Florida College was conceived in 1942, its charter drafted in 1944, and its first students enrolled in 1946. From its beginning the College has remained independent of church affiliation and has operated without financial support either from churches or from the government. The College charter has stipulated from the beginning that each member of the Board of Directors be a Christian, active and in good standing in a local church of Christ.
The founders envisioned an education integrating the Bible into a liberal arts curriculum. That purpose, as articulated in the charter, continues to guide the College today:
“To establish and maintain a college wherein the arts, sciences and languages shall be taught and also to provide opportunity for young men and young women to study the Bible as the revealed will of God to man and as the only sufficient rule of faith and practice, while they are educated in the liberal arts.”
Five presidents have guided the College:
- L. R. Wilson (1946-1949)
- James R. Cope (1949-1982)
- Bob F. Owen (1982-1991)
- Charles G. “Colly” Caldwell, III (1991-2009)
- Dr. H.E. “Buddy” Payne, (2009-)
In 1954 the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools granted Florida College full accreditation for the Associate of Arts degree. In 1996 the Association granted accreditation for the Bachelor of Arts degree in Biblical Studies. More recently, the College has expanded its bachelor’s degree programs to include a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education, an interdisciplinary Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies, including majors in pre-law and pre-professional health science, a Bachelor of Arts in Music, a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.
As the College expands its degree programs and adjusts its curriculum, it remains committed to the founders’ vision for an education grounded in spiritual truth. The study of the Bible remains a central element of each degree program, chapel assemblies constitute a vital part of the daily routine, and faculty members in every discipline continue to inform their instruction with biblical perspectives.