Imágenes de páginas

especially to investigate the more difficult problem of higher education in this country. After seven years of very successful work he resigned this position to take charge of De Land Academy. At the beginning of his administration he organized five regular courses of study and classified the students of the academy accordingly, viz: A classical, and a Latin scientific course, each to extend through four years; a higher English and a norinal course, each of three years; and a commercial course of two years.

In the summer of 1886 the name of the institution was changed to De Land Academy and College. By this time it had become evident that a dormitory was an absolute necessity in order to accommodate the increased number of students who were already coming from other counties of the State and from other States. Accordingly, with the help of the citizens and other generous friends of the institution, about $13,000 was raised.

With this sum a fine three-story building was erected and furnished, and named Stetson Fall, in honor of the largest contributor, Mr. John B. Stetson. This building is supplied with water on each floor and is heated throughout by steam, and furnishes a home for the president, professors, and about fifty students.

In the year 1886–87 art and music departments were organized and full courses established in each. Through the generosity of Mr. C. T. Sampson, of North Adams, Mass., a library was established and a sum donated sufficient to purchase a thousand volumes of such books as were immediately available for the use of the students, and to the foundation thus laid additions have been made from time to time by the same generous donor. This has recently been named the “Sampson Library.” Also through the efforts of Senator Call, of Florida, the institution was made a depository for the Government publications, and from this source about six hundred volumes have been received. In the spring of 1887 a charter which had been prepared by the board of trustees was submitted to the Legislature of the State. This body approved the charter, passed the act of incorporation, and the institution received the name of De Land University. On the date of incorporation (May 4) Mr. De Land deeded all the property, which up to this time had been in his own name, in trust for the University. As there was then no legal organization of a board of trustees the transfer of the property was made to a provisional board. On January 18, 1888, the board of trustees was legally organized, as provided by the charter. In accord. ance with this it is “a self-perpetuating body, yet the institution sus. tains a vital relation to the Baptist State Convention of Florida, the trustees being originally nominated by that body and making an annual report to it." The endowments previously pledged by the Baptists of the State and by Mr. De Land were now secured to the University.

At the opening of the session in October, 1887, a Freshman class was organized, and the work done during the year was similar in character and equal in grade to that of Northern colleges. Departments were now more fully organized, and the work specialized to a much greater degree. The faculty numbered nine professors and instructors, and tuition was given in the following branches : Psychology and pedagogs, Latin, Greek, modern languages, history, natural science, mathematics, English literature, rhetoric, and English grammar; also in commercial studies, in art, and in music. There were a hundred and three students registered in the year 1887–88. These came from no less than ten States of the Union, and the Dominion of Canada, and from twelve counties in Florida. At the commencement held in May, 1888, there was an art reception in Academy Hall, when most excellent specimens of work by the students in oil and water colors and modelling in clay were on exhibition. The exhibition was very creditable, and attracted universal attention and commendation.” At the meeting of the trustees a com. mittee was appointed to raise an endowment of $100,000, and nearly half of this amount was at once subscribed. There were seven who completed courses of study: twoin the Latin scientific, three in the commercial, and two in the normal course. Previous to this there had been one grada. ate in 1886 and two in 1887, from the Latin scientific department. Normal graduates receive, without further examination, first-grade certificates from the State superintendent of public instruction.

During the year 1887-88 the institution required some $3,500 more than its income, and the lack was mainly supplied by John B. Stetson, Esq., of Philadelphia, who had before given so generously to the college, and after whom, as alreally stated, the institution has now been named.

The year 1888–89 has witnessed many improvements, among which may be mentioned the introduction of a central steam heating plant, at a cost of $3,500, in order to the better heating of both the academy building—now named De Land Hall--and Stetson Hall; an addition of books to the library to the value of $1,000; the purchase of some costly and choice pieces of apparatus for the natural science rooms, and of a fine set of illestrative and classical maps.

