Florida State University


•  NOVEMBER 19, 2019 •

Dear Faculty,

This month marks my fifth anniversary as president of Florida State University, and it has truly been an honor to serve my alma mater.

We’ve accomplished so much together — our No. 18 ranking, our $1 billion fundraising campaign, the largest gift in university history, record research funding, an unprecedented faculty hiring initiative and most importantly the best graduation rate in Florida!

There is a lot of buzz around Florida State’s academic success right now. Everywhere I go, alumni and friends tell me how thrilled they are about our ranking as the 18th best public university in the nation. I let them know we’re building on this momentum so that we can keep climbing higher, and I am so proud of our faculty, staff and students for their commitment to excellence.

FSU is a leader in international education and research, and the university is highlighting its internationalization and global awareness efforts by celebrating International Education Month. Providing international opportunities and nurturing a rich multicultural environment is key to both student and faculty success, and I encourage you to attend one of the many events being held in November!

Earlier this month, it was my pleasure to host a reception to recognize students and faculty who have received Fulbright awards. FSU is one of the nation’s top producers of Fulbright recipients, and this is another reflection of our commitment to internationalization.

Veterans Appreciation Month is also being recognized for the first time at FSU, thanks to the FSU Veterans Student Union and Student Veterans Center. These organizations planned a number of events that recognize our veterans and their service throughout November.

I particularly hope you had a chance to see the Fallen Heroes Memorial on Mina Jo Powell Alumni Green. Students from across campus placed more than 7,000 American flags in the ground to represent each member of the military who has died in the line of duty since 9/11. It was an awe-inspiring display to honor and remember the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.

On Nov. 1, the FSU Board of Trustees unanimously approved changing the name of the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship to the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship. It is now the nation’s first stand-alone college of entrepreneurship! We continue to be grateful to Jan Moran and The Jim Moran Foundation for their transformational $100 million gift and for helping us strengthen our commitment to entrepreneurial education.

I’d also like to congratulate Dean Susan Fiorito, the school’s founding director, who has overseen this transition after a period of incredible growth. Since the school opened its doors in fall 2017 with a class of 80 students, the now-college has grown to 760 students, 25 faculty and 11 staff members!

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to thank our friends and donors at the Panama City Campus’ annual dinner. There is a deep connection between the community and the campus, and we are so appreciative of all of the support.

With about 1,000 students, FSU-Panama City is a big part of Florida State University, and many of the students there have long hoped for an on-campus housing option. That’s why the FSU Board of Trustees approved a plan to build the campus’ first residence hall. Scheduled to open in August 2021, the facility is tentatively set to include 132 suites that could house up to 400 students.

This is great news for a community still recovering from Hurricane Michael and will really enhance the college experience for many FSU-Panama City students!

The Board of Trustees recognized Faculty Senate President and FSU Trustee Kristine Harper at the board’s Nov. 1 meeting. Dr. Harper, who joined the FSU history department in 2008, will step down from her post Jan. 1 to take a new position at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. We are so grateful for her service to FSU!

Professor of Statistics Eric Chicken will take Dr. Harper’s position as Faculty Senate president and will represent the faculty on the Board of Trustees. I know he will provide valuable input and make a tremendous contribution to the board. 

As we head into Thanksgiving break, we have so much to be thankful for. I’m especially grateful for the FSU faculty and the support you’ve shown me. I’m looking forward to sharing the successes we’ve achieved together during the State of the University address at 3:35 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 4, at College of Medicine's Durell Peaden Auditorium. I hope to see you there!

Commencement is also quickly approaching. We are thrilled to have Dr. Tim Cross, the 2019-2020 Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor, and Leon County Judge Nina Ashenafi Richardson as the speakers Dec. 13-14.

I hope you enjoy the final days of the fall semester, and please continue to share your ideas and news with me. Drop me an email or follow me on Twitter at @FSUPresThrasher.


FSU Faculty in the News

Florida State University

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