The Julius Montogomery Pioneer Award is presented each year to a deserving candidate to honor their commitment and contributions to their community. It is also recognition of the pioneering spirit of Julius Montogomery and his selfless contributions to our great university.
Julius Montgomery was the first African American student to sign up for classes at the newly conceived Brevard Engineering College (Florida Tech) in the summer of 1958. The new college was using classroom space provided by the local school district. A few days before the first day of class on September 22, 1958, officials at the Brevard County School District learned that an African American was enrolled and immediately issued an ultimatum to President Jerry Keuper. They warned if Mr. Montogomery and any other aspirant African American students were allowed to attend class, the school district would prohibit the use of classroom space at Eau Gallie Junior High School. Rescinding the use of school district facilities to hold classes would have effectively been the college's death knell.
When Julius became aware of the ultimatum, he voluntarily withdrew his application - his sacrifice saved the founding of our university. President Keuper promised Mr. Montogomery that there would be a place for him at the university once Florida Tech secured its own campus and wasn't constricted by another entity's limited views. In 1961, soon after Florida Tech received the property on Country Club Road (now part of the current campus), Julius enrolled in classes.