Florida Southern College
Former name
South Florida Institute (1883–1885)
Florida Conference College (1885–1906)
Southern College (1906–1935)
MottoLux Sapientia Lex
(Latin: "Light, Wisdom, Law")
TypePrivate university
Established1883; 141 years ago (1883)
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
Endowment$79.1 million (2020)[1]
PresidentAnne B. Kerr
Academic staff
Campus113 acres (0.45 km²)
Colors   Red & white
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division IISunshine State
MascotWater Moccasin

Florida Southern College (Florida Southern, Southern or FSC) is a private university in Lakeland, Florida. In 2019, the student population at FSC consisted of 3,073 students along with 130 full-time faculty members.[3] It offers undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate programs.[2]

The institution is the home of the world's largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.[4]

Florida Southern's athletic teams have won 30 national titles in NCAA Division II competition across several sports: men's golf (13 titles), baseball (9), women's golf (4), men's basketball (2), softball (1) and women's lacrosse (1). Its official mascot is Mocsie the water moccasin, but they are also referenced by their nickname, the Mocs.[5] The official primary colors of the institution and its athletic teams are red and white, though dark blue and baby blue serve as secondary colors.


Florida Southern was founded as South Florida Institute in Orlando in 1883 and moved to nearby Leesburg in 1885.[6][7] The institution's formal establishment occurred when it was sponsored by the United Methodist Church following the move to Leesburg in 1885.[8] It was known as Florida Conference College.[9][10]

The college moved to Sutherland (now Palm Harbor) in 1901 and changed its name to Southern College in 1906. Due to fires in the early 1920s, it was temporarily relocated to Clearwater Beach and then finally moved to its current location in Lakeland in 1922. In 1935 it was renamed Florida Southern College by the college's board of trustees.[11] In 1966 the school enrolled its first Black student, Gwendolyn Gibson High.[12]


The present campus comprises 70 buildings on 110 acres (45 ha) of land and is home to the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world.[13] The Florida Southern College Architectural District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district due to the historical significance of its buildings.[14] In 2012, the institution became a part of the National Historic Landmarks of the United States.[15] In 2011 and 2012, it was selected as the most beautiful campus in America by The Princeton Review.[16][17] In September 2011, Travel+Leisure listed it as one of the most beautiful campuses in the United States and noted that it was put under watch by the World Monument Fund as an endangered cultural site.[18]

Florida Southern commissioned Robert A. M. Stern, the dean of Yale's architecture program,[15] to lead their expansion efforts in 2005.[19] Stern is an accomplished American architect who won the Driehaus Architecture Prize in 2011. The Stern-designed Barnett Residential Life Center was completed in 2009.[20] The complex includes Nicholas and Wesley Halls, and houses up to 235 students in lake-view rooms designed to complement Frank Lloyd Wright's existing architecture on campus.[21] Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker bestowed to the school $1.5 million to construct a technology center in 2008. The 4,000 sq.ft. Rinker Technology Center opened in March 2010.[22] According to Stern, his new buildings are intended to "honor Wright's historic legacy while putting my own mark on the campus by complementing, not copying, Wright."[19] Stern also designed the Robert E. Christoverson Humanities and the Becker Business Building.[23]

In addition to improving the campus proper, FSC also expanded outwardly by acquiring properties in adjacent neighborhoods. The institution acquired the Lake Hollingsworth Apartments and Lake Morton Apartments which are about a 12-minute walking distance from campus.[24] In 2011, the school bought, renovated, and furnished Lake Morton Apartments for $5.7 million.[25] As part of the Pathway to Independence Program, upperclassmen and graduate students who are in good standing may be invited to live at this location.[26]

