UF Named Facilities
Andrew Sledd Hall
Andrew Sledd laid the foundation for the University of Florida as its first president. Sledd was known as an influential visionary who held UF to the highest standards during its formative years.
Throughout his life, Sledd was known as a forward-thinking leader. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from Randolph-Macon College in 1894 and earned a master's degree from Harvard in 1896. After graduating he began teaching Latin at Emory College, now Emory University. While at Emory, Sledd witnessed a mob lynching. Appalled by what he saw, Sledd published an article condemning lynching practices in the South. The article caused an uproar and the controversy surrounding Sledd's social commentary pressured him to resign and forced him into exile.
With a teaching career behind him, Sledd returned to school and earned a doctorate degree from Yale in 1903. He then taught Greek at Southern University in Alabama before being appointed President of Florida Agricultural College.
As a result of the Buckman Act in 1905, the University of Florida in Gainesville was formed from the consolidation of four state-funded schools: East Florida Seminary in Gainesville; the St. Petersburg Normal and Industrial School in St. Petersburg; the South Florida Military College in Bartow; and Florida Agricultural College in Lake City, where Sledd served as president from 1904 to 1906.
At the time, presidency for the newly formed university rested in the hands of the Florida Board of Control. Despite various candidates, Sledd prevailed with the help of his political ties with Florida Governor Napoleon B. Broward who asserted his influence on the Board of Control.
As president, Sledd was a dedicated leader striving to establish UF as a premier university. According to historical accounts, Sledd drove a buggy, transporting school supplies from Lake City to Gainesville, and lived on campus in Buckman Hall, now strictly a student dormitory. He was responsible for recruiting UF's founding faculty, most of which came from the Lake City campus. With an all-male student body of 102, faculty numbered less than one dozen.
Sledd's term was instrumental but brief. He became aware of the Board of Control's intention to replace him after inaugurating Albert Gilchrist as Governor of Florida. After Gilchrist's appointment in 1909, Sledd resigned.
After leaving UF, Sledd returned to Southern University where he served as president followed by a teaching position at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University.
Sledd's lifelong commitment to education contributed to the establishment of UF as the state's leading university.
The building originally known as New Dormitory was built in 1929 by architect Rudolph Weaver in the Collegiate Gothic style and links Thomas and Fletcher Halls. In the late 1930s, New Dormitory was renamed for Dr. Andrew Sledd.
Decorating its exterior surface are numerous cast-concrete replicas of the seals of the great universities of the world and sculptural figures along the cornice depict the male student population of the period engaged in a variety of activities. The facility's distinguishing feature is the south tower entrance depicting the friendship between Chief Mucozo and the Spanish explorer Juan Ortiz. Sledd Hall is a part of the University of Florida Campus Historic District, a collection of buildings added to the National Register as a historic district in 1989.
Narrative as displayed on the commemorative plaque:
Construction on Sledd Hall began in 1928. Originally known as New Dormitory, it was completed in 1929 and renamed Sledd Hall in 1939. The architect was Rudolph Weaver and the contractor was the Sutton Brothers Company. The original construction connected to the southeast corner of Thomas Hall and extended eastward to the southwest corner of Buckman Hall. Sledd Hall's exterior fašade is enhanced by a number of decorative stone carvings portraying student life.
Andrew Sledd was born on November 7, 1870, in Lynchburg, Virginia, the son of a Methodist Episcopal minister. He was awarded a bachelor's and a master's degree from Randolph-Macon College. He also earned a master's degree in Greek from Harvard and a Ph.D. in Latin from Yale. In 1904, Dr. Andrew Sledd accepted the presidency of the University of Florida. At that time UF was located in Lake City. He remained president during the University's move to Gainesville, and served in that capacity until 1909. He then became president at Southern University in Greensboro, Alabama. Dr. Sledd later served as one of the first faculty members at Emory University's Candler School of Theology and remained there until his death on March 16, 1939.
Sledd Hall is on the National Register of Historic Places.