Florida State University


•  JANUARY 28, 2019 •

Dear Faculty,

I hope your spring semester is off to a terrific start!

It was another strong year for Florida State University in 2018. We jumped seven spots in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, saw marked increases in admissions applications, created initiatives to support student resilience and engagement and won two national championships in athletics. 

I spoke about many of our achievements and discussed our plan for the future during my State of the University address at the December meeting of the Faculty Senate. It was a pleasure to see so many of you there, but if you missed it, here’s a good overview.

We had lots of exciting news in the final weeks of the fall semester, nationally and around campus.

• In November, Florida State received the 2018 Platinum Level Institutional Award for Global Learning, Research & Engagement from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). This prestigious award is a testament to your efforts in helping students develop the skills to succeed in our globally connected world.

• Kudos to the 10 winners of the annual Transformation Through Teaching Awards! I had the pleasure of hosting a dinner on Nov. 29 where the faculty members were honored by the students who nominated them for touching their lives in some meaningful way.

• Congratulations to Professor of Chemistry Thomas Albrecht-Schmitt and Professor of Biological Science Kimberly Hughes for their selection as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Professors Albrecht-Schmitt and Hughes are being elevated to the rank of fellow this year for their accomplishments in the fields of actinide chemistry and evolutionary ecology, respectively.

We were saddened to learn of the deaths of three members of our FSU family. President Emeritus Thomas Kent “T.K.” Wetherell passed away on Dec. 16. A lot of the national prominence FSU enjoys today can be tracked to the work T.K. did as our 13th president to enhance student success, expand academic programs and facilities, increase diversity and beautify the campus. 

Two prominent supporters passed away in January. George Langford, who died Jan. 4, served three terms as chairman of the Seminole Boosters Board and is credited with resurrecting the Boosters organization and the Seminole athletics program after a difficult period in the early 1970s. He generously supported both academics and athletic programs at FSU, and Langford Green is named in his honor.

Al Dunlap passed away Jan. 25. He and his wife, Judy, were passionate about investing in the potential of future leaders. Their generosity produced a number of significant gifts to Florida State over the years, including the Albert J. and Judith A. Dunlap Student Success Center and indoor and outdoor football practice fields.

I was honored to take part in the annual MLK Commemorative Breakfast, sponsored by the Tallahassee NAACP and Leon County Schools, held at the Tucker Center Jan. 18. It was a pleasure to meet so many bright, young people and say hello to friends in our community.

FSU also honored Dr. King’s legacy with a week of events, and I was thrilled to participate in a celebration where we recognized this year’s MLK Distinguished Service Award winners for their outstanding service in keeping with the principles and ideals of Dr. King. Thelsa Berne-Anderson, director of College and Pre-College Outreach at the College of Medicine, was the staff/administrator honoree, while Donald J. Wiedner, dean emeritus of the College of Law, received the faculty award. They are both truly deserving of this honor!

The Opening Nights winter season is heating up with a wide variety of artists coming to FSU and the Tallahassee area over the next few months. There is a little something for everyone to enjoy, and I hope you will be able to catch a performance or two.

We are quickly gearing up for the 2019 Florida Legislative Session, which begins March 5. FSU is asking for continued funding in recognition of our preeminence and our performance. These funds will support our ongoing efforts to hire world-class faculty and scholars, advance our professional and graduate degree programs, support our academic excellence and maintain our facilities.

In addition, we are asking the Legislature to provide additional funding for the College of Business Legacy Hall project, the Interdisciplinary Research and Commercialization Building and a new STEM Teaching Lab, as well as increased program and building funds for our FAMU-FSU College of Engineering. FSU is also requesting funds to help with the extensive repairs to our Panama City Campus due to Hurricane Michael. 

Thanks to the Legislature’s support, we’ve made big strides in improving nearly every measure of student success, and I’m optimistic legislators will continue to support our efforts as Florida State achieves even greater national prominence.

Please continue to share your ideas and feedback with me. I love hearing about your research and creative activities and seeing the headlines you are generating around the world! Below are a few I’d like to share.

I know, together, we will continue this upward trajectory and climb to even higher levels of excellence in 2019.


FSU Faculty in the News

Florida State University

Office of the President
Florida State University
222 S. Copeland St.
Tallahassee, FL 32306