The College’s first formal entrance, the McKean Gateway was a gift of the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation in memory of Rollins’ 10th president, Hugh F. McKean, and his wife, Jeannette Genius McKean. Dedicated in October 2002, the Gateway, made of Mexican marble, is also a symbol of Rollins’ strong partnership with the City of Winter Park.
Hugh McKean was one of the College’s most respected and beloved friends. For over sixty years, he played an integral role in the growth and progress of Rollins.
A native of Pennsylvania, McKean attended Orlando High School before enrolling in Rollins in 1926. A founding member of the X Club, McKean was active in campus activities and sports, including football, golf and swimming. When President Holt entertained famous guests at the College, among the students chosen to be present was nearly always the young McKean. A Holt favorite, McKean received high praise from the Rollins president. When McKean was a Rhodes Scholar candidate, Holt wrote, “I have written many letters of commendation in my life, but never one with more sincerity and pleasure than this.”
During his senior year, McKean was editor of the Rollins literary magazine, The Flamingo. He graduated with high honors in art and literature in 1930. Two years later, he returned to Rollins as a faculty member in the Department of Art. From 1932 until he assumed the Rollins presidency in 1951, McKean taught in the art department. In 1942, he received the Rollins Decoration of Honor.
After the brief presidency of Paul Wagner in 1951, McKean officially became president on February 23, 1952.
The length of McKean’s presidency was second only to Hamilton Holt’s. For 18 years, McKean led the growth and progress of Rollins. During his tenure, the endowment rose from $1.8 to $8 million; graduate programs were initiated in business, physics, and education; the School of Continuing Education (now Hamilton Holt School) was founded; and 11 major buildings were constructed, including Bush Science Center, Enyart-Alumni Field House, and Crummer Hall.
After his presidency, McKean served as Chancellor of the College. His contributions to Rollins and the Central Florida community are innumerable, and include the Morse Gallery (on Park Avenue), which houses his and his wife’s renowned collection of Tiffany art works.