The Florida Capitol radiated garnet and gold March 21 as lawmakers and Florida State University alumni and friends came together to celebrate FSU Day.
Booths lined the first three levels of the Capitol Rotunda, showcasing FSU’s world-class colleges and programs and the university’s high-achieving students and faculty.
Jeff Culhane, the voice for Florida State football and men’s basketball, hosted an outdoor pep rally featuring music by the FSU pep band Seminole Sound and performances from the FSU Cheerleaders and Flying High Circus.
Members of the Florida Legislature’s Seminole Caucus joined FSU officials, Head Women’s Basketball Coach Brooke Wyckoff and members of the Board of Trustees for the festivities.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, an FSU alumnus, spoke about the rising demand for a Florida State University education, noting the university’s more than 70,000 applications for fall admission.
President Richard McCullough built on Patronis’ remarks, highlighting the university’s advancements throughout his tenure, including an increase of research and fundraising totals along with student success and graduation rates.
McCullough lauded the university’s record 99% of first-year undergraduates who started at FSU last fall and returned for the spring semester, one of the best rates in the country and another indicator of FSU’s national leadership in student success.
“We are competing on and off the field at the highest levels for a Top 20 university,” McCullough said. “Our retention rate for freshmen this semester so far is 99% — that’s incredible and off the charts. Florida State University has the ingredients to continue to drive forward and be one of the greatest universities in this nation.”
Wyckoff represented FSU Athletics following the team’s return from its 10th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance in Iowa City, Iowa. She thanked FSU fans and alumni for their support.
“On behalf of Florida State Athletics and all of our student-athletes, we cannot do what we do without the support of people like you who are here today,” she said. “We don’t forget or take lightly the support of our Nole nation.”
Peter Collins, chair of the FSU Board of Trustees, said it was “a great time to be a Nole,” and welcomed a delegation from Ireland who were here to promote the FSU-Georgia Tech football game, which will be held Aug. 24, 2024, in Dublin, Ireland.
“This is a special group of people — we are all Noles, and we bleed garnet gold,” Collins said.
McCullough closed by thanking legislators for investing in FSU.
“Without the support of the Florida Legislature and the Office of the Governor, we would not be able to be as successful as we have been,” he said.