I’m something of a freshman here at UF — as my family has spent the past six months getting to know this amazing place and its amazing people. I’ve met faculty who are changing lives and innovating for our future. I’ve talked to students in the 16 colleges, from agricultural and life sciences to veterinary medicine. I’ve cheered for the Gators here and afar, and I’ve run the stadium stairs a bunch too.
UF exists — at our core — to serve students in the mission of learning. Learning is hard work. The administration, your professors and the UF staff want all Gators to engage and wrestle with big ideas. We want those ideas to challenge you and we want you to find joy in that challenge.
We want to build and for our Gator grads to go out and serve Florida and the world.
To do that, let’s set some priorities:
Rarely will you find a higher concentration of knowledge and inquiry than at these 2,000 acres. During your time here, you’ll engage complicated and challenging ideas – that’s what education is all about. Our community is built on a commitment to engaging ideas in an open environment of mutual trust and respect. Gators are smart enough, wise enough and compassionate enough to understand that nobody is going to agree on everything. We’re going to argue with open hearts and sharp minds.
Like exercise, the hard work of learning can be uncomfortable, but it builds muscle. As you start classes with UF’s talented professors, let’s embrace the work before us. You’ll learn how to think. You’ll develop resilience and agency. You’ll gain skills and confidence.
We all have things we love and are great at – and things we dislike and think we can’t do. But human beings are too interesting for lives of mere comfort and consumerism. What do you want to be known for? Maybe you know, and maybe you don’t. But go try, fail and try again. This is a perfect time to learn and ask questions you don’t know the answer to.
As a crack-of-dawn-workout guy, I recommend stadiums at the Swamp, the Southwest Recreation Center and getting out on Museum Road by Lake Alice. Go out and support our student athletes as we chase more national championships.
Learn the life-long habit of learning
We are a community dedicated to preparing you for the joys, responsibilities, changes and challenges of life. The work we start here is just the beginning. I hope you’ll also think of college as a proving ground for developing the mindset and constitutional flexibility to be successful – and fulfilled – in a lifetime of learning. Learning is a habit – use your time on campus to cultivate that habit and you’ll be prepared for a lifetime.
Make your time at UF a time in your life that moves and inspires you.
Let's enjoy this Fall,