Collection of Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture

Annie Pfeiffer Chapel

Main article: Child of the Sun

Frank Lloyd Wright was an influential architect of the twentieth century. In 1938, the Florida Southern College president, Ludd M. Spivey, approached Wright with the task of transforming the 100-acre lakeside orange grove into a modern campus.[27] The collection of Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture at Florida Southern College is called Child of the Sun. The name for the architecture came from Wright's idea of removing the "uninspired" buildings of the existing campus and replacing them with a campus that would, according to Wright, "grow out of the ground and into the light, a child of the sun."[27] The works by Wright include the following:[13]

E.T. Roux Library

The E.T. Roux library, typically referred to as simply the "Roux Library," is located on the campus of Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL.[28] Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright for his Child of the Sun campus, the original Roux Library was built between the years of 1941–1945 at the cost of $120,000.[29] The building is circular and housed a multi-tiered reading room in addition to library stacks. In March 1968, the new Roux Library opened in a different location on campus. The new location was designed by Nils Schweizer in a mid-century modern style. Schweitzer was a protege of Frank Lloyd Wright and went on to have a successful architectural career in the state of Florida.[30]

The McKay Archives Center in 2021

After the Roux Library moved in 1968, the original building was renamed the Thad Buckner Building and was used for lectures, seminars, and was the visitor's center for the Child of the Sun campus.[31] Today, the visitor's center has moved into a new location. The space is still used for lectures and can also be rented for private events. Typical of Frank Lloyd Wright style, the original Roux Library was constructed of reinforced concrete and concrete blocks. Long, narrow windows crown the concrete walls and interspersed throughout the concrete walls are small colorful cubes of glass that cast the sunlight in prismatic patterns.[29]

The McKay Archives Center is located adjacent to the Roux Library. The archive is part of the same department as the Roux Library and maintains information on the history of Florida Southern College, alumni and faculty, in addition to its institutional records.[32]


Florida Southern College has over 50 undergraduate majors in a variety of disciplines and offers the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music Education, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing. At the graduate level, the school offers the degrees Master of Business Administration, Master of Accountancy, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Education, Master of Science in Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Practice, Doctor of Physical Therapy, and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.[2] Florida Southern College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. For 2022, U.S. News & World Report ranked Florida Southern #8 in Regional Universities South, #8 in Best Undergraduate Teaching, and #14 in Best Value Schools.[33] Florida Southern receives over 11,000 undergraduate applications annually and admits approximately 51% of applicants using a holistic admissions approach, with 2022 first year students having a 3.8 average high school GPA, a middle 50% test score range for the SAT of 1170 - 1310 and middle 50% ACT of 25 - 30.[34] Florida Southern uses the learning style of engaged learning that incorporates engaging, hands-on experiences in every academic program.[35] Florida Southern College was awarded the William M. Burke Presidential Award for Excellence in Experiential Education in 2010.[36]

Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise

In 2011, the institution announced an undisclosed contribution from Carol Jenkins Barnett ('79) (daughter of George W. Jenkins, founder of the Lakeland-based grocery chain Publix, for whom the school's gymnasium is named) in honor of her husband, Barney Barnett ('65). The funds would be used to establish the Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise. This gesture came shortly after Richard W. "Bill" Becker ('65) gifted $5 million to the School for the construction of a new undergraduate business building. Construction of the Becker Undergraduate Business Building and the Graduate and Executive Building was scheduled to begin late 2012 or early 2013. Like the Barnett Residential Life Center, these two buildings were also to be designed by architect Robert A. M. Stern[37]

Undergraduate students at the Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise study in one of six programs: accounting, business administration, business and free enterprise, finance and economics, healthcare administration, or political economy.[38] The school also allows students to focus on career tracks in finance, international business, management, marketing, and sport management. The Barnett School also offers the Master of Business Administration to full-time students in its 16-month accelerated program, as well as part-time students in the form of evening and Saturday classes. The Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise was accredited by AACSB-International in 2013.[39]

School of Arts and Sciences

There are five primary disciplines within the school: communications, fine and performing arts, humanities, natural science and mathematics, and the social and behavioral sciences. The school features a combination of traditional programs and interdisciplinary studies that includes the opportunity for students to design their own major through the "Venture into Adventure" program.[40] The citrus science program has the nation's only citrus bachelor's degree program, including courses taught by industry leaders.[41]


The Division of Biology offers the Bachelor of Science degrees in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology (BMB; in conjunction with the Division of Chemistry), Environmental Studies, Integrative Biology, and Marine Biology. Research courses are required, giving students the opportunity to investigate, compile data and present their results at the semiannual Department of Natural Sciences Poster Competition.

