Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach Campus, 1974

Florida came up in conversation yesterday, and I mentioned that I went to school there for one semester in 1974, at the Jensen Beach campus of the Florida Institute of Technology. I left quickly because I decided I wanted to study photography, not Oceanographic Technology, and I was in a hurry to start my new life. Parts of the area however, were mysterious and magical, and I hoped to find pictures that captured that.

I scanned these from my photo album. I didn’t have any pictures of the area alas, but a lot of the people I went to school with. I’m embarrassed to admit that I don’t remember any of their names, except for my roommate, Elisa Caridi. (And I apologize about not remembering names, it’s nothing personal, I have a very poor memory.) But I’m putting them up here in case any of these people googles “Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach Campus,” as I did, and then they will see pictures of themselves from 1974! There’s a shot of me at the end, which I think I may have posted before.

UPDATE: I’ve gotten names for some of the people below from FIT alum William Davis and others, and I’ve captioned the pictures with their names. If anyone can identify any of the people who are still listed as unknown, let me know and I will update this page with their names.

Names updated 3/2/21.

Row 1: Mike Edsell on the left, Mike Edsell and John Kipp on the right.
Row 2: On the left, Chet King, (don’t know who is next to him), and Mike Kneeland on the right.

Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach Campus, 1974

Row 1: No guesses.
Row 2: On the left unknown, Bill Atwill, English teacher and crew coach, on the right.

Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach Campus, 1974

Row 1: That’s me on the right, with my roommate Elisa Caridi.
Row 2: Doug Koontz.
Row 3: Unknown.

Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach Campus, 1974

And yes, except for a token shot or two my of roommate, all the pictures are of guys. Come on, I was 18!!

Row 1: I can’t remember his name (this is not personal, I just have memory issues), but I remember he was very nice and would give me rides on his motorcycle, which I loved more than anything. I still remember those rides, the scenery was amazing.
Row 2: Unknown.
Row 3: Unknown.

Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach Campus, 1974

Row 1: Elisa Caridi on the left, Denny something? on the right.
Row 2: Unknown.

Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach Campus, 1974

Row 1: Mike Kneeland, on the right Don Cuozzo.
Row 2: On the left unknown, but I remember he was another really nice guy, on the right Doug Koontz.

Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach Campus, 1974

Row 1: These guys in both shots are unknown.
Row 2: Walter LaFluer.

Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach Campus, 1974

Okay, this one, where I was trying to get “action” shots of Elisa dancing, shows something of the beauty of the area.

Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach Campus, 1974

I’m pretty sure I didn’t take this picture. The guys in the picture gave it to me, and the guy on the right is Denny Something?

Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach Campus, 1974

And this is the picture I believe I’ve posted before. These were taken for a local newspaper article about the crew team. I was the coxswain. For the record, I was a lousy coxswain. I apologize crew team of 1974!

Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach Campus, 1974

This is Ken Henke.

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

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21 thoughts on “Florida Institute of Technology, Jensen Beach Campus, 1974

  1. 1973 was my freshman year of college.

    And an earmworm for you:

    Gimme head with hair
    Long beautiful hair
    Shining, gleaming,
    Streaming, flaxen, waxen

    Give me down to there hair
    Shoulder length or longer
    Here baby, there mama
    Everywhere daddy daddy

    Hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair, hair
    Flow it, show it
    Long as God can grow it
    My hair

  2. I went there for photography from Jan 84 to dec 85. It was a magical place until the announced it was closing a few weeks before I left. Great to see the old dorms. I have a few shots on my blog. Mikemeyerphotopro.wordpress.com

    Thanks for the memories Mike

  3. The guy in the yellowish and white striped shirt? Hi Don! You picked me up from the airport when I arrived for the first time. How are you? What are you up to?

    Can you identify anyone in the other pictures?

  4. The guy with the long black hair, purple shirt and plaid pants, laying down with his head against the wall is Walter LaFluer. He was a great soccer player and a great friend. I was there in 1974 and 1975 and I remember many of the other people in the pictures. Thank you for posting this.

  5. Thank you! I’m going to add the names of the people above their photographs. I was there in 1974, but I only stayed for one quarter.

  6. Jim Roberts is interested in reconnecting with people that had been in the FIT Jensen Beach Campus 1985 and 1986

  7. HA! I did find it by accident… I went ’72-’74 so we probably knew each other by sight… Charlie Valance used to refer to me as “The Mad Bomber”… Underwater Demolition went to my head I guess…

    And I recognize some folks but name…
    First 4 pics
    Row 2: On the left, Chet King, (AKA Squirrel, live in room below me) possibly (don’t know who is next to him), no guesses for the guy on the right. Hawaiian shirt is Mike Kneeland! Taught me how to surf… green/white van.

