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University of Florida

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Florida

The University of Florida traces its origins to 1853, when the East Florida Seminary, the oldest of the University of Florida's four predecessor institutions, was founded in Ocala, Florida.

On January 6, 1853, Governor Thomas Brown signed a bill that provided public support for higher education in the state of Florida. Gilbert Kingsbury was the first person to take advantage of the legislation, and established the East Florida Seminary, which operated until the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861. The East Florida Seminary was the first state-supported institution of higher learning in Florida.

James Henry Roper, an educator from North Carolina and a state senator from Alachua County, had opened a school in Gainesville, the Gainesville Academy, in 1858. In 1866, Roper offered his land and school to the State of Florida in exchange for the relocation of the East Florida Seminary to Gainesville.

The second major precursor to the University of Florida was the Florida Agricultural College, established at Lake City by Jordan Probst in 1884. Florida Agricultural College became the state's first land-grant college under the Morrill Act. In 1903, the Florida Legislature, desiring to expand the school's outlook and curriculum beyond its agricultural and engineering origins, changed the name of Florida Agricultural College to the "University of Florida," a name that the school would hold for only two years.

"University of the State of Florida"[edit] In 1905, the Florida Legislature passed the Buckman Act, which consolidated the existing publicly supported higher education institutions of the state. The member of the legislature who wrote the act, Henry Holland Buckman, later became the namesake of Buckman Hall, one of the university's oldest buildings. The Buckman Act organized the State University System of Florida and created the Florida Board of Control to govern the system. The act abolished the six pre-existing state-supported institutions of higher education, and consolidated the assets and academic programs of four of them to form the new "University of the State of Florida." The four predecessor institutions consolidated to form the new university included the University of Florida at Lake City (formerly Florida Agricultural College) in Lake City, the East Florida Seminary in Gainesville, the St. Petersburg Normal and Industrial School in St. Petersburg, and the South Florida Military College in Bartow.

The Buckman Act also consolidated the colleges and schools into three institutions segregated by race and gender—the University of the State of Florida for white men, the Florida Female College for white women, and the State Normal School for Colored Students for African-American men and women.

The City of Gainesville, led by its Mayor William Reuben Thomas, campaigned to be home to the new university. On July 6, 1905, the Board of Control selected Gainesville for the new university campus. Andrew Sledd, president of the pre-existing University of Florida at Lake City, was selected to be the first president of the new University of the State of Florida. The 1905-1906 academic year was a year of transition; the new University of the State of Florida was legally created, but operated on the campus of the old University of Florida in Lake City until the first buildings on the new campus in Gainesville were completed. Architect William A. Edwards designed the first official campus buildings in the Collegiate Gothic style. Classes began on the new Gainesville campus on September 26, 1906, with 102 students enrolled.

In 1909, the name of the school was officially simplified from the "University of the State of Florida" to the "University of Florida."

The alligator was incidentally chosen as the school mascot in 1911, after a local vendor ordered and sold school pennants with an alligator emblem imprinted on them. The school colors, orange and blue, are believed to be derived from the blue and white school colors of the Florida Agricultural College in Lake City and the orange and black colors of the East Florida Seminary at Gainesville[]

Notable Alumni

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_University_of_Florida_alumni