5 Lost Colleges & Universities of the Inner City

October 22, 2015 4 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Many would like to see an urban university grow up in the heart of the city. Here's five schools that got away.

3. William J. Porter University

In 1934, William J. Porter established the William J. Porter University as a private two-year college. Initially classes were held in the First Baptist Church's Educational Building downtown. Only 60 students were enrolled for the first year.

In 1935, the school's name was changed to Jacksonville Junior College (JJC) and classes were moved to the Haddock Business University classrooms at 517 Laura Street. The following year, the school relocated to the Florida Theatre Building, occupying the entire second floor. While downtown, JJC colors changed from scarlet and white to green and white. In 1944, the school moved again. This time, it relocated to the Kay Mansion at 704 Riverside Avenue. This location would be short lived as well with the building sitting in the path of what would eventually become the Fuller Warren Bridge. However, during the school's stay in Riverside, the name "Green Dolphins" was selected through a student contest. Other options considered included the Green Raiders, Green Marlins, Buccaneers, Juggernauts and Green Dragons.

Model of plan for Jacksonville University's campus in 1961. State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory, http://floridamemory.com/items/show/42275

Enrollment exploded with a large influx of students after the end of World War II, requiring the school to secure a permanent location. A riverfront site in Arlington was the school's selected location. In 1950, the Jacksonville Junior College relocated to Arlington with its first classes beginning on December 7th. JJC became Jacksonville University in 1958. In the following years, it developed into a fully accredited senior college.

With an enrollment of +3,700 students and +180 academic staff, Jacksonville University has grown to become a notable local educational institution offering over 70 majors and programs at the undergraduate level, as well as several Master's and doctorates programs at its 240-acre Arlington campus.

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