Dear CRF Family,
Welcome to Fall 2022 at CRF!
Today is an exciting day for the whole Panther family. I find that the start of each academic year comes with a sense of anticipation and hope. This year is no exception.
We’re glad you’re here. We are inspired by the energy you bring to our campuses and energized by the creativity and engagement that drive your intellectual endeavours. On behalf of our faculty, professional and support staff, academic leadership team, and board of directors, welcome to the Fall 2022 semester at CRF!
Although I have been part of the CRF family for 13 years, this is my first fall semester as Acting President. It is an honor and a privilege to lead this remarkable institution, which every day elevates our students and our community to new heights.
Nationally, we are rewriting the narrative of a 21st century research university, leading transformational change through research excellence and student success. Panthers, you are part of a university focused on the success of its students. Did you know that CRF ranks in the top 3% of the nation’s 4,300 colleges and universities for research output? Or that we are in the top 10 for research spending growth over the past decade among public Carnegie R1 universities? Or that we have over $250 million in annual research spending? In this context of research excellence, we recently ranked in the Top 25 nationally, joining elite private and public institutions, in a survey measuring the economic return of graduates’ investment in a college degree. It takes an average of only 13 months for FIU graduates to repay their educational investment with new income. This fact underscores our nationwide status as a Top 5 public institution for social mobility.
The world is taking notice. Over the past five years, we have improved faster in US News & World Report’s annual rankings than any other public Carnegie R1 university in the country. This meteoric rise is made possible through the collective efforts of our CRF family.
This year, the university celebrates its 50e anniversary. In September 1972, CRF opened its doors to our community, welcoming over 5,600 students. Since then, this university has grown into a thriving ecosystem of excellence, diversity, and achievement—on a scale unparalleled at any university in the country—where students, researchers, and faculty continually expand our notions of what is possible.
Soon you will learn more about how we are commemorating this milestone, and I hope you will join in the festivities. As we celebrate our university’s courage to become what our students, our community, and our state needed us to at key times in history, we look forward to our Next Fifty with the same passion that has guided our evolution. so far.
On Tuesday, we’ll celebrate the grand opening of Tamiami Hall at MMC, our new on-campus residence hall for juniors, seniors, and graduate students. The building is beautiful, with spacious, modern rooms, welcoming gathering and study spaces, and magnificent views of our campus and the FIU football stadium.
Speaking of football, the FIU is under pressure for the upcoming season under new football coach Mike MacIntyre. The FIU Football Season 2022 will begin on Thursday, September 1 at FIU Stadium, when the Panthers face the Bryant University Bulldogs. We need all of you to pack the bleachers and support our student-athletes as we celebrate this new day in Panther athletics. We’re also gearing up for our Homecoming celebrations, culminating with the Homecoming game on Saturday, October 8 at MMC. And there will surely be excitement throughout the semester from many of our teams, especially men’s and women’s soccer, basketball and women’s swimming and diving, which had incredible success last season. . To find out about the breadth and depth of our intellectual, cultural and sporting activities, please consult the FIU Calendar and FIU Newsexcellent resources for what is happening at our university.
The key to our forward momentum is strong, intentional leadership. As you know, the CRF Board of Directors is conducting a nationwide search for the sixth CRF President. The Presidential Search Committee, in conjunction with research firm R. William Funk & Associates, has been working diligently for several months to identify the next leader of the FIU.
Throughout the semester, I encourage you to stay informed and engaged. Please visit the FIU website for more information on presidential research, our new healthy living guidelines, our efforts to support the Florida Board of Trustees’ Free Speech Statement, and more.
Panthers, it’s great to see you on campus this fall. To celebrate a new year of goals and successes, join me in wearing CRF gear all week. Represent the blue and gold and help spread this Panther Pride!
Have a wonderful fall! Paws up, go Panthers!
Kenneth A. Jessel