Fine arts

The music department offers programs for degrees such as a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music in performance, Bachelor of Music Education, and Bachelor of Science in Music Management. The department maintains several large ensembles, including the wind ensemble, symphony band, jazz ensemble, symphony orchestra, and several choral groups. Each large ensemble is featured in concert at least once every semester through the Festival of Fine Arts. Smaller chamber ensembles include the flute choir, clarinet choir, saxophone choir, horn choir, trumpet choir, trombone choir, tuba choir, cello choir, viola choir, percussion ensemble, and vocal chamber ensemble. The opera theater usually produces one fully staged opera every academic year in collaboration with the Imperial Symphony Opera at the Branscomb Auditorium. The music faculty is a group of accomplished performers and teachers, who over the years have been joined by internationally acclaimed performers like Beverly Wolff[42] and Robert MacDonald.[43] Branscomb Memorial Auditorium is located on the Frank Lloyd Wright campus of Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida. Architect Nils Schweitzer, a protégé of Frank Lloyd Wright, designed the structure to complement Wright's original "Child of the Sun" concept. Construction was completed in 1963. Dedicated to Bishop John Branscomb of the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, the auditorium hosted its first performance in 1964. Since that time, the Branscomb Memorial Auditorium stage has presented artists and performing groups from six continents through the institution's annual Festival of Fine Arts series. Not only is Branscomb Memorial Auditorium a historic structure, it is acoustically one of the very best concert halls in the United States. With a natural audio reverberation time of approximately 1.3 seconds, it has been compared by many artists to Carnegie Hall.

The theater department puts on five main-stage shows a year in the Buckner Theater, including two musicals. A musical theatre major was added in Fall 2013. The institution's Festival of Fine Arts is the longest-running theater and musical performance in Polk County and has hosted world-renowned artists Kathleen Battle, André Watts, I Musici di Roma, Jennifer Larmore, Sylvia McNair, and The Munich Symphony Orchestra. As of 2017, Florida Southern College was rated #19 Best Theatre Program by the Princeton Review.


Florida Southern College was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as #8 in Regional Universities South in the 2022-23 Best Colleges rankings. The institution was also named #11 in Best Value Schools.[44]


Main article: Florida Southern Moccasins

Florida Southern's athletic teams are known as the Moccasins, often shortened to Mocs. Prior to 1926, Florida Southern athletes were known as the Southerners. The official colors are scarlet and white, though athletes sport red, white, and blue uniforms. Florida Southern is an NCAA Division II institution, the institution's athletic teams participate in the Sunshine State Conference (SSC). Florida Southern has won 30 NCAA Division II championships. The Moccasins have won national titles in each of the last three seasons. The men's golf team won its 13th title in 2017; women's lacrosse won its first championship in 2016; and in 2015, the men's basketball team won its second overall national championship.

