10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 25 — Steps of Strozier Library
Good morning. I’m so pleased to be here to take part in this ceremony.
It’s good to see so many members of President Strozier’s family here today as we pay tribute to him and celebrate how much he meant to Florida State University.
Dr. Strozier’s tenure as president was short, but his vision was far-reaching and his impact was lasting.
He came here only a decade after Florida State College for Women became co-educational and officially became Florida State University.
His arrival in 1957 followed a period of tremendous growth — Florida State tripled its enrollment, built acres of classrooms, dormitories, gymnasiums, stadiums, auditoriums, laboratories and what President Strozier called a “magnificent” library.
President Strozier knew that the heart and soul of any university is its library. So it was fitting that FSU named this building in his honor after he died, suddenly and too soon.
And it’s also fitting that we recognize him with a statue right here by his beloved library.
I did not know President Strozier personally. I came to this university as a student in the 1960s after he had already passed away. But I knew of him.
I studied in this library, and I have fond memories of the time I spent here. This was long before anyone called it “Club Stroz.” And long before it ever occurred to anybody that you could put a coffee shop in a library.
I know some might find this hard to believe, but Strozier Library is actually one of the most popular night spots in Tallahassee. You can come here at virtually any time — day or night — and find a packed house.
I think President Strozier would have loved to have seen students actively engaging in higher learning and this library still thriving as the center of Florida State’s academic life.
I started learning more about President Strozier soon after I took office as university president. As I was preparing for my investiture, I came across Dr. Strozier’s inaugural address.
I was so struck by something he said that I quoted him in my own speech. He said:
“This is not my university or your university; it is rather our university. It belongs to the generations who have already given it their allegiance, just as it belongs to the generations who are yet to come.”
I’m so glad this quote is included on the plaque next to this sculpture because it reflects Dr. Strozier’s belief that we ALL have a role in making this university great and perhaps even a responsibility to do so.
That’s how we honor all of those who worked so hard to make Florida State the preeminent university it is today and help lay the foundation for all those who will follow in our footsteps.
Today, we honor President Strozier. He saw this university’s potential for greatness and knew what it would take to get there. He wanted to expand graduate education and research, and he knew the importance of private fundraising.
He set Florida State on a course to become one of the best public research universities in the nation. But he felt strongly that universities also have a responsibility to educate students in the liberal arts, teach them to seek the truth and help them develop their moral character.
Those values live on here at Florida State. We want to prepare our students to be successful in their careers and to be good citizens who make a difference in the world.
I’d like to thank our Master Craftsman Studio for this wonderful sculpture. Your creation will help us tell the story of President Strozier’s many contributions to this university for generations to come.