Dear Faculty and Staff Members:
Greetings and welcome to a new academic year! I hope your summer was refreshing and renewing, and that you feel as enthusiastic as I do about the year ahead. If you’re new to UF, we couldn’t be more pleased to welcome you to our community.
I’d like to share a few indicators of our progress as a university. We begin the fall semester on a strong note, with great promise for the year ahead.
I am thrilled that two more faculty members were elected to the National Academies this spring. Many other faculty received prestigious awards in disciplines ranging from the arts to the sciences. This past fiscal year we welcomed 436 new faculty hires to our campus, including 123 tenure-track faculty.
The fiscal year ending in June set new records for philanthropic gifts and commitments, contracts and grants and licenses and options for UF discoveries and technologies; our research grants totaled $724 million.
Early indications are that we have the highest enrollment in UF’s history this fall, with more than 53,100 students as of the last day of regular registration on Friday. These students include another exceptionally accomplished entering class of nearly 7,300 freshmen, including resident freshmen, UF Online freshmen and PaCE students, as well as about 1,850 new transfer students. We also have about 4,500 new graduate and professional students.
Looking to the year ahead, we’re on track to open the revitalized O’Connell Center in December and the Newell Hall Student Learning Commons in April. We plan to open the new chemistry building, Joseph Hernandez Hall, in early 2017. Meanwhile, the impressive new UF Health hospital towers on Archer Road are enclosed and will be completed by December 2017.
I am particularly pleased about our university-wide goal-setting initiative, The Decade Ahead, and grateful to those of you who have participated. I appreciate your thoughtful discourse and your ambitions on behalf of our colleges, and now, your work on the important next step – moving forward to reach our goals.
Finally, I would like to note the considerable efforts underway for our launch next fall of one of the largest fundraising campaigns of any public university – the $3 billion “Go Greater” campaign. Your unparalleled teaching, research and commitment to our students and to the university all help us make a compelling case to donors and friends.
Indeed, as I begin my second academic year as president, I have never been more inspired by faculty, staff and students or more optimistic about our university’s future. I wish everyone a happy and productive fall semester!
W. Kent Fuchs
President, University of Florida