I need to communicate with you about my future plans. I would like to begin by reviewing how far we have come in the last four years.
Florida State University has emerged in a strong position, even though the recession was long and deep and the budget cuts were severe. Among the most noteworthy achievements are being named a Preeminent University, reaching our highest national ranking in the 15 years of the current ranking system (40 among publics), establishing a clear path to the Top 25 with appropriate funding, being named the most efficient university in delivering quality in the nation (two years in a row), nearing 55% completion of a billion dollar plus campaign with 45% of the time elapsed (even with a recession and the time required to hire staff at a level appropriate to a campaign), investing in a set of Big Ideas that are putting Florida State on the map, substantially increasing faculty morale, and having the highest quality set of students in our history. And, of course, we have returned to national championship status in football, and our athletic programs are at the highest level in their history in the Directors’ Cup. This is a far different picture than in 2009 when we were losing faculty to weaker schools and we were struggling to manage repeated budget cuts.
I am very proud of my University and its progress over the last four years. And so, I find myself ready for the next challenge. With the approval today of the Pennsylvania State University Board of Trustees, I have accepted the appointment as President of Penn State University. With a budget of more than $4 billion annually, a national ranking among publics at #8, and the authority associated with the far simpler governance system of a state–related institution, I consider it a high compliment that they have asked me to lead their institution.
I am deeply appreciative of my time at Florida State University, and my love for this institution, its faculty, staff and alumni will never change. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your President.
I would like to recap some exciting developments for the University in recent months.
First, the legislature passed and the Governor signed the Career and Professional Education Act, which defined preeminence status for state universities and set specific performance parameters for universities to gain this status. Florida State University was one of two in the State System to qualify for preeminent status. I am pleased to say that the Board of Governors then officially designated Florida State University as a preeminent university. This status adds $15 million to our base budget for the specific purpose of adding faculty, increasing student scholarships, enhancing our goal to be an entrepreneurial university, and focusing on career enhancement for our students.
Second, the legislature passed and the Governor signed a budget that contained the first state-funded salary increases in many years. We will be working hard to implement raises and to reward our outstanding faculty and staff.
Third, the legislature and Governor supported a permanent budget for our Veteran's Center. Our Veteran's efforts have had significant impact, and it is now a permanent commitment to ensure the success of our student-veterans.
The budget brought with it additional support for critical areas such as the Civic Center and the Autism Center, as well as other areas of the university.
In summary, after many years of significant cuts to our budget, we have a renewed opportunity to invest in our future and in the State of Florida. We intend to make sure that the State's investment in Florida State is well worth repeating as we move toward a Top 25 rank among all public universities.
Florida State University's Top 25 Proposal