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Florida State University Media Relations Files

Identifier: MSS 2003-019

Scope and Contents

The Florida State University (FSU) Media Relations files contain press releases, photos, programs, brochures, newspapers, newsletters and letters documenting the activities of the Appleton Museum of Art, Asolo Theatre, the College of Business, the FSU Circus, Graduation, Homecoming, and the School of Theatre.

Appleton Museum of Art materials include articles about gifts to the Museum, the Florida Arts Recognition Award to the Appletons, funding for the Appleton Eminent Scholar's Chair, and the 1990 merger of the Appleton Museum of Art with Central Florida Community College and Florida State University.

The Asolo Theatre files includes articles, playbills, play reviews, and press releases. Topics include the dedication of the Asolo Center in 1990, gifts received, the Burt Reynolds Institute and Theater Project, and the Hoffman Eminent Scholar's Chair.

The College of Business files highlight its projects, programs, proposed courses, classes taught by closed-circuit television, grants, scholarships, lectures, conferences, seminars, workshops, lectures and services to the community, e.g. free help sessions in preparing tax returns.  Several of these activities include Credit Institute Courses for government employees, Review Seminars for CPA examinations, the Judicial Management Program, and the "Jobs for Older Americans" project.  The press releases publicize the successes and achievements of the Business students.  Interface, the newsletter of the College of Business and another newsletter, Feedback, are also featured. In these files, there is a gap in 1984.

The FSU Flying High Circus materials include programs, articles about the Circus, other Circus publications, and press releases documenting its history and activities. Subjects include the 25th anniversary of the Circus in 1972 and other anniversaries, stories about its performers, animal acts, highwire acts, circus ballets, and the history of the Flying High Circus.

The Graduation files include press releases about Florida State University's graduation ceremonies in daily and weekly newspapers, radio and television stations and the Capitol Press Corps.  Topics include the College of Law graduation, College of Nursing pinning ceremony, undergraduate and graduate ceremonies, the Joint Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC commissioning ceremony, the first graduation held in the Tallahassee-Leon County Civic Center in 1982, the presentation of the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor award, the highest faculty award given by FSU, and Virgil Conner, the oldest graduate at 92 to ever receive a doctorate from a major college.

The Homecoming files contain press releases, programs, brochures, flyers, post cards, newspapers, magazines, homecoming ticket information and order forms, lists of events, and parade lists.  Subjects include the pep rally, parade, alumni class reunions,  banquet, faculty concert, alumni breakfast, Grads Made Good  presentations, the Ross Oglesby Man of the Year Award with special coverage on these honorees, baseball games, alumni barbecues, festivals and entertainment after the Saturday football game, and the homecoming "Pow Wow." From 1983-84, there is a gap in the collection.

The School of Theatre files contain press releases, announcements, newspapers, brochures, playbills, programs, and several photographs. Individuals cited in these materials include Burt Reynolds, Robert Ulrich, Fay Dunaway, Joseph Papp, Helen Hayes, Lee Strasberg, and Susan Strasberg.  These papers also describe the Schubert Fellowship in playwriting which is awarded annually to a student, the Charles MacArthur national playwriting competition, top honors gained by students in theater festival competitions, grants received, the Florida State Fine Arts Festival, "Adventures in Theater", the School's new touring company, "The Countryside Theater", a unique program to bring live theater to rural communities, and plans to establish an American Theatre Library-Museum on campus in 1970, the first and only one of its concept in the country.


  • Created: 1969-1995


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to all researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

To request permission to quote, publish, broadcast or otherwise reproduce from the archives, please contact Heritage & University Archives, Florida State University Libraries, Tallahassee, Florida. Researchers must obtain separate permission from the copyright holders of material held within University Archives collections for which the institution does not hold copyright.

Biographical or Historical Information

The Florida State University (FSU) Media Relations Office is the official news, information and public affairs office of Florida State University.  Media Relations produces and distributes news about FSU to the campus community, the state, the nation and the world.  It is staffed by professional journalists and public relations experts who promote the university.


The Appleton Museum of Art in Ocala, Florida was originally built to display and preserve the collection of Arthur I. Appleton, retired president of Appleton Electric Company of Chicago, avid art collector, and owner of Bridlewood Farm, a Marion County (Florida) thoroughbred operation. Appleton, together with a group of community leaders, persuaded the City of Ocala to donate land for the museum. Arthur, his wife, Martha and his sister, Edith-Marie Appleton donated funds to build the museum structure

Considered one of the South's premier art repositories and education centers, the Appleton is the focal point of the Appleton Cultural Center, a 44-acre complex which also includes the Ocala Civic Theatre and the Pioneer Garden Club. The museum opened to the public in December 1987. Since July 1, 1990, the Appleton Museum of Art has been jointly owned by Florida State University and Central Florida Community College.


The Asolo Theatre was originally built in 1798 in the town of Asolo, Italy.  In 1930, the old wooden theater was taken down and its components were stored in Venice.  In 1949, the State of Florida purchased the 300-seat theater for the Ringling Museums, and in 1957, it was transferred to its own building on the Museum's grounds in Sarasota. The theatre was restored with its lamps, horseshoe plan, tiers of boxes, and gold decorations as it was in 18th century Italy.  Florida State University founded the Asolo Theater Company in 1960 in conjunction with the Ringling Museums.

Recognized nationally and internationally as one of the outstanding professional theater groups now playing, Asolo, the official State Theater Company of Florida, operates year-round on both entertainment and education levels.  Beginning in mid-February, the Company plays seven months of rotating repertory in the Ringling Museums' Asolo Theater in Sarasota, where it also conducts college and graduate level programs for the University System of Florida.  During the fall and early winter months, the Equity troupe tours Florida high schools with a unique theater-education program.  The Company also conducts a continually expanding Children's Theater program, and is one of the few groups in North America that alternates as many as ten shows in repertory each season including some Shakespeare, a Restoration piece, an American classic, contemporary works, and new plays.  This varied program attracts audiences, critics, and the finest of theatrical talent to the Company year after year.


