On Aug. 2, 1933, Tampa Junior College was transformed into The University of Tampa when its headquarters moved from the local high school to what is now known as Plant Hall. Leading the new institution was Frederic H. Spaulding, the former principal of Hillsborough High School and the man who had been the motivating force behind establishing the first local university for Tampa’s high school graduates.
Built between 1888 and 1891, the hotel was designed to surpass all other grand winter resorts. At a cost of $3 million, the 511-room giant rose to a flamboyant height of five stories, surrounded by ornate Victorian gingerbread and topped by Moorish minarets, domes and cupolas.
The rooms that once hosted Teddy Roosevelt, the Queen of England, Booker T. Washington, Stephen Crane and Babe Ruth (who signed his first baseball contract in the hotel’s grand dining room) are now classrooms, laboratories and administrative offices–the heart of The University of Tampa and a landscape for state-of-the-art student learning environments. Today, The University of Tampa serves more than 8,913 undergraduate and graduate students, and Plant Hall remains the foundation of a 110-acre, 60-building campus that successfully blends the historic with the modern.
Known for academic excellence, personal attention and real-world experience in its undergraduate and graduate programs, University of Tampa students come from 50 states and 132 countries. There are more than 200 programs of study, including 16 master's degree programs and numerous study abroad opportunities. From its humble beginnings in Plant Hall, UT boasts a $300 million annual revenue and a $1 billion estimated annual economic impact.