Welcome to the University of Florida!
Let me start off by saying we are extremely pleased to have such an extraordinary class join our ranks.
We had a record 28,121 applications this year for a projected freshman enrollment of 6,600, which meant we had to be even more selective than we usually are. Half our admitted students this year had grade point averages ranging from 4.1 to 4.4 and SAT scores between 1240 and 1410.
With such accomplished academic backgrounds, I know you had many options for where you could attend college. I am gratified that you made the choice to attend UF. You are in store for a first-class education. But you will also have more opportunities than you can imagine to make lifelong friends, get acquainted with foreign lands, pursue a sport or hobby, delve into serious science or scholarship and possibly discover your calling.
As a student at one of the nation's largest and most comprehensive universities, you have the option of pursuing your choice of more than 100 undergraduate degree programs, 200 graduate programs and 30 combined degree programs. Options range from botany and Jewish studies to early childhood education and sports management.
No less than nine libraries are located on campus, including Library West, where a Starbucks makes studying that much easier.
We have dozens of study-abroad programs: UF has international centers in Paris and Beijing and ties to universities in Europe, Asia and Africa.
For those of you who choose to pursue majors in the physical or social sciences, there is no reason to wait until graduate school to try research. Through such outlets as UF's University Scholars Program, you can already begin working with faculty members in their labs. If you choose to pursue a liberal arts degree, you will also find plenty of opportunities to work one-on-one with faculty members.
I know these first few weeks can be stressful as you adjust to your new homes and begin finding your way around this huge, complicated campus. For assistance, I encourage you to take full advantage of all the programs for first-year students offered through the Dean of Students Office.
In conclusion, I want to stress that we continue to improve UF and the quality of the undergraduate experience despite this era of tight budgets. Last academic year, for example, we opened the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, which already has established a track record of sponsoring speeches and discussions with U.S. senators, nationally noted authors and others at the center of public interest. I am confident that you will see and participate in many other enriching changes during your time here.
As our newest Gators, you have an incredible experience ahead of you. Make the most of it, and welcome to The Gator Nation!