A Message from President McCullough on the 2021-2022 Academic Year

This message to all students, faculty and staff has been approved by President Richard McCullough.

Dear Members of the Florida State University Community,

Now that we have concluded the academic year — my first as president of Florida State University — I want to thank the students, faculty, staff and alumni for your hard work and dedication to this university as well as the support that you’ve given me and First Lady Dr. Jai Vartikar.

You’ve warmly welcomed us into the FSU family, and we truly feel at home here. We’ve had the privilege of meeting and working with so many smart, talented, and creative people, and together we have accomplished so much over the past nine months.

We’re making tremendous progress on our goals to elevate the university’s academic reputation, grow the university’s research and development enterprise, invest in student success, and advance our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Our achievements are too numerous to list, but I’d like to share a few highlights:

  • U.S. News & World Report again ranked FSU No. 19 among all public universities in America — that’s a huge jump from just six years ago when the university was ranked No. 43.
  • FSU won the APLU 2021 Degree Completion Award in recognition of our comprehensive efforts to support all students in earning their degrees. This is the top student success award in the country.
  • We achieved a freshman retention rate of 95 percent and a four-year graduation rate of 74 percent — the best rate in Florida and one of the best in the nation.
  • We received more than 78,000 freshman applications for Summer and Fall 2022.
  • Applications to graduate programs are up 23 percent compared to last year, contributing to an increasing graduate student enrollment.
  • Twenty graduate programs and specialties ranked in the Top 25 among public universities in U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 edition of “Best Graduate Schools.” Our programs in education, business, law, and engineering all climbed in the rankings, and we also saw big jumps in statistics, chemistry, biology, and earth sciences.

Many of our faculty members are internationally renowned in their fields and have won top national awards and appointments, including:

  • School of Dance Professor Jawole Willa Jo Zollar received a 2021 MacArthur Fellowship.
  • National High Magnetic Field Laboratory Chief Scientist Laura Greene was appointed by the White House to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.
  • Department of Art Chair and Professor Lilian Garcia-Roig received a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Our students are winning top national awards and fellowships. Among them:

  • Abril Hunter, an environmental science and policy student, has been named a 2022 Truman Scholar, among the most coveted undergraduate awards in the country.
  • Former FSU Trustee and Student Body President Nastassia Janvier, who graduated with a master’s degree in public administration last weekend, is one of 10 students in the country to receive a Marshall-Motley Scholarship from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, awarded to promising future civil rights attorneys.
  • Dhenu Patel, a junior exercise physiology major, and Sophie Allen, a sophomore majoring in psychology and biomathematics, each received a Barry Goldwater Scholarship, a prestigious national award that recognizes outstanding sophomores or juniors in science, mathematics, or engineering.

These remarkable achievements are indicative of Florida State University’s culture of excellence, and I look forward to our continued success. Jai and I wish everyone all the best for a healthy, safe, and productive summer.


Richard McCullough