HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSITY CLUB OF TAMPA


In the spring of 1946 a group of prominent Tampa businessmen held an informal gathering to discuss the formation of a downtown luncheon club, which would provide a pleasant friendly atmosphere to enjoy good company in comfortable surroundings.  At the time most of Tampa’s business, commerce and professional offices were located downtown Tampa.  The formation of a private luncheon club to be called the University Club of Tampa began.

In 1946 arrangements were made with the Tampa Terrace Hotel to occupy the mezzanine.  The Club’s facilities included a dining room and cocktail bar lounge.  The Club was open to members daily from eleven a.m. to midnight.  The official opening was celebrated on September 11, 1946 with an inaugural tea for members and their guests.

The Club moved to the Marine Bank Building in 1962 with the official opening of the new quarters for the annual meeting on January 17, 1962.  A dining area, private rooms, card rooms and lounge area comprised the Club.  In time, the Club’s by-laws were revised to allow for twelve members of the Board of Directors, agreements with other clubs resulted in reciprocity privileges and the Club enjoyed growth in membership.  In 1964, the Board of Directors charged the Long Range Planning Committee to review proposals to enlarge, improve and/or move Club facilities.

In May of 1966, the University Club relocated to the top (22nd) floor of the Exchange Bank.  The Derby Day Party marked the formal opening.  Among the new Club decorations was the redesigned University Club insignia and seal.  During the decade of the seventies the prestige of the University Club was nonpareil.  As the community grew, so did the University Club until its membership reached its limits; waiting list grew longer.  An Intermediate Member classification, added in 1975, encouraged younger men to join.  A Senior Member classification was added in 1980.

In 1980 the Board of Directors voted to relocate to Tampa City Center, our present home.  The new Club quarters were in operation on Monday, March 1, 1982.  As old traditions faded into memory, new traditions began with a vibrant membership committed to maintaining the University Club prestige.  By 1996, three new classifications of membership had been added: Corporate, Honorary Associate and Special Associate, bringing the total to seven.

It should be noted that the core—the very essence—of the University Club is its membership.  The continuing support of these participating Members sustains the Club and marks it as an institution worthy not only of its past but also of its future.  This feeling, this “sense of belonging, guarantees the Club’s place in the very fabric of life in Tampa.