Florida State University


•  JUNE 27, 2017 •

Dear Faculty,

Although summer officially just began, it’s back to school already for some faculty and students, including many new freshmen who have enrolled in our Summer C session. These freshmen were among more than 42,000 applicants who were all vying for about 6,200 spots making up the Class of 2021. The record number of applications is a 16 percent increase over last year — a reflection of the strong demand for an FSU education. 

While we’re already looking ahead to the fall when the rest of the freshman class arrives and our returning students bring their excitement and enthusiasm back to campus, we need to take some time to acknowledge the many successes of the 2016-2017 academic year. 

We ended on a high note with about 30,000 friends and family members attending spring commencement to cheer on the record-breaking number of graduates who participated in the three ceremonies. While the large numbers certainly posed some logistical challenges, it was wonderful to see so many students achieve their academic dreams. You should be proud of the role you played in helping these students reach their goals!

I’m pleased to report that more students are graduating in four years or less. We expect our four-year graduation rate will place us among the Top 20 universities in the country for this metric. The latest data also show FSU on an upward trajectory in several other metrics such as alumni giving, faculty compensation, educational expenditures per student and student-faculty ratio.

In addition, U.S. News & World Report projects what our graduation rate will be based on our student profile and expenses, and we beat the projections every year. In fact, we rank 16th in the country among public universities for exceeding our projected graduation rate. No other public university in Florida is even in the Top 60!

While it’s difficult to predict if the improvements in these metrics will result in a rise in the overall rankings this year, we can all be proud of the work we do every day to ensure our students receive the best possible educational experience here at FSU.

The Florida Legislature is helping us in our efforts to ensure students are at the forefront of our mission. As you know, the Legislature completed its regular session in May, followed by a special session in early June. The legislators realize an investment in FSU is a wise one for our students and the future of Florida, and we fared very well. We were appropriated funding that will allow us to continue to pursue our strategic goals and construct new academic and research facilities. 

Earlier this month, the FSU Board of Trustees approved the FY 2017-2018 Operating Budget and welcomed two new trustees — Faculty Senate President Todd Adams and FSU Student Body President Kyle Hill. I know they will be great assets to the board as FSU moves forward in raising the university’s national profile.

Last week, several members of the leadership team and I attended the Board of Governors meeting at the University of South Florida. There, we presented our 2017-2018 work plan and outlined our three key initiatives: Top 25, student success and entrepreneurship and innovation education.

The BOG recommended the state release the funding designated to FSU after we again met all 12 of the state’s preeminence metrics. We’re very pleased about our success in these areas, but as Provost Sally McRorie told the BOG, those metrics do not reflect the fact that FSU is also widely considered one of the most preeminent public universities in the nation with regard to the arts and humanities. We recognize and applaud the good work of our faculty across all disciplines!

Florida State is also well on its way to becoming a national beacon for entrepreneurial education thanks to the transformational $100 million gift from Jan Moran and the Jim Moran Foundation about 18 months ago.

We were honored to host Jan Moran for a campus visit June 1 and update her on the progress of the new Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship, the renovations of the new downtown building and the expansion of the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship. This fall, the Moran School will welcome its first class of 80 students. It’s exciting to watch this amazing new program come to life!

Everywhere I go, friends of the university share with me their excitement about the future of Florida State. Last month, I traveled to New York City for the annual Noles in New York events. It was wonderful to showcase our arts programs and meet with alumni and donors.

I also spent some time on our Panama City campus, where I met with donors and members of the community and attended the FSU Foundation Board meeting. I’m so pleased with the terrific job Dean Randy Hanna is doing to expand FSU Panama City’s program offerings and engage the local community.

I’d like to welcome alumna Amy Hecht back to FSU in her new role as vice president for Student Affairs. Dr. Hecht’s knowledge and experience in student affairs, as well as her passion for FSU, will serve our students well as we continue on our path of excellence.

We also recently appointed two new deans — Tim Chapin in the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy and Reb Braddock in the College of Motion Picture Arts. Tim and Reb have each spent several years at FSU and are passionate about the success of our university. I am confident they will provide strong leadership for their colleges.

August will be here before we know it, and it will bring all the excitement that comes with the start of a new school year. Until then, please enjoy your summer. I know many of you are doing some incredible things — teaching, traveling, researching and mentoring our students. Please feel free to drop me a line and let me know what you’ve been up to — I love hearing from you!

In the meantime, I’ve shared a few news clips below about some of your work.


WATCH: Spring Commencement

FSU Faculty in the News

Florida State University

Office of the President
Florida State University
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