Florida Southern College – Campus Visit or Architectural Tour?

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Annie Pfeiffer ChapelFamilies who visit Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida are in for a treat when they discover that this campus tour is more like an architectural tour of the works by America’s most famous architect’s: Frank Lloyd Wright.

The College, located on scenic Lake Hollingsworth (right between Tampa and Orlando) commissioned Wright to design several campus buildings beginning in 1938. Eighteen buildings were designed for the project. Twelve of which were built on campus, making this the largest single-site collection of his work. The project commenced in 1938 with the Annie Pfeiffer Chapel and concluded in 1958 upon completion of the Polk County Science Building.

Florida Southern offers 50 majors and interdisciplinary programs, as well as the option to create your own major. Though guided tours of campus are available Monday – Friday, families planning to visit may want to take advantage of special, structured visit days for prospective students known as “Frank Fridays.” Hosted by the Admissions Office, the dates of the first two events of 2010 are January 15 and March 19. The visit program begins a 9 a.m. and is over by 2 p.m. The agenda includes a continental breakfast, campus tour, admissions and financial aid information sessions, lunch on campus as well as opportunities to talk with students enrolled at Florida Southern. In my experience, talking with students about what it’s like to live on campus, attend classes, etc. provides the greatest insight about how well things flow at any given college.

A stop by the Child of the Sun Visitor Center is also in order. The Center houses a permanent display of photographs, furniture and drawings related to Wright’s work on campus. In-depth guided tours with a docent are available for visitors by appointment, and self-guided walking tours are available at all times. The Center is named for a quote by Wright describing his work at Florida Southern: “. . . out of the ground, and into the light, a child of the sun.”

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