The Hamilton Holt School at Rollins College
About The Hamilton Holt School
The demand for adult continuing education in our nation and the Central Florida community continues to increase. Aging baby boomers, single parents, young professionals, bachelor’s and master’s degree seekers, and adults who want to enhance their lives find their purpose at Rollins’ Hamilton Holt School of Professional Advancement and Graduate Studies.
The Hamilton Holt School features a wide range of classes in the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs offered during weekday evening hours and weekends, with small classes, dedicated faculty, and diverse students of all backgrounds. Hamilton Holt School undergraduates range in age from 17 to 75, and approximately 1,000 students enroll each year. Most students work part or full time and have family responsibilities, and many receive scholarship support and other financial assistance thanks to generous supporters.
A great number of students continue to live, work, and raise their families in Central Florida. Many of the Hamilton Holt School’s more than 12,000 alumni have earned undergraduate and advanced degrees and gained prominence in their careers. Their Rollins education continues to make a positive difference in their lives, empowering them to more effectively serve their communities as responsible leaders and global citizens.
“We are proud of the impact we have made in developing our future leaders through global citizenship and responsible leadership. We look forward to continuing to serve our community through our exceptional undergraduate and graduate programs.”
Serving working adult learners in Central Florida for more than 60 years
Officially founded in 1960, the Rollins evening studies division has roots in the 1950s when a mathematics professor implemented adult education courses for returning World War II veterans. Back then, the School of Continuing Studies was characterized as “the College that cares,” and faculty vowed to provide responsive, individualized education while meeting a community need for higher education for adults.
Emeritus history professor Jack Lane recalls that about half of the students he taught in the 1960s were World War II veterans. Like today, the academic programs were offered in the evenings. Students obtained the bachelor of general studies degree with a concentration in humanities, social studies, business administration and economics, math and science, or teacher preparation.
In 1987, the School of Continuing Education was renamed the Hamilton Holt School in honor of Rollins’ renowned eighth president, Hamilton Holt, who served as president from 1925 to 1949.
“Because of the quality, character, and importance of its educational program, the trustees named the Hamilton Holt School to carry forward the College’s long-standing commitment to lifelong learning. Hamilton Holt is the towering figure in the history of the College, shaping its student-centered style of education and its reputation for academic excellence and educational innovation,” said President Emeritus Thaddeus Seymour, who was president of Rollins at the time of the renaming. “It was Hamilton Holt who established Rollins as an institution of national significance, and I am proud that his high standards and educational vision are carried on by the school that bears his name.”
Today, the Holt School has 12 majors leading to the bachelor of arts and seven master’s degree programs in everything from mental health counseling and public health to human resources and strategic communication.
A Selection of Historical Highlights
- 1960 The Institute of General Studies was founded with campuses in Winter Park and at Patrick Air Force Base to serve returning World War II veterans seeking continuing education classes.
- 1961 Rollins added a graduate program, the Master of Arts in Teaching, which became part of the evening studies division in the 1990s.
- 1965 The institute was renamed the Central Florida School for Continuing Studies.
- 1973 The school was renamed the School of Continuing Education (SCE), and students could obtain a bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, or bachelor of general studies degree.
- 1974 The SCE began offering a two-year associate of arts degree with concentrations in business administration, economics, humanities, math or science, criminal justice, and social studies.
- 1977 Rollins began to offer a Master of Arts in Guidance and Counseling, and by 1981, the focus turned toward mental health counseling. This program also became part of the evening studies division in the 1990s.
- 1980 Under the direction of former president Thaddeus Seymour, radical changes were made to SCE programs. These included strengthening academics and increasing the number of Rollins full-time faculty in the program, creating majors/minors, eliminating criminal justice from the curriculum, and creating a separate division for noncredit programs.
- 1982 The evening studies division was renamed the Division of Continuing Education.
- 1985 Undergraduate degree programs in organizational behavior and organizational communication were added to the curriculum.
- 1985 The School of Continuing Education celebrated its 25th anniversary.
- 1986 A board of advisors was created for the Division of Continuing Education.
- 1987 The School of Continuing Education was renamed the Hamilton Holt School after Rollins’ eighth president, Hamilton Holt. The Master of Liberal Studies program was introduced the same year.
- 1994 The Master of Human Resources degree was introduced.
- 2003 Rollins’ Brevard Campus merged with the Hamilton Holt School.
- 2007 Rollins Trustee Alan Ginsburg pledged $5 million to the Holt School for scholarship endowment and for promoting curriculum and faculty development.
- 2010 The Holt School celebrated 50 years of educating working adults in Central Florida.
- 2013 An undergraduate major in business (management concentration) was introduced.
- 2015 Several programs are added, including a bachelor’s degree in health-care management and the Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science.
- 2016 The Master of Public Health enrolls its first cohort.
- 2019 Pathways to Teaching, a new partnership with Orange County Public Schools, is introduced. The program provides paraprofessionals with a pathway to an elementary education undergraduate degree.
- 2019 The Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Science (ABACS) receives accreditation from the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI).
- 2020 The Hamilton Holt School celebrates 60 years of adult learning in Central Florida.
Stacey Tantleff Dunn, PhD
Doragnes Bradshaw, SHRM-SCP