al diaz

Football, Almighty From the beginning (1912), the game of football, and the University of Florida’s participation in it, commanded a Gator’s share of Florida Alligator space, time, and attention. A.A. Murphree was a fan, and it showed in how he used The Alligator more as a public relations tool, often authoring front page stories, usually lauding UF’s professorial talent, its Christian values, and its athletic prowess, especially its football program.

In addition to the cheers and jubilation in the photograph of coach Charlie Pell being carried out of The Swamp by his Gators, Alligator photographers Kevin Kolczynski (top left with cap), Bill Wax (bottom left with glasses), and  Tom Burton (bottom right, squeezed between the big smile and the Florida Highway Patrol corporal, are “working” the scene. Al Diaz was also working for The Alligator, and was the photographer, on this day, who got the shot.

September 24, 1912
Vol 1 No 1

Strive for higher levels in moral and Christian character, and do not surrender to low and insidious temptations.

Albert A. Murphree

University of Florida president in his opening speech to new students, as reported in the first edition of The Florida Alligator, September 24, 1912.

This year, the enrollment will doubtless reach four hundred, if not four hundred and fifty. This extraordinary increase is due to the “loyal” support of the old students, each of whom has been an agent for his alma mater and a propagandist of the standards and ideals of the University of  Florida.”

THE FLORIDA ALLIGATOR WROTE: To the students Murphree spoke words of welcome and of good counsel. He reminded them that while “The Institution” (UF) stood for “wholesome” athletics  and all forms of “decent” student activities, and would lend every encouragement to “proper” student enterprises.

Do not forget for one moment that you are here primarily for study: for the mastery of this curriculum.

He urged every student to join the Y.M.C.A., to observe the rule regarding church attendance on Sunday, and he impressed upon each individual man of the student body to yield himself to the more wholesome influences of the church and Christian organizations … to strive for higher levels in moral and Christian character, and do not surrender to low and insidious temptations.

october 31, 1980
vol 74 no 30

alligator file

THE HALLOWEEN BALL — When UF president A.A. Murphree counseled the 400 young, white men who entered the university in 1912, to got to church on sundays, join the Y.M.C.A., and “do not surrender to immoral and insidious temptation,” he couldn’t have imagined the students sixty years later who created the Halloween Ball. In 1970, unlike 1912, UF was co-ed, and women were equally responsible for what became an annual event, and the subject of Gainesville and the University of Florida’s most salacious and memorable lore.  STORY HERE.


florida history (1912-1983)
Much more than just another sleepy, little, North Florida town.
New Student Edition 1981
OPINION (Letters To The Editor)
CONVENIENCE (Is In The Eye of The Beholder)
Gainesville Green (“I’d like to fertilize her buds”)
TOM PETTY (Coming Home)
MUSIC (The Sound of Higher Education)
PREACHERS (On The Green)
Murphree’s Opening Message (alt.)
Naked Launch (Pretty As A Florida Picture)
Diamond Teeth Mary (Singing In The Devil’s Choir)
MOVIES (Pop Culture of The Day)