The Florida Capitol gleamed garnet and gold as hundreds of Florida State University supporters gathered to celebrate FSU Day at the Capitol Tuesday, Feb. 6. The annual event showcases the achievements of the university during the past year to the community and legislators.
“It’s great to see the Capitol decked out in garnet and gold,” said FSU President John Thrasher. “With FSU’s focus on student success, it’s no wonder applications to FSU are up — the future is Florida State.”
This year, the spotlight was on FSU’s renowned Student Veterans Center. FSU student-veterans boast an 80 percent graduation rate, 30 percent higher than the national average.
“This is a great day to celebrate Florida State’s successes and achievements,” said Billy Francis, director of the Student Veterans Center. “One of Florida State’s goals is to be a national leader in veteran success. The result of this commitment is a student-veteran graduation rate that is one of the highest in the nation and an unconquered spirit. I want to thank you for supporting the student-veterans at Florida State.”
Some of this year’s other successes included U.S. News & World Report ranking FSU the 33rd best public university in the nation, receiving a record number of admissions applications and continuously rising four-year graduation and retention rates.
FSU’s academic excellence was on display with information booths representing the university’s academic programs and research centers on the first three floors of the Capitol rotunda. Outside, in the Capitol courtyard, the crowd was delighted with performances by College of Music pep band Seminole Sound, the Golden Girls and Florida State cheerleaders during a pep rally.
FSU Day also provides a commutative platform between the Florida State community and the Florida Legislature to foster collaboration on future ideas and initiatives.
“We are pleased to celebrate FSU Day at the Capitol today,” said Florida Senate President Joe Negron. “As one of Florida’s preeminent research institutions, Florida State is up dramatically in the national rankings, and I think within the next five years FSU will be in the Top 20. We look forward to continuing to support FSU, and by working together, we can ensure more students have the opportunity to walk across the graduation stage with a diploma in one hand and a job offer in the other.”
A major highlight of the event was a guest appearance by new FSU head football coach Willie Taggart.
“What a day to be a Nole,” Taggart said. “I am really excited for the upcoming season. I appreciate every one of you and look forward to making you all proud.”
Other attendees included FSU culinary ambassador and celebrity chef Art Smith, State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser, Board of Trustees members Mark Hillis, Todd Adams and Kyle Hill, along with distinguished alumni currently serving in the Florida Legislature.
Seminole Evening, hosted the prior night, was a public reception co-hosted by President Thrasher and the FSU Student Government Association on the 22nd Floor of the Capitol where members of the FSU Student Government Association recognized FSU legislators. It also gave FSU students the opportunity to meet with state representatives on a personal level.
“The Seminole Evening event was an amazing opportunity for students to meet and connect with the most influential members of the Florida State community,” said Jessica Leabu, a junior majoring in family and child sciences. “I got the rare chance to spend one-on-one time with President Thrasher and major legislators that run our state. It was a night I’ll always remember.”