When the Rev. Glenn C. "Skip" Speed Jr., 46, was inaugurated as president of Trinity College, he was advised that he should drop the nickname "Skip" and go by his given name, Glenn Speed. He says for a short time everyone tried to remember and call him Glenn, but it wasn't long before it was back to good old "Skip," a nickname given to him by his grandmother. Grandma had not liked it when the family called him Junior. When she began calling him Skipper, it stuck.
"No one knows me as Glenn," says the Rev. "Skip" Speed.
They know him at Trinity College. The Rev. Speed comes to Trinity College via Trinity College. He received his bachelor's degree from Trinity in 1982 and his master's in biblical studies in 1991 from Tampa Bay Theological Seminary, Trinity's graduate school housed on Trinity's 20-acre campus.
His background includes five years of military service, two years of pastoring a small country church in Maine, four years as pastor at a Lakeland church while going to school, then back to Maine for another seven years in church leadership. Before being named Trinity president, he served as its dean of students, registrar and as alumni director.
"In between all that," he says, "I managed to pastor 17 years and also work in school administration."
During that time he also married his wife, Eileen, and they have a son, Joshua, 19, who is continuing with the Trinity tradition as a student of sacred music at the college.
Skip's roots are on what he calls "a small family farm" in Maine. It was a farm where they ate what they produced and gave the balance to their neighbors. It was also where he developed a love for carpentry from his dad and grandad.
"Oh I love woodworking and carpentry work," he says enthusiastically.
When he pastored the small church up north, he found that his furniture building skills came in handy. He has fond memories of building two log houses, one from pine and spruce and the other from cedar.
As a college president, he now uses his building skills to create a solid base for his 117 college students. He hopes to prepare them as much as possible for a ministry in a contemporary 21st century.
As to how things have changed from when he was a student, he says, "I think we are taking a more realistic approach to understanding our world. Secondly, in dealing with issues that we did not have to face before, we are taking a hard look at what it takes to minister in this age. Techniques and methodology are changing and we have to give them (the students) what it takes to best help them in their task."
The four-year Bible college got its start 62 years ago as the Florida Bible Institute in Temple Terrace. The church moved to St. Petersburg during World War II, then to Belleair, then to Dunedin in a former hotel that now houses Schiller University, and then finally in 1988 to New Port Richey, where they held classes at West Side Baptist Church while the first campus buildings were constructed.
In the fall of 1989 the first two college buildings were completed, the student center/administration building and dormitory. And now a spring dedication is planned for the college library, which was completed in late 1993.
Speed adds a final note about this historic college. One of its most famous students was the Rev. Billy Graham.