Florida Southern College Alma Mater
... or is that Almae Matres?
Florida Southern College graduates are familiar with the Alma Mater, the anthem sung at graduations and other student gatherings. The current Alma Mater was authored by Professor Charles W. Hawkins, who served on the faculty from 1935 to 1957. This Alma Mater was most likely written between Fall 1943 and January 1947.
The 1942 Interlachen features an Alma Mater that seems to represent a hybrid between Mary Gatewood Pulliam's Alma Mater (below) and the Alma Mater of Professor Hawkins. Was this a short-lived version penned by Professor Hawkins?
According to Harris G. Sims '28 in The Story of Southern College: Golden Anniversary Edition, 1885-1935 (p. 60), the "new" Alma Mater was first performed by students during Fall 1927 opening exercises. The Alma Mater was "composed by two students, Miss Mary Gatewood Pulliam (later Mrs. Sam Banks) and Herman Watkins." This Alma Mater was presumably used until adoption of the mystery circa 1942 Alma Mater.
Settling in Lakeland
The first Alma Mater associated with Southern College at the new Lakeland campus appeared in the 1924 Interlaken, annual of Southern College (later known as the Interlachen). This Alma Mater includes references to the Pinellas County locations of the College (Sutherland and Clearwater), and to Lakeland.
Clearwater to Lakeland: A New Beginning
The June 2, 1922 issue of The Southern, the weekly student newspaper, recounted the laying of the cornerstone of Social Hall on May 25, 1922. The two-page paper was dubbed the "Corner Stone Edition" and included reports of Lakeland's hospitality, a large gathering of alumni at Lakeland's Hotel Thelma, and prospects for growth of the school.
The 1911 Surf, annual of Southern College (one of the precursors to the Interlachen), included the tune "Hurrah for Southern College," by Ella P. Hilburn, wife of College President John P. Hilburn. It is not known whether this served as an alma mater, but insofar as it refers to the setting and purpose of the institution, and the singer's relationship to the College, it shares key characteristics with later alma maters. Or almae matres ...