Florida Southern College (commonly referred to as Florida Southern, Southern or FSC) is a private college located in Lakeland, Florida, United States. It was selected by U.S. News & World Report as one of the top ten Southern Comprehensive Colleges-Bachelors, and by The Princeton Review as a Best Southeastern College, a Best Value College, and included in the Best 366 Colleges: 2008. Florida Southern is the home of the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. For its 2011 and 2012 rankings, The Princeton Review selected Florida Southern's campus as the most beautiful in the country.
Florida Southern has won national titles in NCAA Division II competition in several sports, most notably baseball, golf, swimming, and basketball. The official colors of the college and its athletic teams are scarlet and white.
The college was founded as South Florida Institute in Orlando, Florida in 1856, and moved to nearby Leesburg in 1885 (some debate this to be the true establishment) under the sponsorship of the United Methodist Church and was open to both male and female students. It 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 to Lakeland in 1922. In 1935 it was renamed Florida Southern College by the Board of Trustees.
The present campus comprises some 64 buildings on 100 acres (405,000 m²) of land and is home to the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world. The campus itself is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district, due to the historical significance of its buildings. In 2011 and 2012, it was selected as the most beautiful campus in America by The Princeton Review.
The College has undergone many changes to its infrastructure in the last few years. In 2009, the Robert A. M. Stern-designed Barnett Residential Life Center was completed. 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. Meanwhile in 2008, Marshall and Vera Lea Rinker bestowed to the school $1.5 million to construct a technology center. The 4,000 square foot Rinker Technology Center opened its doors in March, 2010.
Besides improving the campus proper, FSC has also expanded outward by acquiring properties in adjacent neighborhoods. The biggest example of this expansion to date has been Lake Morton Apartments, about twelve minutes walking distance from campus. In 2011, the school bought, renovated, and furnished Lake Morton Apartments for $5.7 million. 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.
The collection of Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture at Florida Southern College is called Child Of The Sun. This includes:
Florida Southern College has over 50 undergraduate majors in a variety of disciplines and offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees. At the graduate level, the school offers the degrees Master of Business Administration, Master of Arts in Teaching, Master of Education, and Master of Science in Nursing.
In 2011, the College announced an undisclosed contribution from Carol Jenkins Barnett ('79) 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 is scheduled to begin late 2012 or early 2013. Like the Barnett Residential Life Center, these two buildings will also be designed by architect Robert A. M. Stern
Undergraduate students at the Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise study in one of three programs: Accounting, Business Administration, or Economics. 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.
Lectures and offices of the Department of Natural Sciences are held in the Polk County Science Building (Polk Science). The three primary divisions within the department are Biology, Chemistry, and Mathematics.
The Division of Biology offers the Bachelor of Science degrees in Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB; in conjunction with the Division of Chemistry), and Environmental Studies. Research courses are required for upper division students, and give students the opportunity to conduct research and present their results at the semiannual Department of Natural Sciences Poster Competition.
The music department offers the Bachelor of Arts, the Bachelor of Music in performance, the Bachelor of Music Education, and the Bachelor of Science in Music Management. The department maintains several successful 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 on 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 or opera gala every academic year. The music faculty are highly accomplished performers and teachers, and over the years have been joined by internationally acclaimed performers Beverly Wolff and Robert MacDonald.
The theater department generally puts on four mainstage shows a year in the Buckner Theater, with the third show usually being a musical.
The College's Festival of Fine Arts is the longest running 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.
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 a NCAA Division II institution, the college's athletic teams participate in the Sunshine State Conference (SSC), except for men's lacrosse, which competes in the Deep South Conference. Florida Southern has won 27 NCAA Division II championships in Men's Golf (12), Baseball (9), Women's Golf (4), Men's Basketball (1), and Softball (1). Florida Southern's Mens Cross Country team has won 14 straight Sunshine State Conference Titles. Florida Southern's most recent championship came in May 2010 when the men's golf team won their 12th NCAA national title. The college competes in 20 sports, 9 for men, 10 for women, and 1 co-ed sport.
The men's golf program has won 12 NCAA National Championships and produced six individual national champions. Among the more successful Moccasin alumni are PGA Tour members Rocco Mediate, Lee Janzen and Jeff Klauk. The women's team has won four championships of their own with three golfers each winning two NCAA individual national championships.
The men's basketball program has experienced significant success since the inception of the SSC in 1975. The Mocs have won the SSC regular season 19 times and have also been crowned SSC Tournament Champions 19 times. FSC won back-to-back regular and postseason titles in 2008 and 2009, leads the SSC in conference wins (310), and owns the best winning percentage of any current member (.711). The men's basketball team won the NCAA Division II national title in 1981 with a 73-68 win over Mount St. Mary's.
The baseball program has also seen success on the national stage. The Mocs have won 17 SSC baseball championships and nine national championships (1971, 1972, 1975, 1978, 1981, 1985, 1988, 1995, and 2005). The Moccasins finished the 2009 season with 41 wins, only 16 losses, and a runner-up finish at the NCAA South Regional Tournament. In addition to NCAA play, the baseball team traditionally plays an exhibition game against the Detroit Tigers, who conduct their Spring Training in Lakeland.
The men's swimming program has also experienced success at the national level placing third in 2012 and runner-up in 2013.
Florida Southern College has a student population of 2,426, of which 2,278 are undergraduate students. The college offers a number of ways to participate in student life options including fraternities, sororities, student organizations and honor societies.
Students are required to attend the monthly Convocation, held in the Branscomb Auditorium. Past speakers include: 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.
The college has over 80 student organizations on campus, including: 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).
Notable alumni include Major League outfielder Matt Joyce, professional golfers Lee Janzen and Rocco Mediate, and two bishops of the United Methodist Church.