Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
April 25, 1957

My Visit To Florida Christian College - No. 1

C.E.W. Dorris, Nashville, Tennessee

Friday evening, February 8th, wife and I boarded the South Wind at Nashville for Florida. Wife stopped off at Orlando to visit a sister, and I went on to Tampa, reaching that city about two o'clock Saturday afternoon. I had been in Florida before, but not through the section of country between Jacksonville and Tampa. Probably what attracted my attention most between the two cities was the beautiful sight of the great orange groves, laden with ripe fruit. Some of the fruit had been gathered and put on the market, and workers were busy gathering still more of it as we passed by.

This was my first visit to Florida Christian College. It is beautifully located in Temple Terrace, some ten or twelve miles out from Tampa. The school there owns 197 acres of land, all paid for. The brethren are slowly, but surely, bringing these rich, fertile acres into cultivation. When they get it all under cultivation, it will go a long way toward making the college self-sustaining. (If any reader of this page has some money he would like to put to good use, he would do well to send it to Florida Christian College to aid in this work. Money given here will be money given wisely.)

For some years the brethren at Florida Christian College have been growing various vegetables in their hydroponics garden, and conducting extensive experimentation in this field. Tomatoes have been the principle crop raised because they are the most profitable. They now have a full acre of tomatoes growing in the garden, all covered with plastic to protect the plants from the light frost that occasionally reaches even as far south as Tampa. I judged the vines to be some six or seven feet tall, and full of ripening tomatoes. They have never been able to supply the demand for this superior product. They are now ready to market, on a very limited scale, a chili sauce made from the hydroponically grown tomatoes. They have their own canning facilities, and are in position to ship the sauce in 10 ounce cans at $10.00 per dozen anywhere in the United States postpaid. The garden is a beauty to behold. The Automobile Association has recently requested permission to list the garden among its Florida Tourist attractions; and the Pure Oil Company is now picturing it on one of its travel guides.

In the addition to the hydroponics garden, the school has a fine wood-working factory in which they manufacture door frames for commercial use. The frames are made from Redwood shipped in from California; before being put on the market they are baptized in a vat of chemicals which gives permanent protection from termites. These frames can be shipped to any part of the nation.

I was impressed by the number of young married couples living in trailers, preferring to make these trailers their home while attending college. A trailer camp adjoins the campus. There are a number of fine young gospel preachers living here, some of whom already have developed into most excellent proclaimers of the word. and others of whom, taking full advantage of the excellent teaching and training, are rapidly growing in their abilities.

As to the lectureship, it was held under a large tent erected on the campus. A large audience assembled for each session, brethren from many states being in attendance. Everybody seemed to be in a good humor, and to be enjoying the lectures and the association. Especially worthy of note was the unexcelled hospitality of both faculty and students. They showed every kindness possible to the throng of visitors. I believe it would be difficult anywhere in the world a finer group of young people than make up the student body of this school. They come from twenty-five states and three foreign countries, as follows: Florida, Michigan, Kentucky, Georgia, Texas, Tennessee, Alabama, Indiana, Ohio, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming; Canada, Cuba, and Peru, South America.

During the lectureship I had the pleasure of meeting and rooming with Brethren J. Early Arceneaux of New London, Texas, and C. R. Nichol of Clifton, Texas. I had known these brethren down through the years through our religious journals, but had not met them. They proved to be good room-mates.

Tuesday afternoon, it was my task to speak to a large audience on the subject, "Men I Have Known." My speech was limited to preachers I have known, and I spoke of four different classes: Deaf, Blind, Uneducated, and Educated.

Wednesday afternoon, Brother Arceneaux spoke on "Problems I Have Met." He remained over the following week and lectured to the students and to visitors from the area twice each day. News reaches me that his talks were right in thought-provoking material. Nothing less could be expected from a man of his knowledge and long experience. The preaching years of us three "old-timers" (Nichol, Arceneaux and me) added up to 187 years. Some preaching!

C. R. Nichol spoke on Thursday afternoon on "Some Debates I Have Held." Nichol was born and reared at Murfreesboro. Tennessee. His father had been an officer in the Confederate States army. As a young man, C. R. attended the Nashville Bible School a part of the very first session. Early in life he followed the example of those other illustrious Tennesseans, Sam Houston and Davy Crockett, and went to Texas, where he has lived ever since. No man among us is better qualified to speak from experience on "debates" than C. R. Nichol.

The college is located on a picturesque slope of ground, with the beautiful Hillsboro River flowing along side of it. There are many beautiful trees on the campus, with the strange Florida moss hanging from them. The weather was mild and warm, and the sun was shining every day. I saw three boys swimming in the river — a peculiar sight indeed to one from Tennessee. I was told that there were alligators in the river. (And that sort of discouraged me from taking a swim along with the boys.)

Florida Christian College was established in the middle 1940's. I have seen all the present day schools among us planted and built up, and none of them has enjoyed such material growth in such a short time as Florida Christian College. It is not the largest school in the brotherhood, but it is surely one of the best. It is particularly doing a fine work in Florida where Christians are so few and where congregations are so weak and small. The school opened last fall with the largest enrollment in its history, and bids fair to continue its growth without interruption.

Brother James R. Cope has been president of Florida Christian College for several years. He is certainly as capable a school man as is to be found at the head of any school among us; and has shown unusual ability and as to loyalty to the principles of Christianity, his faculty stands unsurpassed. The Board of Directors has backed Brother Cope in gathering together this kind of teaching corps, and with such a faculty, president, and Board, to lend the school, we may expect to see a continuing growth in influence and power for good and for the truth. The college is already a member of the Southern Association — a goal that most schools starting like this one cannot hope to reach for twenty-five to fifty years.

I was delighted to learn that the Bible teachers in Florida Christian College are standing right where my old teachers, David Lipscomb and James A. Harding, stood in the long, long ago. I want to write more fully about that in my next article.

Parents: If you have a boy or girl who would like to spend the fall, winter or spring in Florida sunshine, and at the same time attend one of the very best Christian colleges in the brotherhood, I suggest that you write Florida Christian College, Tampa 4, Florida.