This message to all students, faculty and staff has been approved by President John Thrasher.
Dear Florida State University Family,
This Sunday marks my last day as president of Florida State University — a place that has held my heart since the first day I arrived on campus as a 17-year-old freshman. To say this has been my dream job does not even begin to capture what an honor and a joy it has been to lead my beloved alma mater.
I want to express my deep and sincere appreciation to everyone who has contributed to FSU’s success during the course of my presidency. Florida State comprises thousands of people who care deeply about educating students from all walks of life, conducting innovative research and serving our community, state and nation. We’re making the world a better place — and everyone here makes a difference in some way, every day.
It’s because of our shared values, goals and aspirations that Florida State University has made such tremendous strides over the past six and a half years. We have enhanced student success, expanded our research enterprise, invested in faculty and academic programs, raised our national profile, exceeded fundraising goals, constructed new facilities, and strengthened our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
I am particularly proud that we have achieved the best graduation rate in Florida — a rate that also happens to be one of the very best in the nation. I am also pleased that U.S. News and World Report has affirmed our excellence by ranking us one of the Top 20 public universities in America.
The FSU Board of Trustees has played a tremendous role in advancing this institution, and I am grateful to the trustees for their steady leadership, wise counsel and careful stewardship.
To my senior leadership team — thank you for your extraordinary commitment to this university. You have been my trusted colleagues and are now my lifelong friends.
To our outstanding faculty — I am so impressed by your dedication to advancing your academic disciplines through your research and scholarship and your devotion to guiding our students on their academic journeys.
To the staff — you make this university run smoothly and efficiently. No matter what your job — whether it’s working with students, faculty or visitors, keeping our technology up and running, or maintaining our beautiful campus — you have played a role in our rising national reputation.
To FSU’s many friends, boosters, donors and alumni — thank you for showing the world what it means to be a Florida State Seminole. There is no doubt that we would not have reached this level of prominence without your support.
And to our students — you are the reason we are here. You have inspired me with your passion for learning and enthusiasm for life, and you have challenged me to consider new ideas and other points of view. And, you make this job fun! Some of my fondest memories are working together on important university initiatives, seeing you at the Ice Cream Social, taking selfies on the Westcott Plaza, and giving fist bumps at graduation.
Jean and I have been blessed to have been part of this wonderful community of smart, talented and innovative people, and we are so thankful for the experiences we have shared. We’re especially proud of the culture of excellence at FSU. The work we have done together has established a strong foundation on which to build. Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.
Now it’s time to turn the reins over to Dr. Richard McCullough, who will begin his tenure as Florida State University’s 16th president on Aug. 16. I know you will welcome him and his wife, Dr. Jai Vartikar, and support them the way you have supported Jean and me. I’m confident President McCullough will take this university that we all love so much to even greater heights, and you can be assured I will be cheering him on every step of the way.