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National Fellows Dinner

Backstage Pass to the Very Best of FSU

5:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 24 - Great Hall, Room 4003, HSF House

Good evening. I want to welcome you here today to honor all of our students who excel in their chosen academic fields.

As Florida State University rises in the national rankings and pursues even higher levels of academic quality, we want to continue to send the message that we value undergraduate research, that we help our students secure the most important fellowships and scholarships, and that we have an outstanding Honors program.

I love the fact that our Honors, Scholars and Fellows House is located right here in the heart of campus — a shining beacon that tells current and prospective students Florida State is going to do everything it can to help them achieve their dreams.

I continue to be amazed by our students. By the time most of you graduate, you will have completed several internships, volunteered dozens of service hours in the community, worked closely with professors on research projects that used to be done only at the graduate level, and traveled overseas to conduct research or implement projects in every corner of the globe.

Now, new studies are showing that these kinds of experiences in college will have lifelong benefits — engaged students become engaged employees who report higher career satisfaction and greater well-being.

That’s why one of my goals is to ensure that we continue to cultivate a warm and caring campus environment that provides academic rigor and an array of research, creative efforts and engagement opportunities to students.

The Office of National Fellowships has been at the forefront of creating this kind of environment at FSU. I’d like to congratulate Craig Filar and his staff as the office begins its 10th anniversary year. I want to thank them for encouraging our students to pursue their dreams — and in some cases to inspire dreams students didn’t even know were possible.

Since its inception in the spring of 2005, the Office of National Fellowships has mentored and assisted some of our most talented students.

In the past 10 years, our students have won more than 140 nationally competitive awards, including:

  • three prestigious Rhodes scholarships
  • three Truman scholarships
  • seven Goldwater scholarships
  • 18 Hollings scholarships
  • 14 Boren scholarships
  • four Pickering fellowships
  • and 60 Fulbright grants.

Our students have traveled to more than 40 countries, expanding FSU’s influence around the globe.

I am extremely proud of our record, and proud of you. You represent not only Florida State’s best and brightest, but you are also among the hardest working students. Your success elevates the reputation of this university.

I know the process of applying for those prestigious awards can be challenging. It requires courage, endurance and persistence, but you did it!

I think you will find that this process will open doors for you throughout your life. I hope your experience working with the Office of National Fellowships will encourage you to continue to strive for excellence.

Congratulations on your achievement. I’m confident you will succeed in whatever path you take. On that journey, remember you will always be part of the FSU family.

Thank you.