Bethune-Cookman University's Library is named after Carl Southwick Swisher

Carl S. Swisher, or Carl Southwick Swisher, is the individual after whom the Bethune-Cookman University Carl S. Swisher Library is named.


During the 1970-71 school year, the Carl S. Swisher Library was dedicated. The Library was financed by Swisher, the Department of Health, Education and Welfare and gifts from various benefactors. The Library is a combination of the original library and Harrison Rhodes Memorial Library.


Swisher was born August 2, 1891 in Newark, Ohio. He attended Doane Academy in Burlington, NJ and Denison University in Granville, Ohio. He was very interested in educational and cultural activities and later spent a great deal of his life in Jacksonville, Florida.


Swisher became a dynamic leader of his family’s cigar-making business, which he expanded into one of the largest enterprises in its field. Swisher headed the company as Chairman. The company manufactured King Edward Cigars from 1944 until 1968. According to Financial News & Daily Record, Swisher was the owner of the largest cigar-producing factory under one roof and became a member of the Cigar Hall of Fame. The King Edward Cigar premiered in 1918, and then the company was incorporated in 1926. After the company began producing machine-made cigars, the company moved its headquarters from Newark, OH to Jacksonville, FL.


Swisher helped to found Jacksonville University, which was a privately-supported institution of higher learning. Swisher helped the University grow and develop quite rapidly. There is a Carl S. Swisher Library at Jacksonville University as well. In addition to buildings in his honor at Bethune-Cookman University and Jacksonville University, Swisher gave his support to Jacksonville’s Little Theater, the Symphony and the Friday Musicale. He also contributed to Stetson University, Bolles School and St. Bernard College at Cullman, Alabama.


Swisher’s civic and community activities were numerous and go far beyond the ones listed here. Swisher served as a member of the Bethune-Cookman College Board of Trustees for several terms. His community activities included service in programs like the American Cancer Society and the Boy Scouts. He remained a member of the Selective Service Board in Jacksonville for a quarter-century. Swisher dedicated his life and service to improving his community.


Swisher died in a Jacksonville hospital on December 2, 1973 and is buried in Oaklawn Cemetery in Jacksonville.

Mr. Swisher's legacy of civic work is carried on by his family and the Carl S. Swisher Foundation.