Before Dr. Frank McLaughlin came to UNF, like many of the original faculty, he was not sure what he would find. And, like many of the others who have remained for the past 25 years, he had no idea that UNF would become his academic home.
McLaughlin was hired as associate professor and chairperson of the Department of Management, Marketing and Business Law in 1971. Prior to coming to UNF, he was an associate professor of business administration at the University of Richmond. Other past positions included working as a chemical engineer for Owens-Illinois (now Jefferson Smurfit Corp.) in Jacksonville and serving in the Navy as a destroyer engineering officer.
When UNF opened its doors to students in 1972, there were only four buildings, two of which were used for classrooms. McLaughlin says he accepted the position at UNF partly because of the excitement of starting a university from scratch and partly because he liked the Jacksonville area.
McLaughlin recalls with a smile his first visit to the UNF campus in a jeep to survey the progress of the new university. After the vehicle became hopelessly stuck in the mud, McLaughlin says he and his companion were forced to take a long walk down Beach Boulevard just to find a telephone to call for assistance. McLaughlin says he's never wanted to leave since.
After building the department, McLaughlin returned to full-time teaching in 1978 as a professor of management. In 1983, he became assistant dean of the College of Business Administration, and was named associate dean in 1986. McLaughlin served the College in this capacity for 13 years, including service as an interim dean, and then returned to teaching again last year.
His reasons for staying at UNF are many: the city, the location of the university, the excitement and fulfillment of working at a young university and the opportunity to work with respected colleagues. "I think anywhere you go after a while there's a certain amount of loyalty. But certainly starting the university was really a lot of fun," he says.