Behind the Name: Ludd M. Spivey Fine Arts Center
Ludd Myrl Spivey
Spivey (1886-1962) served as President of Florida Southern College from 1925 to 1957. Dr. Spivey was born in Eclectic, Alabama, soon after which his family moved West, where he attended high school in Oklahoma City. College work was done at Epworth College and Vanderbilt University. In 1912 he was ordained a Methodist minister and married Clara Louise Helmkampf of Jackson, Missouri. By 1920 he had received two degrees from the University of Chicago, where he gained a great admiration for the teachings of the American philosopher and educator, John Dewey. He was soon to be appointed to a teaching position and then as Dean at Birmingham-Southern College in Alabama. Dr. Spivey came to Southern College in Lakeland in 1925.
The modern buildings and equipment on the new Lakeland site meant a sizeable indebtedness. Since Dr. Spivey's first years coincided with the post-Florida-boom years as well as the nationwide depression years, some concern could be expected. As late as 1933, the trustees voted to close Southern, but not Dr. Spivey! He took up the task with such engaging enthusiasm and tireless energy, that the entire enterprise seemed destined to prosper from that time forward. By 1938 he had successfully persuaded a nationally known architect to build a series of campus structures, frankly admitting that no money was in hand at the moment. By 1941 Frank Lloyd Wright had not only completed Annie Pfeiffer Chapel, the first of ten campus structures, but another one was on the drawing board.
During Dr. Spivey's remarkable 32-year tenure, the campus buildings increased from two to more than forty. The student body increased from less than 300 to over 1400. The operating budget went from approximately $114,000 to over $1 million. Official accreditation came. Graduate and community oriented programs were added. Florida Southern College, the official new name since 1935, had truly reached her majority status, from which even greater achievements could now be realized.
Ludd M. Spivey Fine Arts Center - Florida Southern College