Mary Brennan Karl

Mary Brennan Karl (1893–1948) was an American educator who founded the school that would become Daytona State College. In 2011, she was inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame.[1]

Mary Brennan Karl
Spouse(s)Fred J. Karl
ChildrenFrederick B. Karl


Karl was born in 1893, little else is known about her early life. She began her educational career teaching business courses in the Volusia County school system. Karl later became a business teacher at the Opportunity school, a vocational school. She expanded the courses offered at the school, and led it through a period of large growth, becoming the director of the school in 1937. Throughout World War II, Karl and the Opportunity school trained thousands of people, teaching citizens how to work in defense industries.[2]

As World War II began to end, the school transitioned to a school specifically for veterans. In the post-war aftermath, Karl, supported by the local newspaper and political leaders, as well as working with Mary McLeod Bethune and meeting with Eleanor Roosevelt, convinced the War Assets Administration to donate the Welch center, a complex consisting of fifty-five buildings (classrooms, a library, cafeteria and dormitories), and an Olympic swimming pool to Volusia County. The county's board voted to name the school the Mary Karl Vocational school. Karl died in 1948.[3]

Though it had always been Karl's long-term goal to have the school become part of the State University System of Florida or a community college, neither happened in her life. However, shortly after her death, Daytona Beach Community College was built. The school later merged with the Mary Karl Vocational school to become Daytona State College. The school still houses the Mary Karl Memorial Learning Resources Center.[4]


  1. "American Beach's "Beach Lady" a finalist for Florida Women's Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  2. Lane, Mark (2015). Legendary Locals of Daytona Beach. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 9781467102223.
  3. "Local educator Mary Karl inducted into Florida Women's Hall of Fame" (PDF). Volusia County Economic Development Quarterly. p. 4.
  4. "Florida Commission on the Status of Women | Mary Brennan Karl". Retrieved 2017-11-07.
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