The 700-seat Robinson Theater, adjacent to the Fine Arts Center, features a unique design that can be adapted to seat 400 for smaller events. Renovated in 2007, it is the perfect mid-size venue for performances, lectures or presentations. Equipped with a 35mm film projector, the theater has been home to the Movies on the House film series since January 2011.
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Dr. Andrew Adolphus Robinson, Jr. was a Jacksonville native and one of Florida’s most beloved and respected educators. His influential career spanned four decades. A graduate of Florida A&M University, Dr. Robinson earned his master’s and doctor of education degrees from Columbia University. Initially, Dr. Robinson taught science in a local junior high school, but rose through the educational ranks to render distinguished service to education throughout the state and nation.
He was the first principal of William Raines Senior High School, and as a Duval school administrator, developed the in-service training program for faculty desegregation which is credited with the smooth operation of county schools during the turbulent period of school desegregation in the late 1960s.
In 1970, Dr. Robinson joined the University of North Florida planning staff as assistant dean of faculties and associate professor of education. He rose steadily through the institutional ranks, serving as assistant dean, then dean, of the College of Education and Human Services. In 1980, he was appointed by the Florida Board of Regents as interim president of the University, a position he held two years.
In 1982, he was appointed by the Board of Regents as director of the Florida Institute of Education and consented to resume duties as dean of the College of Education and Human Services. It was in this latter capacity that he led his faculty and staff through the arduous accreditation process which resulted in the full accreditation of teacher education programs by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Colleges.
Two legacies memorialize Dr. Robinson at UNF. The University’s first fully funded $1 million Eminent Scholar Chair in Educational Policy and Economic Development was named in his honor by Frederick Schultz. Also, the 1987 Florida Legislature authorized the UNF student center to be named the Andrew A. Robinson, Jr. Student Life Center.
A distinguished civic and community leader, Dr. Robinson served on numerous boards and commissions, notably the Jacksonville Transportation Authority, the Jacksonville Housing Authority, the Jacksonville Community Relations Commission, and as 1987 chairman of the Jacksonville Branch, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
The Andrew A. Robinson, Jr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund was created in Dr. Robinson’s memory in 1988.
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