Harry O. Hall, a charter faculty member and administrator of the University of Central Florida, died May 31. The professor emeritus was 92.
A year before the first students arrived on the then Florida Technological University campus in 1968, he came to the university to draft the operating plan for the College of Education’s undergraduate program. As founding chairman he also began recruiting faculty and establishing the academic majors in the college’s departments. (FTU was renamed UCF in 1978.)
Through his UCF career until he retired in 1995, he remained active in all developmental phases of the college, including creating masters and doctoral programs, obtaining program accreditation, and acquiring grants to improve the quality of teacher-education programs.
“He was a forward thinker,” says Chuck Dziuban, director of UCF’s Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness, who was Hall’s research assistant at the University of Miami before being recruited as part of the FTU faculty.
“He thought FTU was the prototype university of the future. One day he just said he was leaving to go to FTU because of all of its potential,” Dziuban says.
Hall was born in Midland, Ohio, the son of Harry and Florence Hall. After serving four years in the Army during the Korean War, he left the military as a first lieutenant and became a high school mathematics teacher in Dade County, Florida.
He and his wife, Velma, were married in 1951 and had three children: James ’77, Tom ’80 and the late Nancy (Hines) ’84, all of them UCF graduates while he was working at the university, and four grandchildren.
“Dad came from a farm and moved out to Chuluota, Florida, in 1971 and we just grew up enjoying the outdoors,” Tom Hall says.
“Dad was proud of FTU and its evolution into UCF to where it is today. Hard to believe how far it has come in such a short amount of time.”
Prior to coming to UCF, Hall worked at the University of Miami for 10 years, his first assignment as an assistant to the dean of the College of Education. Hall continued his graduate studies and received his Doctor of Education from the University of Florida. He returned to Miami in 1961 as a faculty member serving as supervisor of secondary student teaching and director of the South Florida School Desegregation Center.
He finished his service at UCF with five years of teaching during which time he also supervised student teachers in Central Florida’s public schools. In 1998, he was awarded the status of professor emeritus in recognition of his distinguished service to the university and his contributions to improving education in Florida.