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Football Kickoff Luncheon

Noon - 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29 – Donald L. Tucker Civic Center

Good afternoon! I’m happy to be here today and grateful for the opportunity to thank all of the employers who are participating in Seminole Futures.

This is such a wonderful event because it really is a win-win for everyone. For the employers, you provide our students with opportunties to begin their professional careers.

And we hope we are helping you with your recruiting needs by introducing you to some of the best and brightest college graduates you will find anywhere.

Seminole Futures is just one of the many ways the Career Center helps our students from the time they step foot on campus through graduation and beyond.

From identifying a major to transitioning to a working professional, our students know they can count on the Career Center to guide them and offer the support they need.

Last year, the center offered career advising and counseling to 19,520 students, an increase of nearly 15 percent over the previous year.

Graduating students tell us that using the Career Center is the No. 1 way they found their job. And 70 percent of our graduating seniors already have one or more job offers within six months of graduation.

Those are numbers we can all be proud of because they say a lot about the excellence of our students, the support of our alumni and the interest we get from employers like you.

Those of you who have hired Florida State University students know that they are well prepared for the job market.

Not only are they highly educated, most of them have had hands-on experience through internships and volunteer work. Many have conducted research in their fields, and others have gained international experience through study abroad and scholarship programs.

Employers say that a capacity to think critically, communicate clearly and solve complex problems is often more important than a job candidate’s major.

At FSU, our coursework places an emphasis on critical thinking skills. We know this is working because you tell us that our students match your needs.

This is just one way FSU is pursuing higher levels of excellence. I think everyone knows that FSU aspires to be ranked among the Top 25 public universities in the nation, and I’m pleased to tell you that we are well on the way!

U.S. News & World Report recently ranked Florida State the 38th best public university in the nation! That’s a jump of five places from last year — the greatest gain of all the public universities in the Top 50.

Our outstanding graduation and retention rates have been key to our rise in the rankings. Our student retention rate is 93 percent, and our 6-year graduation rate is 79 percent.

That’s 9 percentage points above the graduation rate that U.S. News predicted we would have. Only three institutions in the Top 100 exceeded their predicted rate by a greater degree.

That’s a reflection of the quality of students we are admitting, the excellent education our faculty are providing them, and the exceptional support they receive from our staff.

We know that rankings aren’t everything. It’s hard to capture the complexity of a dynamic institution like FSU in a single number. For one thing, rankings don’t capture the true experience of a student-centered university such as FSU.

They don’t reflect our values — values like leadership and service and making a difference at home and around the world — the very things that make our graduates assets in the workplace.

But we understand that these rankings give students and parents important information about how well we are performing in certain areas.

And we also know that a higher ranking can increase the value of our graduates’ degrees, which can also help them in the job market.

Most importantly, we think striving for a higher ranking will help us to focus on things that will uultimately improve the quality of the education we offer our students.

We’ve been working on a new five-year strategic plan that builds on our strengths and will give us fresh momentum going forward. We expect to present the plan to our Board of Trustees for approval in October.

We think it captures an entrepreneurial spirit at FSU that has long distinguished it from other universities.

As you all know, virtually every profession demands a certain level of entrepreneurial thinking. We want to ensure that we are nurturing an environment that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship in all of our programs across campus.

The strategic plan also outlines the ways we will build on our culture of achievement to strengthen our most successful academic and research areas and lift others to higher prominence.

And it reflects our commitment to a diverse and inclusive community. This really is a top priority for me. That’s because having a multicultural campus enriches the academic environment for everyone and prepares our students for an increasingly diverse workforce and global marketplace.

Our strategic plan also reflects our goal to expand our efforts to ensure our students are successful in the classroom now and in the workplace and the community later.

Preparing our graduates for 21st century careers is a key component of the plan. That includes increasing opportunities for our students to participate in high-impact programs, including job shadowing, internships and part-time jobs.

We appreciate your continuing support in these efforts. Together, we are establishing a talent pipeline that will benefit the state and the nation.

It’s been said that success happens when preparation meets opportunity. That’s what is happening here today.

We are preparing our students to put their skills to work for you, and you are giving them the opportunity to launch their professional lives with your organization. Thanks for helping to make our Seminole Futures bright!