November 20, 2015
Dear Members of the FSU Family,
One year ago, a senseless act of violence occurred at Florida State University.
One of the worst moments of my presidency was when I received a phone call in the early morning of Nov. 20 that a shooting had taken place at Strozier Library, in the very heart of this campus. Hundreds of students were in the library at the time, and three students were wounded, one of them seriously.
One of my proudest moments occurred a little more than 24 hours later when students lined up to return to the library. All eyes were on us that morning as television cameras from national news outlets rolled, but our students demonstrated their strength and determination to move forward. Our faculty and staff ensured that our students were cared for, and the university bravely carried on.
The night before we had gathered at Oglesby Union for a vigil. I often say that at Florida State University, we are family. Never was it more apparent than that night. I was moved as thousands of students gathered to support one another in the glow of the candlelight. The tragedy touched all of us, but the unity vigil was our first step in healing.
One year later, this university is stronger than ever. I continue to be thankful for the Florida State University and Tallahassee police departments and all of the first responders for taking quick and decisive action that night to prevent further tragedy. They are truly heroes. They took care of us then, and they continue to keep us safe today and every day.
Please keep Farhan “Ronny” Ahmed in your thoughts and prayers as he continues in his recovery from the serious injuries he sustained in the shooting. In addition, counseling services are still available on campus for anyone in need of support. If you want or need such services, please call the University Counseling Center at 850-644-TALK (8255).
As we approach Thanksgiving, we have so much to be thankful for. Florida State University is a very special place, and I am convinced that we have a sense of community here that is like no other. We support each other during difficult times, and together we celebrate our successes. I am looking forward to celebrating many more with you in the coming year.