10 Facts About The Most Interesting College of the Day – Florida State

I spent the summer of 1995 working in an internship at Florida State University. Before I share some unique facts about FSU, I sadly wanted to mention that I lived in ugliest residence hall I have been in (Rogers Hall – windows covered by 1960s cinderblock lattice and appliances and furniture original to 1969) and a dead person was found in the dumpster outside my building one morning.

However, that was long ago and although Rogers Hall still exists (and is still being described as horrible by the students) and Tallahassee has fallen from 1st to 2nd in violent crimes per person within the state, I know/hope/pray things have improved. I got that out of my system – only good things now.

1. Florida State has had 9 names and was at one time a) a military institute, b) a seminary, c) called the U. of Florida, and d) for the first half of the 20th century was Florida Female, and then, Florida State College for Women. The college was at times all-male, co-ed, then all-female in 1905, and back to co-ed in 1948.

2. Florida State is the oldest university in the state of Florida, started in 1851. In fall 2021, Florida State had over 45,000 students, with over 33,000 of these being undergraduates.

3. “FSU does not have a formal mascot. They have a dedicated partnership with the Seminole tribe of Florida and display (tribe approved) symbols and ceremonies to honor experiences and traditions of the local Native American tribe. Their unofficial mascots are Osceola and Renegade – Osceola, a Seminole leader, and his Appaloosa horse Renegade introduce home football games by riding to midfield with a burning spear and planting it in the turf. Osceola and Renegade debuted in 1978, and FSU has tried to ensure a dignified depiction of Osceola. The portrayal is supported by leaders of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.”

4. Notable alumni include Jim Morrison (singer), Burt Reynolds (actor), Richard Simmons (exercise guru), Lee Corso (sports announcer), Faye Dunaway (actress), Deion Sanders (coach), and Leonard Skinner (singer). (athletes excluded)

5. “The 1905 Florida Legislature passed the Buckman Act, which reorganized the Florida college system into a school for white males (U. of Florida), a school for white females (FSU), and a school for African Americans (State Normal and Industrial College for Colored Students now called Florida A&M).”

6. “The school acquired the nickname “Berkeley of the South” during the 60s and 70s, in reference to student activism the University of California, Berkeley. The school is also said to have originated the 1970s fad of “streaking“.”

7. “Night of the Bayonets” was March 4, 1969 when the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), which was not recognized as a registered student organization attempted to meet in the student union. A temporary injunction was obtained by FSU’s lawyers, barring the SDS from meeting in the Union, and 58 students were arrested at bayonet point.

8. In 2021, FSU was the 14th best public university in the nation and the 55th best overall – according to U.S. News.

9. Florida State has a student circus! A one-semester, one credit hour Introduction to Circus course is offered to students which includes the basics of juggling, walking the high wire, aerial ballet, and rigging to introduce the Circus. The Florida State University Circus hosts shows under its own Big Top circus tent and by directing the Flying High Circus Camp for children.

10. Florida State has had 3 Heisman Trophy winners, all with a last name starting with a “W” (Ward, Weinke, Winston). Their football stadium has a sod cemetery that boasts a piece of the opponents’ field where the Noles earned big victories.

And I had to sneak this in – the first team to defeat Florida State in football in the ACC was the U. of Virginia. At the time, November 1995, FSU was 29-0 in the ACC and #2 in the nation. The victory, watched by yours truly, occurred on a goal stand with FSU on the 1 foot line but unable to get in to the endzone. It was UVA’s firs win ever over a top-5 football team!

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