The School of Business was established in 1950, three years after Florida State College for Women became Florida State University and began admitting men to accommodate the large number of World War II veterans seeking an education. In 1974, the school of Business became the College of Business. The school, then college, expanded rapidly during the administrations of former Deans Charles A. Rovetta and E. Ray Solomon, moving into new facilities, adding programs and increasing enrollment.

Among Rovetta's earliest priorities were accreditation of the School of Business, which he accomplished in 1962, and setting up the first health insurance program for faculty members at FSU. Under Rovetta's prodding, the 1955 Legislature appropriated $1 million to build a new home for the School of Business, which opened in 1958. The building, which underwent a $9 million expansion and renovation starting in 1982, today bears Rovetta's name. During Rovetta's 20-year tenure as dean, the school added master's and doctoral programs in business administration and set up an off-campus program at Cape Kennedy to train space scientists in management.

When Rovetta retired as dean in 1973, Solomon was named his successor. Solomon served as dean until June of 1991. During his tenure, Solomon established an alumni association and set up the college's first fund-raising program, created endowed chairs, raised salaries and increased research funding. Another highlight of his 17-year tenure as dean was the decision in 1982 to raise academic standards. Over a period of time, he increased the grade point average required for admission to the college to 2.6.  Solomon also established the Small Business Institute, offering the expertise of the college's faculty and students to small businesses.

Following his retirement, Melvin Stith, chairman of the marketing department, was promoted to dean. He will retire at the end of the Fall 2004 semester. Stith' accomplishments included a 12,000-square-foot technology center offering students access to the latest high-tech equipment, the opening of the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship, the Executive Management Program to train mid-level managers, and the Distinguished Speaker Series, which brings business leaders to campus to interact with students.


The Florida State University Flying High Circus is the country's only collegiate circus.  It was organized in 1947 by Jack Haskin.  The first circus show on campus  was held in 1948 with 45 performers in an old Army gymnasium. During the 1950s, circus performances were held outdoors at night, without a tent, in the campus football stadium.  The first performance under a tent came in 1960 when the circus rented a tent from Sarasota High School for the annual May campus homeshows. The following year, the Circus obtained its own three-ring tent with a seating capacity of 3,000. Since 1962, the circus has had hours of nation-wide television coverage by participating in the CBS "Sports Spectacular" series.  Under the direction of Ad Gilbert, the Circus spent four weeks touring major cities of Europe in the Spring of 1964.

The Flying High Circus is a self-supporting activity. No student activity fees, tuition payments, university or state funds go towards circus activities. Unlike many other athletic endeavors, the students receive no tuition waivers or university scholarships for their long hours of practice or the nationally famous shows that bring credit to FSU. The acts in the Flying High Circus have evolved from "circus activity" to "circus professionalism". Performances are often of so high a caliber that professional contracts are sometimes offered to student performers, especially on the flying trapeze.  Examples include the triple somersault on the flying trapeze (accomplished by two performers at FSU), the seven-man pyramid on the high wire (which has only been performed by two other groups), double back somersaults on the skypole and many more. Some acts are unique to the FSU Circus or are only done rarely elsewhere such as triple aerial high casting and the three-lane breakaway. Other acts are traditional circus classics. There are no animal acts in the Circus.


Homecoming is an alumni program.  Spanning a three-day period, it includes a pep rally, parade, alumni class reunions, a banquet, a free faculty concert, the Pow Wow, a student entertainment attraction, alumni breakfast, the ODK "Grads Made Good" presentations, awards presented by Garnet and Gold Key honoraries, a baseball game, the alumni barbecue, the naming of the Homecoming Seminole Chief and Process, and entertainment after the Saturday football game.  During the Homecoming parade, the Florida State Marching Chiefs lead the area high school bands, floats and campus organizations through the streets of downtown Tallahassee.  The University Homecoming Pow Wow, a large outdoor student entertainment attraction, is open to students, townspeople, alumni and their families.


The Florida State University School of Theatre is consistently recognized as one of the finest theatre programs in the nation.  Alumni of the School are working in theatre and other related fields throughout the United States and in many foreign countries. Its distinguished national reputation has been recognized in the gifts of two million-dollar Eminent Scholar Chairs.  The Burt Reynolds Chair for Professional and Regional Theatre serves to develop and enhance the School's professional programs throughout the State.  The Marion O. Hoffman Chair enables the School to bring to the campus internationally-respected theatre artists and teachers for short-term residences to work with students and to practice their creative art.

Three theatres --- the Mainstage, the Studio Theatre, and the Lab Theatre, a "black box" theatre --- enable students to participate in the widest possible range of productions.  Productions of masterpieces of dramatic literature and musical theatre regularly highlight the offerings of the School of Theatre in the three theatres.  The Mainstage Season consists of 4 major productions, while 10 shows annually are produced in the Studio Theatre or in the Lab. Internships are available through the School's ongoing cooperative relationship with professional theatres around the nation.  The School has a successful cooperative program with the School of Music and the Department of Dance at FSU.


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Method of Acquisition

The MSS 2003-019 accession of the FSU Media Relations Files was given to the Special Collections Department by the FSU Media Relations Office in 1999.

Processing Information

The MSS 2003-019 accession was processed in September 2003 by Delia Tam.

Florida State University Media Relations Files
Delia Tam and Emily Gaskin
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Repository Details

Part of the FSU Special Collections & Archives Repository

116 Honors Way
PO Box 3062047
Tallahassee FL 32306-2047 US