Florida State University


Dear Faculty,

The fall semester is one of the busiest times on campus — and also one of the most enjoyable as the weather cools off. It’s no wonder House Beautiful magazine just named Florida State University one of the nation’s most beautiful campuses. Next time you walk across campus, take some time and appreciate what a wonderful job our landscape and grounds crew does.

In November, I’ll be marking one year on the job. It’s truly been one of the best years of my life, and I’d like to thank you for your support. Together with our faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends, we have achieved so much in the past 12 months. It is amazing what all of us in the Florida State family can get done when we work together.

While we have accomplished a lot, such as increasing faculty salaries and raising more than $100 million for our capital campaign, we still have a lot we’d like to achieve in the very near future as we continue on the path to the Top 25.

Academic Searches and Strategic Plan
Some of the most crucial items on our agenda are key academic searches and a new strategic plan. We have two important leadership positions to fill and national searches are in progress for a provost and dean of the College of Business. The provost search committee has been working hard, and I expect to name a provost by the end of the semester. Please visit the provost search website for the latest information. 

The strategic planning committee is working with AKA Strategies in developing a strategic plan as we identify our academic priorities and goals and provide a useful roadmap to achieve our vision.

Legislative Session
We also are preparing for the legislative session, which will begin in January this year. We are asking for an additional $10 million in preeminence funding to allow FSU to stay nationally competitive in its efforts to hire top-tier faculty. We are also asking for state funding to supplement the private funds we have raised for three facilities that are important to advance our academic mission: the Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science Building, the Interdisciplinary Research & Commercialization Building and the College of Business Building. Please visit advocateforfloridastate.fsu.edu for more information about the upcoming session.

Raise the Torch
In the past six weeks I’ve traveled to donor engagement events in Boston, Atlanta and New York to spread the word about all of the great things happening at our university. I’ve also spoken to many of the colleges’ development boards. Our stakeholders see all the amazing things our students and faculty are accomplishing — and they want to help us achieve our goals.

Since its public kickoff in October 2014, I’m pleased to share that the Raise the Torch campaign has raised more than $100 million in the past year for a total of nearly $720 million. And we have a couple of big gifts in the works that will take our total even higher before the year comes to a close. We are nearly three-quarters of the way to our goal of $1 billion!

Students and Alumni
Our students continue to impress me. Just last week, Gov. Rick Scott presented business students Jason McIntosh and Mitch Nelson with the Governor’s Young Entrepreneurship Award for creating DivvyUp, a “social entrepreneurship” business that donates a pair of socks to homeless shelters for every pair sold.

There are lots of examples of students doing exciting work on campus — and, as their professors, you share in their success. In September, my office sponsored the President’s Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence, which recognized students who work in partnership with our talented faculty to conduct groundbreaking research that pushes their disciplines further. Please check out the video below about this great event!

I was honored to recognize several of our young alumni at the FSU Alumni Association’s “Thirty Under 30” Awards Dinner Oct. 16. It was an incredibly diverse group that included doctors, educators, researchers, military officers and opera singers. Our grads are making contributions to society all over the world every day, and I know you take pride in seeing your former students go on to enjoy successful careers.

Faculty Recognitions
Speaking of achievements, I want to offer my congratulations to the 61 faculty members honored at the Promotion and Tenure Dinner Oct. 6. The granting of tenure and promotions to worthy faculty is one of the most important events in the life of a university. It was great seeing so many of you and celebrating a well-deserved triumph.

And, the whole faculty deserves recognition for its hard work as it helped Florida State achieve a No. 32 ranking among public universities in the United States in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings. The publication looks at teaching, research, citations, international outlook and industry income. The Times Higher Education ranking is one of two international surveys the Florida Board of Governors uses when considering state universities’ preeminence funding.

Finally, as you can probably imagine, there’s nothing I enjoy more than talking about Florida State, and our faculty research is one of my favorite subjects. All of the positive media attention you continue to generate makes bragging pretty easy, and I’ve shared a few news clips below.

I can’t wait to get started on my second year at Florida State and see what the future holds for this great university. It is truly my pleasure to work with such a creative and esteemed group of scholars. As always, I welcome your ideas and encourage you to send me your feedback.


President's Showcase for Undergraduate Research Excellence

FSU Faculty in the News

Florida State University

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