Florida Memorial University is a private coeducational university in Miami Gardens, Florida. One of the 39 member institutions of the United Negro College Fund, it is a historically Black, Baptist-related institution which is ranked second in Florida and ninth in the United States for graduating Black teachers.
One of the oldest academic centers in Florida, the university was founded in 1879 as the Florida Baptist Institute in Live Oak, Florida. Soon after, the American Baptist Home Mission Society gave its full support and the first regular school year began in 1880. The Reverend J. L. A. Fish was its first president. Despite a promising start, racial tensions soon cast a shadow over the Institute. In April 1892, after unknown persons fired shots into one of the school’s buildings, then-President Rev. Matthew Gilbert and other staff members fled Live Oak for Jacksonville, where he founded the Florida Baptist Academy in the basement of Bethel Baptist Church. They began holding classes in May 1892, with Sarah Ann Blocker as the main instructor. The school in Live Oak, however, continued to operate even after this splintering.
Nathan W. Collier, President of Florida Baptist Institute, and Sarah Ann Blocker, of Florida Baptist Academy, combined the two institutions to found Florida Normal and Technical Institute in 1896. Collier was president of the college from 1896-1941, and Blocker Dean of Women and Vice-President from 1896 to 1944. It was there that two brothers, James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson (faculty member), wrote the words and music to "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" (known as the "Negro National Anthem"), in 1900.
Florida Normal and Industrial Institute moved to St. Augustine in 1918 on part of a 110-acre (0.45 km2) tract of land known as "Old Homes Plantation", formerly one of the largest slave plantations in Florida. In 1941, the Live Oak and St. Augustine institutions merged, changing their limited offerings from a junior college classification to a four-year liberal arts institution which graduated its first four-year class in 1945. Its name was changed in 1950 to Florida Normal and Industrial Memorial College. In 1963, the charter was again amended to change the name to Florida Memorial College. Believing itself unwelcome in St. Augustine after race-related violence (see St. Augustine movement), the College bought a tract of land in what was then rural Dade County in 1965. In 1968, the college relocated to its present site (now "northwest Miami") and by 1972 graduated its first class at the Miami site. Florida Memorial College celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1979 and began a series of expansion projects on the 44-acre (180,000 m2) site.
In 1993 Dr. Albert E. Smith was appointed as the college's tenth president, heralding another period of growth in the institution's rich history. In December 2004, the institution's name was changed to Florida Memorial University with the announcement being made at the Founders' Convocation in March 2005. On July 3, 2006, Dr. Karl S. Wright became the eleventh president. In 2006, Florida Memorial College changed its name to Florida Memorial University.
Florida Memorial University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). It offers 41 undergraduate degree programs and 4 graduate degree programs through its eight academic divisions in six academic schools. The business programs are accredited by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs. The social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The Music Department is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM).
The university has offered an honors program for 10 years that is designed to target and challenge students to their highest level. The Honors Program Director is Dr. Randy R. James.
The university also offers pre-college programs to reach out to the surrounding community to address critical urban needs and help over 700 youth through the Lion's Pre-College Experience Institute. The institute offers several programs that focus on academic achievement and higher learning, with an emphasis on physical fitness, dropout prevention, religion, financial management, entrepreneurship, and personal development.
The Nathan W. Collier Library was named after Nathan White Collier, who served as the third president of Florida Baptist Academy for forty-five years. Dr. Collier was responsible for tireless fundraising and advocating; acquiring property and land; increasing enrollment and attracting nationally renowned faculty. Collier tried to replicate the educational aims and programs of Booker T. Washington. His greatest contribution was to the education and training of Black teachers throughout Florida. The Collier library houses 120,000 volumes, two Information Commons areas as well as separate Electronic, Teaching, Periodicals, Audiovisual and Group study rooms. The library subscribes to 30 databases, 519 periodicals and contains two special collections: The Rev. I. C. Mickins Theological and Sermonic Research as well as the Dr. Laban Connor Black Collection.
|Barrington Irving, Jr.||In 2007 became the first and youngest Black pilot to fly solo around the world|||
|Freddie Lee Peterkin||Soul and Gospel singer aka Freddie Lee|
The school has changed its name several times, including to Florida Normal and Industrial Memorial Institute and Florida Memorial College. The school was renamed Florida Memorial University in 2006.