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“No down payment – no interest – first payment due in ten years.” No, this is not a sales advertisement; it was the terms and conditions for acquiring the first facility to house Trinity College of Florida. The building at the Temple Terrace, Florida campus was actually a beautiful but vacant hotel. In 1932, Dr. W. T. Watson while visiting with a friend came across an empty resort facility. Dr. Watson commented to his friend, “Wouldn’t that make a good Bible School?” Two weeks later, a telegram arrived for Dr. Watson informing him that the owner of the Temple Terrace Resort would be in town should Dr. Watson like to meet him. The owner was a real estate mogul from New York City and made the terms and conditions of acquiring his property very clear: “No down payment – no interest – first payment due in ten years.”
This unique series of events set in motion the founding of Trinity College of Florida. Dr. W.T. Watson was a man of conviction who saw a need. In his travels and ministry, Dr. Watson believed young men and women needed a strong understanding of the Christian faith, knowledge of the Bible, and the practical skills necessary to serve humanity. His belief in that need led to his determination to establish an academic institution in Florida to train and equip young men and women to impact the world for Jesus Christ.
For over seventy-five years, Trinity College of Florida has been known for the very best in Christian higher education and ministry preparation. The College’s on-going mission has been to equip men and women for Christian service to the church and all humanity through effective Biblical, Professional and General Education leading to associate and baccalaureate degrees. The College is committed to provide students with classroom training, opportunities for ministry, career advancement, and personal support from faculty and staff to develop in students personal values rooted in a Christ-centered worldview.
Although the Rev. Dr. Billy Graham (1940) is the College’s most famous graduate, he is but one of the many who after receiving their education at Trinity have gone to serve worldwide in ministry, industry, and public service. Originally focusing on training pastors and missionaries, the College has expanded its course offerings over the years to meet new demands.
An important characteristic of the College has always been its distinctly evangelical but interdenominational nature. At Trinity, students from a wide variety of Christian backgrounds have the opportunity to study in an atmosphere of tolerance and acceptance. Trinity College of Florida believes this type of education best serves students as they prepare to serve in a world where denominational distinctions among evangelicals are becoming less salient.
Students at Trinity College of Florida enjoy a variety of social experiences designed to build enduring personal friendships. Whether enjoying the pristine natural preserves that pepper the campus or traveling to the beautiful Gulf Coast, the natural beauty of the surrounding area enhances the College’s learning community. The Trinity College of Florida Tigers compete in NCCAA Division II Athletics through the academic year, providing student athletes the opportunity to participate in a growing athletic program.
Trinity College of Florida’s educational quality (4- and 6- year graduation rate, student-to-faculty ratio, percentage of faculty holding a Ph.D.) and academic criteria for first-time freshmen (standardized test scores, high-school rank, grade-point average) along with its cost of attendance, earned Consumer Digest Magazine’s “Best Buy” designation for value in private college and universities in the United States.
Trinity College of Florida’s national distinction is reinforced by its student body. Students at Trinity consistently score above the national average on the national Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) test in the areas of writing, reading, and critical thinking. Students at Trinity consistently indicate their satisfaction with the quality and depth of instruction offered by the faculty. The overwhelming majority of students consider Trinity’s faculty as friendly, approachable, and competent.
From its early years, Trinity College of Florida has provided quality education in a Christ-centered learning environment. This commitment has led the College to seek exceptional standards regarding the facilities used to house and educate its students. The addition of a new residence hall, student life center, and chapel and performing arts complex are on the horizon. These components will strengthen the College’s infrastructure and enhance the delivery of services to the student body and community. Trinity College of Florida knows God is in the business of meeting personal and professional needs to accomplish His Will and glorify His Name. He often meets needs by the miraculous and by impressing a call to action on the hearts of those who are sensitive to the gentle hand of God.
The mission of Trinity College of Florida continues today because the need for quality Christian higher education has not disappeared. In times of economic confusion, moral relativity, personal dis-integrity, and social insecurity, Trinity College of Florida remains an institution committed to Biblical Truth and academic excellence. Those who align with Trinity College of Florida recognize the need to promote and expand a Christ-centered intellectual worldview. They firmly understand a coherent, capable, and consistent student, established in Biblical Truth and academic discipline, is a formidable ambassador to a culture in decline. Their testimony becomes our collective lasting legacy in faithful execution of God’s mission.