The Florida Senate recognized Florida State University President John Thrasher during its session Tuesday in honor of his outstanding achievements and service during his tenure as the university’s 15th president.
Sen. Joe Gruters, an FSU alumnus, read the resolution to Thrasher, who served in the Florida Senate from 2009 until he became FSU president in 2014.
“It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to recognize someone most of us know and respect,” Gruters said.
In touting Thrasher’s time as FSU president, Gruters recalled being part of the Board of Trustees that voted to hire Thrasher to the post.
“I will tell you that you exceeded all expectations,” Gruters said. “We are so lucky that you came in at that particular time and you really championed our school.”
Senate President Wilton Simpson welcomed Thrasher back to the Florida Senate, and said Thrasher’s influence was felt so greatly in the chamber that he was thought of as the “Lion of the Senate.”
“We really enjoyed his time in the Senate, and he and Jean have really left a mark on the state of Florida that is undeniable,” Simpson said.
Simpson also acknowledged the service of FSU Vice President for Finance and Administration Kyle Clark for his contributions in supporting the Florida Senate during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Clark led the effort to provide space at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center where public testimony could be heard, in a socially distanced environment, during the Florida legislative session. He also played a significant role in organizing the administration of COVID-19 vaccines for senators and staff at FSU’s vaccine clinic.
“Vice President Kyle Clark was instrumental in this effort,” Simpson said.
Read the full text of the resolution:
A resolution expressing appreciation and gratitude to Florida State University President John Thrasher upon completion of his exceptional tenure as the 15th president of Florida State University and for his personal and professional achievements and commending him for his outstanding accomplishments and service.
WHEREAS, John Thrasher first entered Florida State University in 1961 as an undergraduate student, earning a bachelor’s degree in business in 1965, and
WHEREAS, in 1966, John Thrasher joined the United States Army, serving first in Germany, where he received the Army Commendation Medal, and later in Vietnam, where he was awarded two Bronze Stars, and
WHEREAS, John Thrasher attained the rank of captain before his honorable discharge in 1970, when he returned to his alma mater to earn a law degree with honors in 1972, and
WHEREAS, John Thrasher served the people of the State of Florida as a member of the Florida House of Representatives from 1992 until 2000, where he was instrumental in the creation of the Florida State University College of Medicine, and
WHEREAS, on November 17, 1998, John Thrasher was unanimously elected Speaker of the Florida House for the 1999 through 2000 term, during which the Legislature passed the “A+ Education Plan” and the largest tax cut in the history of this state, and
WHEREAS, in 2009, John Thrasher was elected in a special election to the Florida Senate, where he served until 2014, and while serving there, he was the chair of the Rules Committee and vice chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education, and
WHEREAS, in November 2014, John Thrasher became Florida State University’s 15th president, and
WHEREAS, under John Thrasher’s leadership, Florida State University has moved from No. 43 to No. 19 in the national public university rankings by U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Colleges” guidebook, and
WHEREAS, during John Thrasher’s tenure as president, Florida State University’s 4-year graduation rate is first in the state and among the best in the country, and the university has virtually erased graduation rate gaps between the general population and underserved students, and
WHEREAS, under John Thrasher’s leadership, Florida State University has retained first-year students at a record rate, with 95 percent of first-time-in-college students who enrolled for the Summer/Fall 2019 term returning for their sophomore year, a retention rate that is well above the national average of 81 percent for 4-year public institutions and places the university among the top 15 in the nation, and
WHEREAS, during John Thrasher’s tenure as president, Florida State University’s graduate school enrollment, a hallmark of any great research university, is at an all-time high, and
WHEREAS, enrollment in Florida State University’s graduate programs increased by 23 percent in Fall 2020, far surpassing the university’s goal of 3 percent annual growth, and
WHEREAS, John Thrasher has received numerous awards for his leadership and service, including recognition as the Tallahassee Democrat’s Person of the Year in 2015 and induction into the FSU College of Business Hall of Fame in 2016 and into the Florida Veterans Hall of Fame in 2017, and he is the recipient of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators’ Region III President’s Award and the Tallahassee Urban League Legend Award, and
WHEREAS, John Thrasher presided over a successful $1 billion fundraising campaign, advanced Florida State University’s academic and research mission, championed diversity and inclusion, and welcomed the best and brightest students in the university’s history, and
WHEREAS, John Thrasher has spent the majority of the past 55 years in service to the United States, his hometown of Jacksonville, the State of Florida, and his alma mater, Florida State University, NOW, THEREFORE,
Be It Resolved by the Senate of the State of Florida:
That the Florida Senate expresses its appreciation and gratitude to Florida State University President John Thrasher upon the completion of his exceptional tenure as the 15th president of Florida State University and for his personal and professional achievements, and commends him for his outstanding accomplishments and service.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this resolution, with the Seal of the Senate affixed, be presented to Florida State University President John Thrasher as a tangible token of the sentiments of the Florida Senate.