Campus Attractions at Florida Southern College

    By Florence Beth Snyder

    Frank Lloyd Wright is widely regarded as "the greatest American architect of all time" and Florida Southern College in Lakeland is the best place on Earth to see what makes him so great.

    The College, founded by the United Methodist Church in 1883, is among the nation’s most beautiful campuses on the strength of its stunning collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.

    More than a mile of copper-trimmed covered walkway known as the Esplanade connects the Wright buildings constructed between 1941 and 1958 on the 110 acres surrounding Lake Hollingsworth.

    The Annie Pfeiffer Chapel was the first of the Wright buildings to open and remains the spiritual center FSC. In contrast to the rest of the Wright buildings — all much lower-slung — the Pfeiffer’s design directs visitors' eyes toward the heavens. The chapel floor, which recently got a fresh coat of Wright's favorite color, Cherokee red, is also an attention grabber.

    Smaller than the Pfeiffer but equally impressive is the William H. Danforth Chapel. Wright’s design showcases Florida tidewater red cypress and soaring leaded glass windows. The main stained glass window is drenched in the rich orange and gold colors of Florida sunshine.

    The Thad Buckner Building opened in 1945 as the campus library. Today it's a visitor center with a grand assembly space as originally designed by Wright. Many original furnishings and features remain, including a fireplace Wright felt might be appreciated by students on those few-and-far-between chilly nights in central Florida.

    The Science Building, completed in 1958, is the largest of FSC's Wright buildings and is home to the only planetarium Wright designed in his seven-decade career. As the 20th century drew to a close, the building got a loving, multimillion dollar makeover that preserved the elements of Wright's style while keeping the laboratories and lecture halls on the cutting edge.

    Wherever you are and whatever your budget, FSC has a tour of the Esplanade you’re sure to enjoy. The "Wright site" takes you right over to an online walkabout. You can even purchase your swag on line.

    But better to come in person and soak up the scene under the expert guidance of FSC docents. Prices begin at a family-friendly $7.

    “Light, Wisdom, Law” is the College motto and something of a contrast with its more primal and recently re-styled school mascot, Mocsie the water moccasin. Each helps to explain FSC’s longevity and success as the oldest private college in Florida.

    FSC keeps the focus on academics and prides itself on a high-quality faculty that provides a classical undergraduate education in the traditional four years. The College is a font of scholar-athletes. Alumni have gone on to careers in professional baseball, golf and basketball after helping to win 28 NCAA titles for
    the Moccasins.

    The Branscomb Memorial Auditorium opened in 1963 and quickly gained a reputation for its near-perfect acoustics. Internationally renowned actors, musicians and dancers love to play the Branscomb, especially during FSC’s Festival of Fine Arts.

    FSC enjoys a warm relationship with the people of Lakeland, and encourages students to get to know the local merchants, purveyors of arts and culture, and restaurateurs who are always happy to welcome students taking a study break with friends and family.

    When you go…
    Florida Southern College
    111 Lake Hollingsworth Dr., Lakeland, Fla., 33801
    863.680.4111

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