After graduating from high school, I enrolled at the University of South Florida, but was discouraged by the 200 student class sizes. I felt lost in such a large room and had very little contact with my professors, so I transferred to Hillsborough Community College. The classes were smaller, the professors more attentive and the cost of tuition more favorable. I knew that I wanted to be an architect. However, only two Florida universities taught architecture; the University of Florida and the University of Miami. As an eighteen-year-old working my way through college, both universities were cost prohibitive and out of my reach. HCC allowed me to save money and earn my A.S. degree. HCC prepared me for the next step. I transferred to the University of Florida where I earned a Bachelor of Design and then a Master of Arts in Architecture. Today I own Wilder Architecture, a firm recognized by the American Institute of Architects, Tampa Bay Chapter as the 2009 Firm of the Year, by the Greater Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce as the 2010 Small Business of the Year, and by the Florida Association of the American Institute of Architects as the 2015 Firm of the Year. HCC offered me a foundation I could build on, and I’m still building.
(Larry passed away in 2018. We are grateful that he completed his interview with us before he died, and we mourn his loss, a loss to HCC and the entire Tampa Bay community.)