It sounds like a subject of recent academic debate, but it’s actually a prediction made by Governor Claude Kirk at UCF’s (then FTU) ground breaking ceremony on March 19, 1967.

“There’ll no longer be an ivory tower throughout the world,” he said, “only the golden triangle of Cal Tech, MIT and Florida Tech.” Convinced that the university’s engineering and science programs would attract outstanding scientists, Governor Kirk stated the university’s four basic aims:

  1. Develop citizenship and moral character of the university’s students
  2. Train young people in the professions
  3. Provide consultants to all segments of our society, government, industry and education
  4. Conduct research that would Florida and all people

And then he pointed to a class of students from the Little Princess Kindergarten attending the groundbreaking and said: “It is for them we’re doing this.” For Governor Kirk, and for all the university’s founders, education should be guided by civic duty and real concern for each student individually. Education, essentially, isn’t about the ivory tower, but about applying that education for the betterment of society.

Other community leaders in attendance included Grover Bryan, President of the Orlando Chamber of Commerce; former Governor Haydon Burns, state treasurer Broward Williams; Commissioner of Agriculture Doyle Connor; Secretary of State Tom Adams; Speaker of the House Ralph Turlington; Board of Regents members Wayne McCall, John Pace, Clarence Menser and Margaret Behringer; Chancellor Culpepper, and the the then-presidents of UF, FSU, Florida A&M, FAU, USF and UWF.

All in all, it was a groundbreaking day.