    Row 3 unknown is Bob Keith

    Another one of Mike Kneeland… I have a yearbook and could look some up.

  8. Thanks so much! I updated the names, except I wasn’t sure which row 3 is Bob Keith. I’d love to see the yearbook. What year is it from?

  9. Yearbook is from ’74… I went 2 years and ran off with an A.S. in Marine Science. Guy with Squirrel is Tom Kulp…

  10. I attended F.I.T. sometime in the early 80’s. Commercial diving. Head instructor was an ex navy seal. One of the assistant instructors (Drew somebody) was a former student also. He was teaching a underwater video class. We were wearing hard hats and weighted gear videoing hulls of boats on the Indian river. Air was surface supplied. But not from a compressor. From a bank of scuba tanks connected to regulators to lower psi and then hosed to diver. I was in the river when I got 4 tugs on my umbilical. An emergency sign. Proceeded back to dock, climbed out of the water and all of a sudden I had no air!! It seems the rigged air supply had failed. Students were trying to release helmet from neck dam with no success. I still had no air. I remembered you could take the entire assembly off in one piece and that’s what I did. Finally gulping in sweet oxygen. Drew sauntered over and asked “Diver OK?”. I should have kicked his ass

  11. Thanks Stacey for posting these photos of FIT Jensen Beach. Very little can be found on the internet regarding this special place. I attended FIT-JB from 1978-1980 after getting information about this campus from an ad in Skin Diver Magazine. I was in the Oceanography Tech program. Being from Ft. Lauderdale, I had the luxury of going home to Ft. Lauderdale on any given weekend, or visiting friends who lived on the beach in Daytona Beach. At the time, there wasn’t much going on in JB for young students except school and the beach. I was heavy into scuba diving and surfing at the time. I used to get up before dawn during the Fall & Winter months and drive to Stuart Beach to check out the waves, then tell my friends what was going on between and during classes. I would get out of class mid-afternoon and hit the beach, surfing till dark. Used to dive for lobsters on Peck Lake Reef using my friends inflatable boat. Here are some of my memories of FIT-JB: The Student Center was built on top of an authentic paleo-Indian mound. There were several “artesian wells” around the wooded area of the campus, trickling fresh water up from the ground. The center pond across from the library had a resident alligator, making retrieval of a lost frisbee sketchy. The dorm buildings across the street were in pretty bad shape. During the hot summer months, the A/C could not keep up with needed cooling. The cafeteria food was dismal most of the time, making the occasional weekend trip home something to look forward to. I can remember on two occasions a medical-helicopter landing on campus to place a commercial diver with decompression sickness into the campus dive chamber. Bluegrass music band playing near the steep grassy slope at the student center on weekends. The concrete bunker known as the rathskeller on Friday & Saturday nights. Loud music and lots of smoke! My parents coming to visit and taking me out to dinner at the polynesian-style restaurant “The Outrigger”, owner by Frances Langford and Ralph Evinrude. Bonfires on the desolate beach on Hutchinson Island, before the condo invasion of the 80’s & 90’s. In May & June, going to the beach at night to watch sea turtles come up the beach to lay eggs. I could go on….lots of great memories for me over a short period of time. So glad I got to experience this campus and the area during this time. Today, the property is a county park and the Student Center building has been fully restored and used for weddings and special events. I think the only other original building still standing is the Chapel. The pier and boat dock out to the deeper water of the Indian River has been completely redone and looks great. The dorm buildings were torn down years ago after severe damage from Hurricane David in 1979 and students were housed in nearby motels & efficiencies after the storm. Today, there are several assisted-living buildings here. The old soccer field is over-grown and the remains of the old lighted wooden scoreboard are laying on the ground. The occasional gopher tortoise can still be found in the sandy and weed-infested field.

  12. WOW!! Thank you Jeff for all that information, and the update about the area. I remember classes being poorly attended when the waves were great for surfing.

  13. Google “Indian RiverSide Park, Jensen Beach” and you can see what the campus grounds look like today. For many years after the campus was abandoned and students were sent to FIT Melbourne campus, the property was surrounded by a chain-link fence and debris, weeds and broken glass were strewn about. Kids got through the fence and painted graffiti on the buildings. It didn’t really matter because the roofs were leaking (collapsing) and the windows were all broken. Some buildings had trees growing out of the large holes in the roofs. The whole property was slowly returning back to nature. Finally, Martin County purchased the property and made many improvements after demolishing most of the old buildings. Today it is a beautiful county park and the student center was completely renovated. It is now called the “Mansion at Tuckahoe” and now used for weddings and special events. Take a look at the incredible images of the park today and the mansion……so glad they saved the student center as that was the central icon of the FIT campus. Such a prime piece of real estate that as students we never fully appreciated, I know I took it for granted while there.

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