HOUSES IN HONOR
Founded in 1958 as Florida Presbyterian College, Eckerd College was the first Presbyterian college in Florida and the first Presbyterian college founded in the United States in 65 years. Founding President William H. Kadel was known to have said this about the founding concept for the
College:“There was no place in America for just another college. If it was worth doing at all, it was worth going first-class, committing to top- flight faculty, an innovative curriculum, selectivity in admissions to ensure superior students, and facilities that would foster this quality.”
When the College opened its doors to its first students in 1960, classes were held at the College’s interim campus on a former maritime base at Bayboro Harbor in downtown St. Petersburg. On September 24, 1961, more than 2,000 supporters gathered for the ceremonial groundbreaking for the campus on the shores of Boca Ciega Bay. Simultaneous construction began on an auditorium, library, a two-story classroom building, residential units, and dining hall.The College’s first deans of men and women supported the concept of a cluster of small “houses” around a central lounge area to encourage supportive relationships among students. Each house would be given its own name so that students would develop identities associated with their houses.The first class of students determined there would be no fraternities and sororities at the College; they named, however, their residential complexes (a cluster of four houses) after letters of the Greek alphabet. By Fall 1963, the beginning of the College’s fourth academic year, construction was complete and the era of the interim campus came to an end.