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The Women for Florida State University

Backstage Pass to the Very Best of FSU

6 p.m. Saturday, March 19 - Alumni Center

Thank you, Cassandra. I want to commend you and all of the FSU students and Foundation staff who volunteered their time to make this wonderful weekend possible.

Let me also extend my congratulations to Joyce Miles on winning the Gift of Wisdom Award.

I am so excited to be here to celebrate Florida State University’s past, present and future and to honor the women who have shaped this great university!

We have a lot to celebrate! I’m so pleased that the Women for FSU’s endowment has now passed $250,000!

And, as you heard in this morning’s meeting, we have just received a gift that will launch us into a second phase of fundraising to reach a $500,000 goal.

I want to thank Katee Tully and Helen Levine for their generosity in supporting the Women for FSU’s signature project — the Women’s Leadership Institute.

A gift from Katee and Helen’s foundation, the Tully/Levine Family Fund, will support the Leadership Institute held every October.

What’s more, they have pledged to support the institute for the next three years after that!

The Leadership Institute is such a wonderful opportunity for undergraduate women, so I’m glad to hear that the goal of your fundraising efforts is to expand the institute beyond a weekend.

Programs that help young women develop their leadership skills pay tribute to this university’s roots as one of the best women’s colleges in the country.

This legacy of female academic excellence blazed a trail for the Florida State University that we all know and love today.

Great female students, athletes and leaders are an important part of our history and will be a vital part of the university’s greatness in the coming years.

And, let me tell you, there is a real sense of excitement in the air about Florida State and the direction we are headed.

Everywhere I go, people share with me their optimism for Florida State’s future. And that’s why our alumni and friends want to invest in our students, our faculty and our academic and athletic programs.

I don’t think it will surprise anyone here that it was a woman who was responsible for giving us the largest gift in FSU’s history!

In December, Jan Moran and the Jim Moran Foundation gave Florida State University 100 MILLION DOLLARS.

By now you probably know that the gift will allow us to create the first interdisciplinary, degree-granting school of entrepreneurship of its kind in the nation.

We’re excited about the opportunities this new school will afford our students and the impact they will have on this area, the state and the nation.

This gift is just one of so many things to be excited about.

We received some wonderful news a couple weeks ago: FSU is one of the nation’s top producers of both Fulbright faculty scholars AND Fulbright students!

We had seven faculty members who won Fulbrights to conduct research abroad this academic year. We were 3rd in the nation among research institutions for the most faculty to win Fulbrights.

And we had 11 students who won Fulbrights to study or teach English abroad. That is more than any other institution in Florida! We are so proud of these students — and just incidentally, seven of those 11 students are women!

We’ll have a lot more of these accolades to celebrate in the future if the applicants for next year’s freshman class are any indication. They are a very impressive group! Their average GPA is an incredible 4.2 and their average SAT score is 1897.

I’m pleased that we are able to attract such top quality students while addressing diversity and inclusion. This is a top priority of mine.

These new freshmen will join a high-achieving student body and will no doubt contribute to our outstanding graduation and retention rates.

Currently, our retention rate is 93 percent, and our 6-year graduation rate is 79 percent. Those are excellent numbers. In fact, only three institutions in U.S. News and World Report’s Top 100 exceeded their predicted rate of graduation by more than FSU.

In addition to our excellent students, we have top-notch faculty whose research is recognized around the world. We have a creative and efficient staff.

These factors will help us achieve our goal to be ranked among the Top 25 public universities in the country. In truth, we think a Top 25 ranking is a more accurate reflection of the quality of the education we offer.

I am confident we can achieve our goals with your help. Please consider giving to our Raise the Torch capital campaign to support the programs and initiatives that mean the most to you.

Private funds, like the Women for FSU endowment, will allow us to strengthen our most successful programs and lift other areas to higher prominence.

Thank you, Women for FSU, for your passion and dedication to Florida State University. Jean and I are fortunate to count you as friends.