I Went Back to My Old School
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one.
By Randall Grantham
While I have characterized myself as a "Silverback" as it relates to my age and experience as a
criminal defense lawyer, in terms of collegiate affiliations, I am a Bull Gator.
Not entirely (or even remotely) in the sense that University of Florida alumni boosters might
think. In their terms, a Bull Gator is a UF alum that is wealthy enough and true enough to his
school to give the alma mater thousands and thousands of dollars in donations and contributions.
Yes, I attended and graduated from the University of Florida Law School and am an avid Gator
fan. But no, I do not have the financial wherewithal to be categorized as a "Bull" gator. But I am,
legitimately, a Gator.
But, before going to Gainesville, I first attended and graduated from the USF College of
Business with an Accounting degree. Thus, I am a "Bull".
Ergo, Bull Gator. But, I digress.
I have been back to the University of Florida campus several times since my graduation in 1980, but the last time I can recall going back on USF grounds was for a concert when the first
SunDome was brand new. And we just did a surgical strike, in and out of the concert forum with
the casual (and possibly impaired) eye of one who was having too much fun. (I don't recall.)
The changes at UF, being the older school, were not that substantial, as I recall, and I kind of
kept up with them. On the other hand, USF, being a much more recent addition to the state
university system and sitting within 5 miles of my house, has only been seen by me from the
highways that flank it as I whiz by on my way to this hearing or that appointment. That all changed Friday night.
I attended a presentation on economic crime and shady accounting at the NEW "MUMA College of Business" at USF. While I had signed up for the gig to be held at the old College of Business, I read in the paper that morning that the college was being renamed in honor of the Muma's who had graciously donated $25 million dollars (this time) to the college.
This weekend was also Homecoming. But, thinking this was just the date of the announcement, I was somewhat surprised to see new signage, brochures and t-shirts already emblazoned with the new name. Apparently $25 million gifts are well- orchestrated.
But beyond the changes that this donation may bring, I was totally blown away by the changes to the USF campus. When I graduated a mere 37 years ago, there was no on-campus housing. We were a "commuter" college, it was said.
This time, as I drove through the grounds in, then, around and out of the Homecoming
festivities, I got lost among the new roads and buildings and found myself reliving nightmares of running randomly, and nakedly, from building to building trying to get to a class that I hadn't
attended to take a test that I hadn't studied for.
At least I wasn't naked in this version.
But beyond the physical changes to the campus and the buildings, I saw the changes to the face of the students. While there were a few stereotypical white nerds and some studious-looking persons of Indian descent, the vast majority of students in and around that portion of the campus were "blends", products of the melting pot that this country has always been and is becoming more and more true to.
Some people find that offensive. Or un-American. Or just plain scary. But get used to it. There
is no preferred race or class in this country and there shouldn't be. Pretty soon there will be no
race at all.
The face of students at colleges is changing and it reflects the future of the face of this country.
I find it to be refreshing and positive. I also believe it to be inevitable, so, I as I said, get used to it.
(Randall C. Grantham is a fifth generation Floridian and lifelong resident
who practices law from his offices on Dale Mabry Highway in Lutz . He can
be reached at LutzLaw@aol.com. Copyright 2014 RCG)