Timeline: Highlights of the 132-year history of Florida School for the Deaf and Blind

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1882: Thomas Hines Coleman graduates as a deaf student from Gallaudet University and urges Florida Governor W.D. Bloxham to help establish a deaf and blind school in Florida.

1883: Governor Bloxham convinces the 1883 legislature to set aside $20,000 toward this goal.

1883: The state requests bids from interested towns for the location. A Florida Times Union article reports St. Augustine Mayor Long urges the city to make a bid.

1883: The Legislature accepts St. Augustine’s bid of $1000 cash. Captain Edward E. Vaill donates five acres.

1884: The chosen site between San Marco Avenue and the Intracoastal Waterway was described as a “very desirable one that commands a magnificent view.” Contractor William A. MacDuff completes the construction of the three original buildings for about $12,000.

1885: The school opens as the Institute for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb (mute).

1898: The first two graduates are deaf students Artemas W. Pope of St. Augustine, and Cora Carlton.

1908: DeWitt Lightsey is the first blind student to graduate.

1909: The legislature changes the name to Florida School for the Deaf and the Blind, as it is today.

1914: Louise Jones becomes the first black blind graduate.

1921: On Feb. 24, 39th president-elect Warren G. Harding gives an address in the 400-seat auditorium. It was later replaced by the Claude Kirk Auditorium with a seating capacity of 996.

1955: The state legislature approves a $300,000 expansion of 36 acres added to the east side.

1956: Under the direction of FSDB President John Wallace, a huge dredging operation by the Merritt Dredging Co. of Charleston, SC begins. Seven new buildings and a football-track field are built. This project allows for separating the deaf and blind facilities.

1961: Three one-story wings were added to the infirmary at a cost of $380,000. The infirmary is staffed 24-hours a day by nurses.

1965: The gradual desegregation begins with integrated classes but students continue to live in segregated dorms.

1968: Full integration of all facilities at the school is complete.

1985: 100th anniversary. Centennial Week features a banquet for local dignitaries, alumni, state legislatures and officials, friends and supporters.

1999: Alumni Hall is renovated to make room for a museum.

2000: Museum of alumni history opens. Still a work in progress, plans are to make it more accessible to the blind and improve archive preservation.

2012: The 17th president of the school, Dr. Jeanne G. Prickett becomes the first female president in the school’s 129-year history.

2013: The football program (the Dragons) marks 100 years and they win the Deaf National Championship.

2014: School enrollment reaches 1,000 students. The Parent Infant Programs serve about 400 infants and toddlers. On campus, 600 students range in age from Montessori-based pre-K to the Continuing Education Department for young adult students.