May 15th, 1947: The Beginning of a New Era

headlinesToday marks the 70th anniversary of the creation of FSU! On May 15th, 1947 at 9:50am, legislation was passed to make the Florida State College for Women and University of Florida co-educational. After WWII, young men were enrolling to universities in record numbers, which included the University of Florida. However, UF couldn’t accommodate so many new students and turned them away. Veterans in Tallahassee and surrounding areas petitioned to take classes at Florida State College for Women, but Florida’s attorney general, Thomas J. Watson, declared it illegal. Circumventing the law, Secretary of State R.A. Gray established the Tallahassee Branch of University of Florida. In 1946, just under 1000 men moved into temporary housing at Dale Mabry Field and started taking classes alongside women at FSCW. By 1947, support for co-ed education had increased, and in May, Governor Millard Caldwell signed  the legislation to create Florida State University.>

tallyhoAs soon as men stepped on campus in 1946, the culture of the women’s college started to change. While regulations about what constituted dating were relaxed, many of the women were resentful of the changes. Traditions like the Thanksgiving celebrations and color run were canceled, and the name of the annual yearbook was changed from Flastacowo to Tally-Ho. The male population’s requests were taken more seriously than they were when women voiced them, including changing the weekly convocation to a monthly assembly. The changes weren’t all bad, however. State funding for the university became better and varsity athletics teams were established. Women were allowed to drive and have cars on campus, and gained autonomy in where they traveled in town. As the years went on, FSU would turn into the world class institution we know today.
classof1947
The Class of 1947 at their 50th Reunion, 1997.

To see more photographs, ephemera, and artifacts related to the history of Florida State, check out the FSU Heritage Protocol Digital Collections or like the Heritage Protocol Facebook page.

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