Student life

As of 2015, Florida Southern College's student population consisted of 2,234 students, of whom 2,200 were undergraduate students.[2]


Students are required to attend the quarterly Convocation, held in the Branscomb Auditorium. Past speakers include: Conservationist Jeff Corwin, Herbert Fisk Johnson III of S. C. Johnson, Jamie Tworkowski of To Write Love on Her Arms, New York Times' best-selling author Da Chen, and author-businessman Stephen Covey.[45]

Greek life



Student organizations

The institution has over 80 student organizations on campus, including: Studio Box (An Improv Comedy troupe who perform bi-weekly on Campus), Pi Sigma Alpha (Political Science Honorary), Sigma Tau Delta (English honors society), Beta Beta Beta (Biology Academic Fraternity), Delta Sigma Pi (Business Fraternity), Circle K International (Service Organization, college branch of Kiwanis), Delta Omicron (Chapter Alpha Phi, International Professional Music Fraternity), Southern Heat (Dance Team), Interlachen (Yearbook), The Southern (Newspaper), Omicron Delta Kappa (National Leadership Fraternity), Psi Chi (Psychology Fraternity), Sigma Rho Epsilon (Religious Community Service Fraternity), Theta Chi Beta (Gimel Chapter, Religion Honorary), and Phi Alpha Delta (Law Fraternity, International). FSC also has a number of Campus Ministries such as: Beyond, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Newman Club (former Catholic campus ministry), Sandwich Ministry (ministry to the homeless community), Upper Room Ministries, and Wesley Fellowship (United Methodist Campus Ministry).[47]

Notable alumni

Main article: List of Florida Southern College alumni

Notable alumni include athletes such as Major League outfielder Matt Joyce, first baseman Lance Niekro, pitcher Rob Dibble, infielder Greg Pryor, and pitcher Brett Tomko,[48] as well as professional golfers Lee Janzen, Rocco Mediate and U.S. Women's Open champion Kathy Cornelius. Alexi Cortez currently plays professional indoor soccer for the Lakeland Tropics, whose head coach is alumnus Clay Roberts. Numerous leaders of the citrus industry also attended FSC including Citrus Hall of Fame inductee C. D. Atkins.[49] Actress Charleene Closshey graduated from FSC as a business major in 2002.[50] Other graduates include judges, politicians, a secretary general of OPEC, a U.S. State Department spokesperson, CEOs, correspondents, lawyers, and bishops.

