In 1958, some noble ideas and an ambitious vision led to the founding of a small, deceptively unassuming college on some waterfront property in St. Petersburg, Florida under the name Florida Presbyterian College. While innumerable changes have occurred during the College's now fifty-year history — not the least of which was the name itself — after fifty years pass, it comes time to ask at what point does an entity like FPC become an institution? Documents from the College's early years are liberally peppered with words like "fledgling," "upstart", and "young." Is a College's status as an institution a simple function of time? The development of Eckerd College into an institution after a mere fifty years suggests that it's something more than just time that brings a college from the point where it is merely providing a valuable service to the point where it has a discernible spirit that is imparted to its students and carried into the world at large. More than the simple passage of time, it is the persistence of a college's stated values over time that suggests its status as an institution. Sometimes stated explicitly, at others, simply used to describe the nature of the College's operation from its outset, Eckerd's core values have indeed persisted over its history, and tracing them as common threads over time is a good way to trace the development of the spirit of Eckerd.

Next >>