When UF President Kent Fuchs stepped onto the field Saturday night, Gator fans roared. As the honorary Mr. Two Bits, he chanted, "Two Bits! Four Bits! Six bits! A dollar! All for the Gators, stand up and holler!"
And the Gators did.
His gameday debut kicked off his official welcome to UF as the university’s 12th president. Throughout the week, students will celebrate Fuchs’ formal inauguration to UF.
Like Bernie Machen, who served UF as president from 2004 to 2014, Fuchs began his duties as president in January but will be inaugurated this Fall.
Fuchs said he will meet students today on the Reitz Union North Lawn from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Later in the week, UF colleges, libraries and other campus units will host open houses and talks as part of the celebrations.
The festivities will culminate Friday at a formal inauguration ceremony in the University Auditorium, followed by a reception open to the public outside the Reitz Union, Fuchs said.
UF public relations junior Meaghan Hanley said she’s looking forward to talking with Fuchs today.
When the 20-year-old met Fuchs over the summer as a Preview staffer, she said she noticed how attentive he was when it came to students. She thinks he cares about every student’s well-being.
"It’s kind of like welcoming your best friend to campus," Hanley said. "He’s a really great guy."
Fuchs said he loves that the week isn’t just a celebration of him: It’s a celebration of UF.
"It’s not just a ceremony and a reception," he said. "The best parts of any of these events are being with the students."
He said his favorite part of meeting students is seeing their enthusiasm for the university.
"It’s just contagious and infectious," he said. "It energizes me."
UF plant science junior Ashley Francois said she wants to talk with Fuchs today to give him the same support he gives the Student Body.
"He comes to (student) events, so we should show our appreciation and support for him," the 20-year-old said.
Hanley said she’s going to today’s student event because she said she believes it’ll be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
"You only have one undergrad experience," she said. "Being there for an inauguration, that’s something special."
UF President Kent Fuchs was chosen as UF’s 12th president in October 2014. He began his duties in January. Here’s what he’s been up to:
Fuchs takes his first selfie at Innovation Academy convocation Jan. 5
Fuchs writes his first column for the Independent Florida Alligator: "On teaching, Twitter and being a Gator."
Fuchs and Gators head coach Jim McElwain switch positions for a day as part of an April Fools Day video.
He announces the creation of his goal-setting task force, a group of professors and deans who are gathering information about UF to determine goals for the next 10 years.
The goal-setting task force releases its first goals for UF, which included having a diverse Student Body, expanding research opportunities and hiring distinguished faculty.
Fuchs decides to raise the minimum hourly wage for UF staff from $10 to $12 an hour.
He welcomes UF freshmen at his first New Student Convocation.
Fuchs delivers his first Fall State of the University address.
Fuchs serves as Honorary Mr. Two Bits at the UF vs. FSU game.
UF President Kent Fuchs leads a crowd of more than 90,000 people in a cheer as honorary Mr. Two Bits before the Florida State University game on Nov. 28, 2015, in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. “It was incredible,” he said afterwards, about leading the cheer.