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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
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In my first semester as UF president in Spring 2015, I visited The Independent Florida Alligator to introduce myself and to ask two questions. 

I asked the editors if they would show me how to use Twitter and if they would allow me to write a monthly column. With their help, I posted my first Tweet and they gave me a deadline of 5 p.m. Friday and a 500-word limit for the column.

My August 2015 column reflected on being a freshman at UF, as president and as a student. 

Although it took eight years, I’m now a graduating senior and expect this will be my final column. My last day as president will be Feb. 5, 2023. For the past eight years, there are two words from my August 2015 Alligator column I have worked to remember. 

First, the opportunity we all have to experience joy in our years at UF, and second, the privilege we have to be members of the UF community. As I said in 2015, Linda and I live on campus and get to experience all aspects of the university, from the excitement of the start of the academic year to the fun of homecoming weekend to the shared joy and celebration of our Spring, Fall and winter commencements.

I’ve loved taking selfies with students at Turlington Plaza, attending Gator athletic events, attending student gatherings in the Reitz Union and so many more aspects of UF life. The beauty of our historical campus and community, combined with broad excellence in academics and athletics, creates an environment where students enjoy working hard in their studies and learn to excel personally and professionally — all while having a lot of fun.

Also, as I shared in 2015, it’s a privilege to be part of an institution that isn’t complacent about its position as one of the world’s greatest universities. It’s been amazing to watch so many faculty, staff and students embrace new opportunities and become even more exceptional at what they do, both in their own work and in raising the stature of the university. 

This is a university whose degrees will be even more valuable in the future than they are today. With that privilege comes great responsibility, the responsibility we have to live lives for a purpose greater than simply for ourselves. 

I look forward to serving as an electrical and computer engineering faculty member with President-elect Sasse as our university’s leader. I wish for him and his family — and for all of us — great joy as we experience the privilege of being Florida Gators.

As we prepare for final exams, I encourage everyone to join me in joyful fun for the Lighting of The Holiday Gator at Century Tower on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 5 p.m. There will be wonderful holiday music, food and drink, as the Holiday Gator appears again. I extend to you my very best wishes for a strong finish to the Fall semester.

Kent Fuchs is the president of the University of Florida.

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