Large plans are also being made for futury improvements, such as lighting by electricity, and adding to the appointments of the school by the erection of a commodious brick building, in which will be located the library, laboratory, chapel, president's and faculty's rooms, and recitation rooms.

This university seems destined to be of incalculable benefit to the State and a lasting credit to its founder, and to others who have aided in insuring its success. It is the purpose of the trustees to make it 6 second to none in the high standard which it demands in wealth of facilities and in breadth and thoroughness of work. Established in a beautiful and thriving city, the capital of Volusia County, with a culture equal to the best that New England can afford, and the most perfect conditions possible for health, in a matchless climate, the University is destined to furnish a liberal education to the sons and daughters of Florida, and to a large number of the young men and women of other States and of distant lands."

THE FLORIDA CONFERENCE COLLEGE. This college, which was founded in 1886, is under the patronage of the Methodist Episcopal Church (South). The object aimed at in its establishment is stated to be “not only to preserve the Christain civilization handed down to us by our fathers, but to build upon this inheritance a grander civilization. .

Higher education is the special work of the church. Whether we look to Europe, or to America only, the church has best succeeded in such work,

while those in stitutions of learning projected in antagonism to Christianity have wholly failed.” This institution is located within the corporate limits of Leesburg, and its property, consisting of two academic buildings and a number of acres of land, has been contributed in great part by the citizens of this city. There are four teachers in the board of instruction and about eighty students in attendance. It has thus far done only sub-collegiate work.


This was established by the St. John's River Conference of the Metho. dist Episcopal Church (North), and incorporated in 1887. Its aims are essentially the same as those of the Florida Conference College, whose interests are under the control of the other principal branch of the Methodist family. It has a board of nine trustees, chosen annually from the members of the Conference whose name it bears. Pleasantly located in Orange City, Volusia County, it will have an important influence, especially in training the children of those who are connected with the denomination it represents.


There are a few other schools with college or academic aims. One of these is Orange College, chartered by the Legislature in 1883, and located in Starke, Bradford County. It is under the auspices of the Christian Church, and is reported by the State Superintendent to be

a fine school for the co-education of the sexes, at least in the lower grades." It has five instructors and enrolls annually an average of a hundred and fifty students; very few as yet have entered upon the col. lege course, and no one of these has completed it.

The Roman Catholic Church has several fine schools under its control, the most flourishing being located at St. Augustine and Jacksonville. These are said to be doing excellent educational work and are highly commended.

Other institutions, like the Glen Mary Female College at Ocala, or the McCormick Institute at De Funiak Springs, have a good local repate, and are lending a hand in the intellectual elevation of Florida. The Chautauquas at De Funiak, North Lake Weir, and Mount Dora have many warm friends and are all working zealously for the same end, viz, the healthy development of the educational interests of the State.

For the unfortunate children of the State nothing had been done by her legislators previous to 1882. In that year an appropriation was made to establish the Blind and Deaf-Mute Institute. This was located in St. Augustine and opened in 1884. It is under most able management, and its literary aim is to furnish such a course of study as shall fit its graduates to enter college.

In following this brief history of Florida's educational work the writer has been able to understand better than before the past struggles and discouragements as well as the present aims and aspirations of the people with reference to education. With this completer knowledge there has come also a higher appreciation of the work done and a stronger confidence in the future excellence of the school system of the State.

In comparing Florida with other and especially with older States, it should be remembered that the former has a large territory with no centres of wealth, with no aggregation of the people in large cities, with immense tracts of unoccupied lands, with a scattered population and comparatively poor facilities for intercommunication ; with a climate delightful beyond tbat of other States of the Union, and yet, withal, too enervating during a portion of the year for the highest intellectual activity, and, besides, with more than a third of the inhabitants numbered among the colored race, and bearing still, intellectually, the marks of their bondage. These are hindrances of greater or less moment in any effort to build up and perfect a system of education, and, in reviewing the past and estimating the present condition of Florida, they should be entitled to adequate consideration.

« AnteriorContinuar »