Some may not know that Florida Southern College has very unique connections with a lot of the names of the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. One building in particular would be the Benjamin Fine building, which is next to the Roux Library and the Water dome.
Fine was an editor for the New York Times from 1941 until 1958. However, according to Cathy Jones, instructional services librarian, he was great for more than just that.
Jones explained that Fine visited the school in March of 1949 for Founders Week. During this time on March 11, 1949 Fine was awarded a “citation for distinguished service in advancing education in the United States by FSC President Dr. Ludd M. Spivey.”
“Spivey’s instincts were excellent,” Director of Roux Library Randall MacDonald said.
MacDonald explains that during this time period FSC was already an international school filled with international students and professors.
In 1957, Fine had the unfortunate opportunity of writing first-hand reports of the harassment and threats toward the nine students of Little Rock Central High School during the desegregation. Fine was threatened to be arrested by the National Guard. This heroic act intensified the meaning behind the Benjamin Fine building.
Although, the Benjamin Fine structure still stands today, it has been altered over the years.
The building used to be the Registrar’s office when it was first built. Also, the building was expanded upstairs. In addition, within the last two years the entire floor of the building was replaced.
According to MacDonald, new cement was poured.
More about this building can be found in the book “The buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright at Florida Southern College,” by Randall M. MacDonald, Nora E. Galbraith and James G. Rogers Jr.