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.
No university has ever broken into that top-five ranking and stayed there for two consecutive years, until last month, when UF was ranked among the top five for the second year in a row. Berkeley and UCLA are tied for first, Michigan and Virginia tied for third, and UF and UNC are tied for fifth.
A shout-out of gratitude and admiration to all the staff and students who this past week welcomed our new students into residence and dining halls with cheerfulness and effectiveness, even in the heat and rain of August in Gainesville.
Since March is Women’s History Month, we checked with Carl Van Ness, university historian, for help unraveling a longstanding UF mystery. What he said renewed my appreciation for the early history of women at UF – their accomplishments and struggles.
As we all face the disappointments and threats caused by COVID-19, please know that the seemingly insurmountable difficulties we are facing do have an end and that each of us should be encouraged by the hope before us.
The accumulated risk to staff and faculty involved in so many ceremonies over many days, combined with the severe restrictions on students and guests before, during and after the ceremonies, has led us to this alternative: to have in-person ceremonies for everyone once COVID-19 subsides and to also celebrate each student in virtual ceremonies at the time they graduate.