History of the Floyd M. Riddick Model United States Senate
In 1970, Stetson University student John Fraser formed the Model United States Senate with the help of Political Science professor Dr. T. Wayne Bailey. With the financial assistance of Stetson President John E. Johns, the Model U.S. Senate was established.
Over the years, Stetson University’s Model U.S. Senate has hosted several speakers beginning with Republican Senate leader Howard Baker of Tennessee at the first event in 1970. After attending the event, Senator Baker realized the amount of potential that this newly founded program had and suggested that Dr. Bailey contact U.S. Senate Parliamentarian Dr. Floyd M. Riddick to help further develop the program. Riddick served as a parliamentarian for the United States Senate from 1964-1974 and developed the Riddick’s Rules for parliamentary procedure. Using Riddick’s Rules of Procedure Floyd M. Riddick advised the students on how to address each other as senators. Not only did Riddick teach the students proper rules and procedures, but he also urged United States Senators to be guest speakers at the event. Following Riddick’s retirement from the United States Senate, Stetson University officially named the program the Floyd M. Riddick Model United States Senate.
Since the founding of the program, the Floyd M. Riddick Model U.S. Senate has hosted a multitude of guest speakers. Past Model U.S. Senate programs have included visits from U.S. Senators Max Cleland, Albert Gore, Robert Byrd, Lawton Chiles, Nancy Kassebaum, Howard Baker, William Bradley, Joseph Biden, Paul Sarbanes, Thad Cochran, Bill Nelson, Bob Graham and U.S. Representatives John L. Mica and E. Clay Shaw.
Several Stetson University professors have also helped in the founding of the program including Dr. T. Wayne Bailey, Dr. Gary L. Maris, Dr. Anne M. Hallum, and Dr. David L. Hill. In the past few years, the program has also been fortunate enough to have a former writer from Congressional Quarterly and Stetson University alumnus Betsy Palmer as our parliamentarian. The parliamentarian advises the presiding officer and students participants on a variety of issues relating to the rules and procedure of the United States Senate.
Each year, the F. M. R. Model Senate attracts students from across the nation to portray the role of a sitting United States Senator. Students from Bellarmine University, Bridgewater State College, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida Southern College, Goucher College, Santa Fe State College, the University of North Florida, the University of Florida, the University of Louisville, the University of Alabama, and Valdosta State University have participated in the three-day event.
Since the event’s founding in 1970, the F. M. R. Model United States Senate has served as a learning tool for several to help college-aged students understand the interworking’s of the U.S. Senate in a way that would not be possible in the typical classroom environment. As the nation’s oldest college-level Model United States Senate program, the F.M.R. Model U.S. Senate has been nationally recognized for its excellence in civic education. Stetson University’s F.M.R. Model United States Senate strives to continue to educate students from across the country through this inspirational program.