John Thrasher became Florida State University’s 15th president on Nov. 10, 2014. As president, Thrasher has focused his efforts on elevating FSU’s reputation as a preeminent research institution. He has presided over a $1 billion fundraising campaign, advanced the university’s academic and research mission, championed diversity and inclusion, and welcomed the best and brightest students in the university’s history.

Under Thrasher’s leadership, FSU’s accomplishments include:

Academic Programs, Faculty and Student Success

  • FSU has accepted the most academically talented students in its history, and they are winning top national awards and fellowships. The university also boasts a 93 percent retention rate and the second highest public university graduation rate in the state. Only three institutions in the nation’s Top 100 exceeded their predicted graduation rate by more than FSU.
  • With a focus on earning national recognition for the university’s best academic programs, FSU received Top 10 rankings from U.S. News and World Report in 2016 for its College of Business undergraduate programs in risk management and insurance and real estate. In addition, the Journal of Criminal Justice Education ranked the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice the No.1 program in the nation for faculty research.
  • FSU is one of the nation’s top producers of both faculty Fulbright scholars and Fulbright students. FSU is ranked 3rd among research institutions for the most faculty to win Fulbrights, with seven faculty members winning the prestigious award in 2015-2016. Eleven students won Fulbrights to study or teach English abroad — more than any other institution in Florida.
  • As one of Florida’s three preeminent universities since the Florida Legislature established the designation, FSU for the first time met all 12 of the preeminence metrics in 2015-2016.
  • One of Thrasher’s top priorities has been to address salary compression and market inequities of faculty pay. Working with the faculty union, in 2015 the FSU administration awarded market equity pay raises to more than 600 faculty members.


  • Working with his leadership and development teams, Thrasher oversaw the university’s largest private gift to date and the largest ever given to a public university in Florida — $100 million from Jan Moran and the Jim Moran Foundation to establish the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship.


  • Thrasher provided funding to provide 100 additional spots for a record total of 400 new students admitted to the Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement program. CARE has received national attention for its role in FSU’s success in graduating African-American and other traditionally underrepresented students.
  • Florida State University was recognized in 2016 by INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine as one of seven Diversity Champion colleges and universities in the nation. In addition, FSU received INSIGHT Into Diversity’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award in 2014 and 2015.


  • During fiscal year 2014-15, the five-year aggregate total of research grants and contracts awarded to FSU exceeded $1 billion dollars for the first time.
  • Laura Greene, an internationally known thought leader in condensed matter physics and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, was hired as chief scientist of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

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