The 38-year marriage of H. Collins Forman Jr. and Jennifer Cargill Forman rests on their strong faith, love and respect for each other, and commitment to their family. The couple’s relationship started when they were students – undergrads at Broward College.
If it weren’t for Broward College, “I would not have met this most wonderful young lady, Jennifer Cargill, who became my life partner and the mother of our children, who blesses me every day,” Collins says.
If it weren’t for Broward College, “We probably would not have met and had such wonderful children who bless our lives,” Jennifer added.
If it weren’t for the Forman family … there might not be a Broward College.
The Forman’s love story started in 1978 at Broward College – then Broward Community College – on the A. Hugh Adams Central Campus. Jennifer, who traveled from Jamaica to South Florida to attend college, was in the Student Government office and she saw Collins’ photo on a campaign poster.
“There is the man you will marry,” Jennifer said to herself. “I am a Christian, and I thought, God, if that is you, I guess we will find out.”
They later met at a Student Government event where they began to get to know one another. Quickly realizing their shared faith, Jennifer started attending Collins’ church. They continued in Student Government together and started a campus Bible Study. They saw each other on campus – she was a chemistry major and he was in business – but mostly they had long conversations on the phone.
“We were friends and did things together, which included some dates, from the mid-fall ’78 until the end of the ’79 semester,” Collins recalled. “I went overseas for about two months, and I came back and asked Jennifer to marry me in August.”
Jennifer specifically remembers the proposal. “He asked me three questions. Do you love me? Do you think you could spend the rest of your life with me? Will you marry me?”
“She could say she loved me and could see herself being with me for the rest of her life, but she had a hard time saying that she would marry me,” Collins remembered. “She didn’t seem really keen on the idea. That’s why I asked her those first two questions several times before she would answer the third one positively.”
The couple married on December 16, 1979, at First Christian Church in Fort Lauderdale, 14 months after they had met. Once they completed their higher education – both earning associate degrees from Broward College, bachelor’s degrees from Florida Atlantic University and law degrees from Nova Southeastern University – they started a family.
Timothy, their first child, was born in 1986. Timothy was followed by Amanda, Nathaniel, John, Alyssa, and Daniel.
All six children were home-schooled. And all six started their college experience in high school as dual-enrolled students at Broward College. The four oldest children earned degrees from Broward College and Florida Atlantic University and now have or are in the process of establishing professional careers. The youngest, Daniel, 17, is finishing up high school and on his way to earning his associate degree from Broward College.
|Timothy, Collins, Daniel, Alyssa, Nathaniel’s wife Robin, Nathaniel, Jennifer’s mother Carmen Cargill, Jennifer, Amanda, John’s fiancé Sarah, and John|
“It was close and convenient and a good bridge for our children to start attending more formal school,” Jennifer says.
Both Jennifer and Collins also point out how valuable it was to have the children nearby as they worked through their college years. “Family time together is very important,” says Collins. “Someone once taught us – this is how children spell love: T-I-M-E. We have found that to be true. We also have found it to be true for spouses.”
“God helps us love one another and gives us wisdom with each other and our family,” added Jennifer. “Commitment and communication keep us as best friends.”
Today, Collins focuses on his law career while Jennifer runs a very busy household. Despite the constant flurry of activity, they intentionally make time to build their friendship by traveling together internationally, dining out and hosting a Bible study in their home.
“We also like to hear of people whose faith has informed their lives,” says Collins. “When you hear about people like William Wilberforce, who was instrumental in abolishing the African Trans-Atlantic slave trade, or Theodore Roosevelt, who was an avid outdoorsman but a dedicated family man who also taught Sunday School, or Gladys Aylward, who led a large group of Chinese orphans away from advancing armies to save their lives, it inspires one to look beyond his own front door and to remember there are bigger purposes to our lives than making money or having all the creature comforts in life. We are called to serve.”
The Forman family’s legacy of service has been a transformative force in Broward County.
Collins is the third generation of Formans to live in, and the second generation of Formans to be born in, Fort Lauderdale. Collins’ grandparents, Hamilton McClure Forman and Blanche Collins Forman, who came to south Florida in 1910, owned a dairy farm, covering much of Davie. The elder Forman’s son, Hamilton C. Forman, Collins’ father, influenced many major decisions in Broward County including flood control, the route of Florida’s Turnpike, the construction of the North Broward Hospital District and even Broward’s first charter. Most notably, he donated the land and lobbied for the start-up funds for Davie’s 825-acre educational complex, which includes the Broward College Central Campus.
While the College has seen significant growth since Collins and Jennifer were students, they still believe it provides an essential open door to education. “It is important for our community to have access to college level education and degrees without having to move somewhere else,” Jennifer says. “It helps families to stay together and work their way through college classes. It also helps older students who are working to be able to get their degrees as they go to school part time. Broward College has been doing all of this for our community and many have benefitted by attending.”
“We’re glad the College continues to be a positive force here in our county,” adds Collins.
Likewise, the Forman family continues to be a positive force for Broward College through the Hamilton M. and Blanche C. Forman Christian Foundation, which has been a long-time supporter the American Dream Scholarship initiative.
|Broward College’s Vice President for Advancement and Executive Director of the Broward College Foundation Nancy R. Botero; Collins and Jennifer Forman; American Dream Scholarship recipients Yane Valdes Rodriguez and Christina Zamor; Broward College President J. David Armstrong, Jr.|