History of the UF Division of Student Affairs - Page 51

51 Counseling and Wellness Center E a r ly H i s t o r y The UF Counseling and Wellness Center (CWC) is one of the oldest counseling centers in the country, established in 1931. According to the recollection of emeritus professor of psychology Dr. Richard Anderson written on the occasion of the counseling center’s 50th anniversary, the beginning came about quite fortuitously: Dr. Elmer D. Hinckley, the newly appointed 27-year-old head of the Psychology Department, was invited to give a talk to a fraternity group and chose to expound on the ways in which the insights of psychology could benefit university students. By good fortune, a state senator heard the talk, was impressed by Dr. H inckley’s thesis, and persuaded his colleagues in the 1931 Legislature to enact a bill creating the Bureau of Vocational Guidance and Mental Hygiene at the University of Florida. The project was launched with much good will, a bit of shared space in 110 Peabody Hall, and no funds. In fact, the Bureau started in the fall of 1931 as an overload on the schedule of two genial members of the Psychology Department, and for almost 20 years it remained a part-time assignment of selected faculty in the Department. In spite of these meager beginnings, the Annual Report for 1931-32 documents a remarkably productive first year…The Bureau offered the student body of 3,000 assistance with choice of vocation and counseling for emotional problems… (Anderson, 1982). The Bureau of Vocational Guidance and Mental Hygiene’s location moved in conjunction with Psychology Department offices from Peabody Hall to the Administration Building (now Tigert Hall) and later to Building E (a temporary post-war military building). To address the high student attrition rate common at the time, in 1935 UF formed a General College for first and second year students with an increased emphasis on student counseling to help alleviate the adjustment problems confronting students. The General College was re-named Department histor ies : coun seli n g an d welln ess center