What is the Historical Marker Program?
The University of Florida recognizes the interest in the history of higher education and its place in the region, state, and nation it serves. The celebrations of the university’s sesquicentennial in 2003 and the centennial of the university’s presence in Gainesville in 2006 brought about an increased awareness of our past achievements and contributions to higher education and the achievements of this great university. This renewed interest in the university’s history spurred the creation of the University History Advisory Council and an historical marker program. The historical markers describe the major research achievements of the University, explain our missions as a land-grant and flagship university, recount different aspects of campus culture, and highlight individuals and groups who made important contributions.
Financial support for the costs of manufacturing the markers comes from the University of Florida Office of Research. UF’s Physical Plant Division installs and maintains the markers. The markers are placed in highly visible locations to enhance walking tours and demonstrate that the University of Florida recognizes and appreciates the foundation for its future. Additional information will be available in printed and online brochures that locate the markers and serve as a guide for a walking tour.
Procedures for Submitting Marker Proposals
All faculty members, staff, students, alumni and others interested in saluting the University of Florida’s rich tradition of achievement in higher education and service to society are invited to nominate an achievement that is unique in historical, intellectual, scientific or cultural significance. An application form must be completed and submitted to the University of Florida History Advisory Council. Applications must also be accompanied by documentation, references to historical sources, and suggested text for the marker. The marker must be able to communicate its message clearly in about 125 words or less.
The University of Florida History Advisory Council meets the first Wednesday of the month and applicants are invited to attend meetings. The merits of the application are discussed at the initial meeting and the council may request additional documentation and information at that time. Applications are approved or rejected based on the merits of a particular proposal, weighed in the context of both the University’s history and the history of American higher education. The markers should appeal and be relevant to the public at large as well as to members of the university community. Generally avoided are topics whose primary appeal is nostalgic or based on legend or lore. If approved, the council will review the marker text for content accuracy and editorial comment During the process, the applicant will be notified of the marker’s progress. The Office of University Relations gives final approval for each marker and some markers may be reviewed by the University’s Preservation of Historic Buildings and Sites Committee.
Applicants are also encouraged to enlist appropriate groups, individuals and campus units to sponsor dedication ceremonies. The council has adopted a marker dedication protocol similar to the University’s building dedication protocol. Ceremonies should be about 30 minutes long and should involve people connected to the marker and/or their family members. An appropriate representative of the University should attend to make brief comments and someone with knowledge of the marker’s historical context should also speak. At the end of the program, a representative of the Alumni Association will present the marker to the University and then the marker will be unveiled.