton Hall.
In 2013, a project was undertaken to renovate the condemned building known as "C Dorm" (previously the primary male dorm in the school's earlier years). The project was partially completed over the summer months of 2013, and was fully completed and dedicated on September 22 of 2013. The newly renovated building is now known as "College Hall" and serves to house women of junior and senior standing.
Florida College offers 17 Bachelor's degrees in the fields of biblical studies, business, communication, education, music, English, history, and liberal studies, as well an Associate of Arts degree. The college is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The student-to-faculty ratio is 11 to 1. Tuition, room and board for the 2013-14 academic year is $22,150. Eight-two percent of the students receive financial aid.
Although the bulk of its students are members of churches of Christ, Florida College does not recruit through churches since the school is founded on the principles of non-institutional Christianity. Instead, the school gains name recognition by offering 21 one-week summer camps annually in locations across the United States. Approximately 4000 children attend the summer camps, with about 400 volunteers to teach and entertain them.
Approximately 558 students attend Florida College, representing 35 U.S. states and 6 foreign countries. Ninety percent of them are members of non-institutional Churches of Christ. More than 60% of the students are legacies with one or more of their parents or grandparents having previously attended the school. In many instances, the student's parents both came and met at Florida College.
Until 1996, Florida College offered only two-year associate's degrees. In the last few years they have added over ten different bachelor degree options and hope to only add onto that number in the following years. Students that do not finish four years at FC often will transfer to the University of South Florida or Western Kentucky University.
Students are required to live on campus until they reach the age of 21 or have been in college for two years out of high school. In situations where an adult relative lives in the immediate vicinity this rule is sometimes relaxed. Approximately 90% of students live on campus, in one of 4 residence halls. These are:
- Boswell Hall (houses all male students on campus)
- Jennifer Hall (formerly Terrace Hall, was renamed in 2015)
- Hinely Hall (built as an additional wing of Sutton Hall)
- College Hall (formerly C-Dorm, was renovated in 2013)
Sutton Hall (formerly the Temple Terrace Country Club) no longer houses residents as of the 2013 school year. Its old cafeteria and lobby are still used for evening devotionals and social activities. There are currently plans to renovate the old historic building in the near future
The college has a moral code of conduct that all students agree to follow. This code includes such requirements as "refraining from inappropriate physical contact," avoiding "immoral environments" such as bars, casinos, or "restaurants known for the immodest dress of staff," and partaking in substances that would not coincide with the Christ-like attitude the college strives for and promotes in every day living. All residence halls are segregated by gender and are off-limits to members of the opposite sex except for the public lobbies.
Athletic teams participate in basketball, volleyball, soccer,and cross country. Although originally represented by a pelican, the school's current mascot is the Florida College Falcon. The school has a touring Public Relations band called the Friends, which is a shout out to Florida College's original motto, "A Friend to Youth."
Florida College receives support from alumni across the United States. Twenty-eight alumni clubs have formed in cities as far away as Minnesota and Oregon. Currently the PR department under the leadership of Adam Olsen is heading up a new branch of the Florida College family made specifically for the alumni to get involved with the school. This program is called the Hutchinson Bell.
- Ross, Bobby (April 2008), "A non-institutional institution", The Christian Chronicle, retrieved 2008-05-27
- "History". FloridaCollege.edu. Florida College. 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
- Harrell (2000), p. 304.
- Zimmer, Josh (October 18, 2004), "Switched markers cause an uproar", St. Petersburg Times, retrieved 2008-05-27
- Sokol, Marlene (September 3, 2004), "Temple Terrace has rich history of its own", St. Petersburg Times, retrieved 2008-05-27
- "College Navigator - Florida College". National Center for Education Statistics. U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
- Florida College Code of Conduct, retrieved 2012-01-04
- Harrell, David Edwin (2000), The Churches of Christ in the Twentieth Century: Homer Hailey's Personal Journey of Faith, Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama Press, ISBN 978-0-8173-1008-0