Dear Alumni and Gator Advocates,
Many thanks for supporting the University of Florida during the Florida legislative session virtually, socially and in-person in Tallahassee. I am amazed at how much COVID-19 has changed our world in just a few short weeks, but I believe even more deeply in this university and its benefits for our fellow Floridians.
You have heard us talk a lot about UF’s goal of earning sustained recognition as one of our nation’s top-5 public universities. You have also heard us say that being among the very best is not really about bragging rights. I am reminded every day that excellence matters as some of the world’s best epidemiologists and public health experts on our campus partner with teams of professionals to save lives and speed the path toward normalcy.
Not surprisingly, the bulk of our focus these days is on responding to the virus and how we help our students, colleagues, families and state through this difficult time. That said, we are not losing sight of other important priorities. We will:
- Advance our state as a leader in artificial intelligence, resiliency, primary and secondary education, healthcare, economic diversification and other key areas;
- Remain focused stewards of students’ tuition dollars, the generous support of Florida’s taxpayers and private philanthropy. Already, UF:
- Spends the smallest percentage of our funding on administration than anyone else in the State University System,
- Offers a total cost to the student for a four-year degree that is 1/4th our system’s average, and
- Has the fourth-best student success outcomes in the nation, ahead of Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
- Find ways to not just help our economy bounce back, but to also bring additional economic diversification to our state, especially into higher wage sectors. We are building the right foundation at UF, where we are home to the world’s #1 biotech startup incubator and rank #3 in the nation for technology transfer, ahead of Stanford, MIT and Caltech.
My optimism for the state of Florida and the University of Florida remains strong despite the current hardships.
Thank you for all of your support and continued advocacy.