Florida Military Academy alumnus raised the flag over Stetson law school’s iconic tower
“The flag flew over the tower when I was here,” Oliver “Buzz” Baudoin remarked as he leafed through yearbooks and photographs from the Florida Military Academy on display in Stetson law school’s Dolly & Homer Hand Law Library archives on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon. “It was my job to take that flag up and down.”
Baudoin, who graduated from the Florida Military Academy in 1947 and later served in the military, found his photograph in the FMA yearbook, a handsome young dark-haired cadet. He pointed to a photograph of Babe Ruth from 1938, who came to visit Florida Military Academy.
The FMA was located at the Stetson law school campus from 1932-1952. Before FMA took over the property, it was home to the Rolyat Hotel, a sweeping, elegant Mediterranean compound that hosted celebrity guests like Babe Ruth. According to a St. Petersburg Times article, FMA alumni include the sons of Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Hugo and Sterling Black; son of playwright Eugene O’Neill, Shane O’Neill; and All-Star third baseman Al Rosen.
“I remember running laps around the bullring,” Baudoin said, pointing to the tiled round fountain in the Plaza Mayor courtyard.
The Great Hall, today used to host large lectures, dinners and special events at Stetson law school, was once the mess hall where cadets dined during the FMA years. It was Baudoin’s job to make sure anyone who broke an expensive plate in the mess hall had to pay for it.
A 1946 FMA graduate, Lawrence Barrett, created an exhibit of memorabilia in the Great Hall on the Stetson law school campus, which included photographs, newspaper clippings and uniforms, and a chapel bench.
Today’s Florida Military Academy Collection is a museum-quality exhibit of donations on the third floor and a special archive room housed in the Dolly & Homer Hand Law Library. Stetson archive coordinator Kristen Fiato provided the exhibit and archive room tour.
Post date: Jan. 26, 2017
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