Linda and I have a tradition of living in one of the residence halls as new students move to campus. Last week, we moved into East Hall. Our hallmates are usually pleased to see us move in and, I expect, they are grateful when we move out as classes begin. Having the president and his wife knock on your residence hall door while you are taking a nap is not the best way to start your college experience. My apologies to Miguel, our East Hall RA.
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One of my favorite furnishings in the Dasburg House — the president’s house on campus — is a collection of framed historic UF photos, including this photo of nine young women posing with a hand-lettered basketball, “U of F ’03.”
Greetings, students, and welcome to the start of the Spring semester.
I recently received an email from a student graduating in December.
The Gators are planning to play five football games in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium this fall with 17,000 cheering fans in the stands, and yet there are no in-person graduation ceremonies. The University of Tennessee announced earlier this month in-person commencement ceremonies in November for its spring, summer and fall 2020 graduates.
My feelings are mixed as I walk around campus this fall. I’m happy to see students in masks studying in the Reitz Union or enjoying each other’s company outdoors, but I miss the energy of Turlington Plaza during class changes and the lunchtime crowds in the Plaza of the Americas.
UF is committed to reopening and welcoming students back to campus for the Fall semester. We are not waiting for COVID-19 to disappear, or for a cure or vaccine. We have decided that we must learn to live, study and work in the midst of COVID-19.
At the University of Florida, we have one statue of a UF president, Albert Murphree, who was our second president. We have three statues of Heisman Trophy winners: Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Tim Tebow. And we have many, many statues of alligators.
Many university presidents want only to hear and share good news. However, the only way our university can grow stronger and become greater is if we understand and are open to what needs to be improved.
Several years ago at another university, I met with the faculty members in one of the university’s colleges. I was responsible for leading the search for the college’s next dean, and I wanted to hear the faculty’s input on the search.
Warm greetings to our students and to all members of our extraordinary campus community, on this first day of classes of a new academic year!
With the start of Summer A and C, I’m reminded that summer is my favorite time of year at UF.