See also


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d "About FSC: Fast Facts". Florida Southern College. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c "Florida Southern College". U.S. News. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  4. ^ Rhodes, Russell (February 6, 2015). "Frank Lloyd Wright collection at Florida Southern". My Fox Tampa Bay. Fox 13 News. Retrieved June 30, 2015.
  5. ^ "Florida Southern College". Forbes. Retrieved July 16, 2015.
  6. ^ James C. Clark (September 2014). A Concise History of Florida. The History Press. ISBN 9781625851536.
  7. ^ Allen, Jean (March 3, 1985). "Three Smaller Gems". Sun Sentinel. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  8. ^ flsouthern.edu https://flsouthern.edu/library/archives/fsc-history. Retrieved 2023-08-22. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Powers, Ormund (25 January 1995). "FLORIDA TOOK MANY TWISTS AND TURNS ON THE ROAD TO HIGHER EDUCATION". OrlandoSentinel.com. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  10. ^ "CONTENTdm". cdm15558.contentdm.oclc.org. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  11. ^ "About FSC: History". Florida Southern College. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  12. ^ "Higher Learning". SouthernNews. 56 (3): 15. Retrieved 13 October 2022.
  13. ^ a b Allen, Greg (October 8, 2007). "Restoring a Campus-Full of Frank Lloyd Wright". NPR. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  14. ^ Tribou, Richard (March 6, 2012). "Florida Southern's Frank Lloyd Wright-designed campus named National Historic Landmark". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  15. ^ a b Sachs, Andrea (November 2, 2012). "Florida Southern College campus is all Wright". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  16. ^ Harrington, Rebecca (August 11, 2011). "The 10 Most Beautiful Campuses". Huffington Post.
  17. ^ "Princeton Review: WVU Beats Ohio University for Top Party School". CBS News.
  18. ^ "America's Most Beautiful College Campuses". Travel + Leisure.
  19. ^ a b Ceraulo, Maria (May 2, 2008). "A Florida College Restores its Wright Collection". National Trust for Historic Preservation. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  20. ^ "Florida Southern College Ranked "Most Beautiful Campus" in the Nation by the Princeton Review". Robert A.M. Stern Architects. August 2, 2011. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  21. ^ "Robert A.M. Stern Architects - Barnett Residential Life Center". Archived from the original on 31 January 2013. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  22. ^ "Florida Southern College - College Dedicates State-of-the-Art Rinker Technology Center". Archived from the original on 2010-05-29. Retrieved 2012-06-30.
  23. ^ McMullen, Cary (February 14, 2013). "Ground Broken for State-of-the-Art Becker Business Building". FSC News. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  24. ^ Toothman, Mary (September 15, 2012). "Florida Southern Buys More Apartments for Student Housing". The Ledger. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  25. ^ Toothman, Mary (August 17, 2011). "Former Lake Morton Apartments Are Turned Into FSC Student Housing". The Ledger. Retrieved July 31, 2015.
  26. ^ "Former Lake Morton Apartments Are Turned Into FSC Student Housing". TheLedger.com. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  27. ^ a b Merken, Geraldine (November 26, 1988). "Florida Southern College Going to the Wright school". The Globe and Mail (Canada).
  28. ^ "Roux Library at FSC - Florida Southern College in Lakeland, FL".
  29. ^ a b "Images of Thad Buckner Building (originally E. T. Roux Library), Florida Southern College, Lakeland Florida by Frank Lloyd Wright". www.bluffton.edu. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  30. ^ Jones, Lucy D. (12 May 2009). "My Florida History: The Roux Libraries". myfloridahistory.blogspot.com. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  31. ^ "Florida Southern College - Photos of the Wright Design". about.com. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  32. ^ "The Sarah D. and L. Kirk McKay, Jr. Archives Center". Florida Southern College. 6 April 2021.
  33. ^ "Florida Southern College". usnews.com. U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 20 July 2022.
  34. ^ "Admissions - First Year Class Profile". flsouthern.edu. Florida Southern College. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  35. ^ "Academics: Engaged Learning". Florida Southern College. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  36. ^ "William M. Burke Presidential Award Winners". National Society for Experiential Education. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  37. ^ "Florida Southern College - Local Alumna Carol Jenkins Barnett Establishes the Barney Barnett School of Business and Economics at Florida Southern College". Archived from the original on 2012-12-11. Retrieved 2012-06-30.
  38. ^ http://www.flsouthern.edu/FSC/media/Academics/catalogs/fsc-catalog-2017-2018.pdf p.102 shows there is a Major in Business and Free Enterprise
  39. ^ "Accredited Institutions Global Listing". AACSB International. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  40. ^ "School of Arts and Sciences". Florida Southern College. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  41. ^ "Citrus". Florida Southern College. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  42. ^ "About Beverly Wolff". MTV. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  43. ^ Newborn, Steve (September 9, 2013). "Renowned Pianist, Florida Southern College's Robert MacDonald Dies at 83". WUSF News. Retrieved August 28, 2015.
  44. ^ "U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges ranking Florida Southern College". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2022. Retrieved August 24, 2023.
  45. ^ ""Student life: Convocation" Florida Southern College". flsouthern.edu. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
  46. ^ a b "Fraternity and Sorority Life - Our Chapters". flsouthern.edu. Florida Southern College. Retrieved 26 November 2022.
  47. ^ "Student Life". Florida Southern College. Retrieved February 6, 2011.
  48. ^ "Florida Southern College Baseball Players Who Made it to the Major Leagues". Baseball Almanac Inc. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  49. ^ "Cedric Donald "C.D." Atkins (1913 - 2000)". Florida Citrus Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on February 17, 2017. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  50. ^ "Harrison Graduate Stars in High-Profile Independent Film". The Lakelander. July 11, 2018.

28°01′53″N 81°56′51″W / 28.03138°N 81.94745°W / 28.03138; -81.94745