Best College Town
Tallahassee and Gainesville may be recognized as Florida’s “true” college towns; however, Jacksonville may actually offer more activities, culture, and sports for students. Jacksonville is home to Florida Community College at Jacksonville, Jacksonville University, the University of North Florida, Edward Waters College, Jones College, and the Florida Coastal School of Law. Founded in 1825, Jacksonville was named after the territory’s first military governor—Andrew Jackson.
The city of 780,000 has a population of 116,500 full and part-time college students. “It’s amazing how many students are in this town,” says Jerry Mallot, executive vice president of the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce. FCCJ alone is the 10th largest community college in the country, with seven campuses scattered throughout the city. Edward Waters College is the area’s only historically African‑American college and serves 1,000 students.
Jacksonville is practically sports heaven. During the fall, Sunday at Alltel Stadium is the place to catch the NFL Jacksonville Jaguars in action. Can’t get tickets? Watch the game with some friends at one of the many sports bars at the Jacksonville Landing, located in scenic downtown on the St. Johns River. If you like to watch football indoors, check out the Tomcats—Jacksonville’s very own arena football team. College football is more your style? Well, you can take your pick because Jacksonville has three college football teams—the UNF Ospreys, the JU Dolphins, and the ECW Tigers. Jacksonville also offers amateur basketball, soccer, and softball leagues for anyone interested in playing instead of watching.
For students who want to delve into culture, the Florida Times‑Union Performing Arts Center brings Broadway to Jacksonville. Broadway productions such as Cats, Rent, and Stomp have made their way to the Times-Union Center. The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, in historic Riverside, has hosted touring exhibits featuring paintings by George Seurat and sketches by Pablo Picasso, and they also have plenty of permanent artwork on display.
Cruising down A1A along Jacksonville’s beaches, you’ll find some student hotspots like Sundog Diner and Pete’s Diner. The Town Center at Atlantic Boulevard—a short drive from JU or UNF and a block from the beach—is the home of the popular Ragtime Tavern, Seafood, and Grill.
Not only does Jacksonville have plenty of educational institutions, but it also has a ton of things to do. So if you’re studying really hard for those midterms or finals, reward yourself afterwards. Take in a Broadway show, or enjoy a nice dinner.
Contact the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce at www.myjaxchamber.com.
IRCC now offers an associate of applied science degree in golf course operations. Although the six-hole course is used solely for the maintenance and management program and not for play, it’s complete with sand and water hazards, tee boxes, and greens. Students learn how to maintain the grass, install irrigation systems, apply pesticides, look after equipment, and develop a variety of other skills necessary in the maintenance of a golf course. “[The program] works very closely with the different resorts and country clubs,” Abaldo says. “Most of the students in the program get employed by the different golf courses.” JL
Contact Abaldo at email@example.com.Strangest Mascots
Sure, you can root for the well-known teams like the Gators, Hurricanes, or Seminoles. But how often do you hear someone yell out, “Get em’ Sailfish,” or “Go Tars?” Rollins College Tars have one of the most unique sports nicknames, and Tars has nothing to do with the stuff you pave roads with. Bet you didn’t know that a tar is actually a British sailor from World War I. And as for the whole sailfish thing, Palm Beach Atlantic College chose this regal creature for its great strength and appearance, says Eric Montgomery, sports information director.
But if you think those mascots will strike fear into the hearts of opponents, prepare yourself for extreme intimidation and take in a Stetson University Hatters sporting event. The Hatters were named back in 1901 for John B. Stetson, maker of the well-known Stetson hats, says Jamie Bataille, sports information director. If you watch the Hatters in action, you might see them play one of their ferocious Atlantic Sun Conference foes, the Jacksonville University Dolphins, the Florida Atlantic University Owls, or the Campbell College (N.C.) Fighting Camels. The idea of the Stetson Hatters playing the Campbell Camels is interesting enough. RGFor other strange mascots, visit www.baylor.edu/~Larry_Frazier/mascot.htm.
No one can bellyache about being alone or left out at Florida College. Every student taking at least one class is required to attend daily chapel. For this small private college in Temple Terrace, it’s the way to unite faculty, staff, and students in a personal way superior to e-mail and flyers.
The half-hour daily event, starting at 10:15 a.m., includes a song, brief devotional, and prayer, then includes announcements and awards recognition such as the tapping of new Phi Theta Kappa members. “Sometimes, we'll have a short program, skit, or teaser for some event occurring that evening or weekend, like a ‘clip’ from the musical, performed in chapel,” says Ralph Walker, director of public relations. “Announcements concern cancellation of classes, special prayer requests for friends of the college, reminders of upcoming events--sports, musical events, society-sponsored events, etc, and personal communication from the President [Dr. Colly Caldwell] to his student body. Once he heard a lot of coughing during Chapel, and during announcements, he observed that flu season was upon us and the students need to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. It was a poignant moment to me to hear him speak to them like family members.”
Walker says “Daily Chapel” was part of the college’s original charter in 1946—that “students would attend a daily devotional period of quiet reflection on the Word of God and spend a few moments together.” Chapel is held in Hutchinson Auditorium, the school’s signature A-frame structure in the center of campus. For students thinking of sleeping in or goofing off, Florida College knows where you are, Walker says. “Students sit in the same seats every day so chapel attendance is taken from the crow's nest up high in the rear, noting the empty seats on a seating chart,” Walker says.
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