About the Series

Photo H. Manning Efferson Standing Courtesy State Archives of Florida

Photo H. Manning Efferson Standing
Courtesy State Archives of Florida

Born in 1897, H. Manning Efferson served 23 years with the college before accepting the position as acting president. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Atlanta University and a Master’s degree from Columbia University. He served as Head of the Department of Mathematics, Dean of Division of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Director of Summer School, Director of Extension Services, and at the time of his appointment Administrative Assistant. During the search for a permanent president he was asked if he was interested in becoming president. He communicated that he was not interested.


  • When Efferson assumed the role as acting president the FAMC Community was fractured and fragile. His primary focus as he saw it was to ensure that the administration, faculty and students maintain their loyalty to the college and work for the “constant growth and development of the college.”
  • Neyland provides the following concerning an open letter to the public given early on by Efferson:

    In an open letter to the public, Efferson called upon all citizens to “avoid spending our time cataloging the faults, failures and shortcomings of the past.” Rather, he maintained that efforts should be made to give “sane, intelligent, unbiased, constructive attention’ to those things that would” give us a clearer sense of direction from our present position, renew our hope and strengthen our faith.” He concluded this touching appeal for unity and cooperation by saying: “We must help Famcee continue to believe in and seek after the truth; uphold honesty and integrity and promote the development of finer, more useful, loyal citizens.”

  • Numerous individuals in the FAMC Community, among them faculty and students, presented letters of support to Efferson. Further into his administration he was approached by a “sizable” contingent of Board members, alumni, and faculty inquiring if he would consider the position permanently. He made his position known that that though it was his desire to continue to serve the college it was not his intent to become permanent in the president’s role.
  • For the nine months that he was in charge, Efferson was able to maintain the college without conflict or controversy.
  • Efferson was faced with starting the 1949-50 school year with a shortage of teachers. In the conflict some had resigned and recruitment was difficult because of the state of the college. Efferson was able nonetheless to secure 23 new teachers.
  • Due to the enrollment of 415 veterans under the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, the school year began with an all-time enrollment high of 1,811 students.
  • Though Efferson did not initiate building improvements he oversaw renovation of the Home Economics Building, redecoration of Lee Hall, completion of a new laundry, roads paved around Sampson Hall, and laying of the cornerstone of the new hospital. Most significant, the Board of Control authorized the establishment of Schools of Mechanical Engineering, Graduate Agriculture, Pharmacy, and Law.
  • While Efferson effectively stabilized the FAMC Community, the Board of Control was sorting the many applications to distinguish FAMC’s next leader. They found their leader in George W. Gore Jr, the author of the now famous Rattler chant, “Strike, Strike, and Strike Again.”

NEXT: George W. Gore [1950-1968]


  1. Neyland, L. W. & Riley, J. W. (1963). the history of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, University of Florida Press, Gainesville.

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