Proud of Our Legacy


Rollins | 1885-2010 | 125 Years

One afternoon in 1880 while sitting in a garden, Lucy Cross drew on her past as she imagined the future. Gazing at the Florida landscape, the teacher envisioned a center of higher education in Central Florida. Five years later, in 1885, Rollins College opened its doors and Cross’s vision became a reality.

Today, we’re proud of Rollins’ legacy of 125 years as a premier institution of higher learning. We’re proud of 125 years of committed faculty, promising students, and innovative programs. And we’re proud of 125 years of inspiring students to envision possibilities for the future and providing them with the tools they need to be agents of change.

Rollins 125th Anniversary

125 Years—Rollins College
Since its founding in 1885, Rollins has earned recognition as one of the leading liberal arts colleges in the country, including a number one ranking among Southern master’s-level universities by U.S. News & World Report for five consecutive years.

75 Years—Bach Festival Society
In 1935, the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park was founded to commemorate the 250th anniversary of Johann Sebastian Bach’s birth. At the time, Bach was a well-known composer, but the vast majority of his works were not yet part of the standard classical repertory. Three-quarters of a century later, the Bach Festival Society is the third-oldest continuously performing Bach Festival in the country and continues to present the composer’s orchestral and choral music to the public for enlightenment, education, pleasure, and enjoyment.

Professor of History Barry Levis talks with students. Photo by Jason Jones.

Crummer faculty member talks with students after class. Photo by Jason Jones.

50 Years—Hamilton Holt School
Officially established in 1960, the Rollins evening studies division implemented adult education courses for returning World War II veterans. Back then, the School of Continuing Studies was characterized as “the College that cares,” and faculty vowed to provide responsive, individualized education while meeting a community need for higher education for adults. In 1987, the School was named for Rollins’ eighth president, Hamilton Holt, who maintained a long-standing commitment to lifelong learning.

25 Years—Crummer Graduate School of Business AACSB Accreditation
Recognizing a need for business management education in Central Florida, Rollins launched a graduate program in business administration in 1957. The initiative quickly earned credibility and caught the attention of Winter Park businessman Roy E. Crummer, who gave a $1-million gift to Rollins in 1964 for the construction of a building for the program. In 1985, the College earned accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the premier accrediting agency for business schools. Less than 5 percent of the more than 11,000 business schools in the world have achieved this level of accreditation. Crummer is now ranked the top business school in Florida and 36th in the nation by Forbes Magazine, 39th in the nation by BusinessWeek, and 59th in the world by the Financial Times.

25 Years—Olin Library
When Rollins College was founded in 1885, its library collection consisted of a Bible and a dictionary. By the 1980s, the collection had gown to 215,000 volumes and was in dire need of a new home with more advanced technology. The Olin Library, a $4.7-million gift of the F.W. Olin Foundation, was dedicated in 1985. The 74,000-square-foot structure, which was expanded in 1998 to create the Olin Electronic Research and Information Center, stands as the academic heart of the campus, where students have access to considerable library resources, ranging from ancient tomes to the latest technology in information retrieval.

Olin Library. Photo by Jason Jones.


Rally Rollins  ::  On February 5, Rollins launched an exciting new tradition in celebration of 125 years of athletic heritage and school spirit. Rally Rollins, which drew hundreds of students, faculty, and staff, honored current student-athletes, paid homage to past student-athletes, and featured performances by popular comedians John Heffron and Dean Edwards. “It’s a great time to be a member of the Rollins community,” said Assistant Director of Student Involvement and Leadership Jerrid Kalakay. “With Rally Rollins, we are celebrating our 125-year history and the promise of tomorrow.” More...

Reunion 2010  ::  In late March, hundreds of alumni returned to their alma mater to celebrate special class reunions and reunite with old friends. The campus was particularly festive, featuring 125th Anniversary banners, blue and gold balloons, a central tent on Mills Lawn, and the glorious colors of Florida springtime. During the weekend, alumni participated in events that included lakeside gatherings, academic dialogues, and special programs celebrating the College’s rich 125-year history. More...

Starry, Starry Night  ::  On April 16, the Hamilton Holt School, Rollins’ evening degree program, celebrated half a century of serving the Central Florida community at its annual Starry, Starry Night benefit dinner and dance. This year, the event, which raises money for Hamilton Holt School scholarships, included a special 50th Anniversary musical extravaganza, “The Decades of Dance,” featuring music from the ’60s to the ’90s. More...

Founders’ Day  ::  Join us on campus November 4-7 as Rollins College celebrates its 125th Anniversary and its legacy for the future. Watch for details!