The University of Tampa renamed North B Street after the founder and first president of UT, Frederic H. Spaulding. The change was made official as of April 2. The street begins at the intersection of West Kennedy Boulevard and University Drive and runs east to west.
The Tampa City Council approved the name change unanimously. A historical landmark sign may also be placed to provide information on Spaulding’s significance.
Spaulding created Tampa Junior College, which became UT, in 1931 during the Great Depression. Before then, Tampa students who wanted to attend college had to go to Gainesville or Tallahassee. Tampa Junior College’s first classes were held at Hillsborough High School, where Spaulding had previously served as principal. In 1933, classes moved to the Tampa Bay Hotel, now Plant Hall. In 1941, the school became the University of Tampa.
The university offered the street to the Spaulding family to recognize Frederic H. Spalding for what he did for the university and the city of Tampa.
“We think it’s an appropriate honor,” said Eric Cardenas, UT’s Director of Public Information. “It’s a way of recognizing him. This is a street that goes through the heart of campus.”
In a statement in a UT newsletter, UT President Ronald Vaughn said, “Spaulding started this institution from nothing, during one of the worst economic periods of this country’s history. I believe he’d be impressed at what The University of Tampa has become.”
UT honors former presidents of the university who have made a significant difference over the years, as well as friends of the university who have donated or been great ambassadors for UT by renaming facilities on the campus.
The street renaming was in the works for a year and a half, said Schezy Barbas, Director of the Office of Development and University Relations. Spaulding’s son, Frederick W. Spaulding, had presented a map of a street that was originally named after Spaulding before UT was even 100 square feet. The street renaming may help some students understand more of UT’s history.
“I don’t know if there is a large impact in this renaming, but there is a lasting one,” said Frederick W. Spaulding. “Students are living in the midst of history.”
Spaulding said his father was passionate about serving young men and women interested in learning and becoming valuable assets to their communities. Spaulding felt that was one of the functions of a university.
“I hope this impacts students,” said Ashleigh Stockinger, a sophomore sports management major. “You want them to be curious who he was, what he did, and how he helped us.”
Ariel Hernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org