On January 6, 1853, Florida Governor Thomas Brown signs the bill that provided public support to higher education. East Florida Seminary in Ocala is one of the first schools to use this funding, but it soon closes due the Civil War. In 1866, EFS reopens in Gainesville, beginning a 150-year journey to become one of the largest, most prestigious schools in the world.
1853 » East Florida Seminary Created
East Florida Seminary in Ocala is created in response to public funds being used to support higher education. EFS will later combine with Florida Agricultural College, St. Petersburg Normal and Industrial School and South Florida Military College to become the University of the State of Florida, one of four state universities.
1861-1865 » Civil War Closes East Florida Seminary
Legend has it that all of the faculty and male students of military age serve in some capacity in the service of the Confederacy.
1866 » East Florida Seminary Moves To Gainesville
EFS is housed in what later will become the Methodist Church on Northeast First Street in Gainesville. One of the original buildings, Epworth Hall, is still in use today and displays a marker signifying its importance to the Gainesville community.
1884 » Florida Agricultural College Opens
Florida’s first land grant college opens in Lake City. Gainesville was originally selected as the site for the new school but could not fulfill its financial obligations. The college site is then moved to Eau Gallie but politics play a part in moving the site once more — to Lake City.
1903 » College Named University Of Florida
Florida Agricultural College changes its name to University of Florida for a short time. The Buckman Act of 1905 abolishes all state-supported schools to consolidate them. UF becomes the University of the State of Florida until 1909 when the name is shortened to University of Florida.
1904 » Sledd Appointed First UF President
Andrew Sledd is selected as the president of the University of Florida at Lake City. In 1905, Sledd is chosen to be the first president of the new University of the State of Florida. Sledd’s appointment as president is entwined in state politics, however. Many believe his standards for the school are too high and that he overlooks the benefits of athletics. He is forced to resign after Governor Albert Gilchrist’s inauguration in 1909.
1905 » Buckman Act
With the public support of higher education, seven co-educational schools have opened. The Buckman Act consolidates these schools to one for white males (UF), one for white females (FSU), one for African-Americans (FAMU) and one school for the deaf and blind.