Sunday, Nov. 15, 10 a.m. — Alumni Center – Grand Ballroom
Thank you, Scott, and good morning everyone! As I look around the room today, I see a lot of old friends and familiar faces. I’m so glad to be with you to celebrate our golden reunion.
I’m sure that you’ll agree it’s been a terrific Homecoming so far! Of course, we saved the best for last: the induction of my class — the Class of 1965 — into the Emeritus Alumni Society!!
I must admit, it did give me pause when it dawned on me that I — we — graduated 50 years ago. It doesn’t seem possible that it was a half century ago that we received our diplomas.
I tell everyone that the best decision I ever made — besides marrying Jean, of course — was when I decided to come to FSU in 1961. I —perhaps like many of you — was the first in my family to go to college. In fact, my parents went to school only through the eighth grade.
But I knew that a college education was the way forward. And in fact, my business and law degrees from Florida State have opened doors for me throughout my life. They provided me with opportunities that have allowed me to serve my country, my state, and, now, it’s my honor to serve my alma mater.
All of us here today were given an incredible opportunity to be educated at Florida State University. We were challenged intellectually, made lifelong friends and created lasting memories. Florida State shaped our lives.
All of us, too, have been lucky enough to witness the amazing growth and change at this university over the past 50 years:
- Our campus is now more beautiful than ever and has state-of-the-art classrooms and research facilities.
- Our faculty brings in more than $200 million in external research funding, a hallmark of a great university.
- Our students continue to distinguish themselves academically. Our incoming freshman classes now average a high-school grade-point average of 4.0, and research at the undergraduate level is now commonplace.
- Our graduate students also continue to conduct outstanding research and are routinely chosen for highly competitive, national fellowships.
- We have academic programs in the arts, business, education, criminology and law that are among the best in the nation, and, indeed, the world.
- And the Legislature has designated Florida State as one of two preeminent universities in Florida for meeting rigorous standards of excellence.
But even though Florida State has grown and changed in notable ways, some things have not changed since 1965. This campus is still a place where minds are challenged, relationships are built and lives are shaped.
We graduated during a turbulent time in American history, but each one of us, in our own way, made contributions to the betterment of our communities. In keeping with a Florida State tradition that continues to this day, we all made a difference in the world.
As students and alumni, we have helped this university establish a strong foundation on which we can build. As emeritus alumni, we can continue to give back to this university that we all love.
I am proud to be recognized alongside of you as a member of the Class of ’65, and it’s my honor to be inducted today into the Emeritus Alumni Society.