June 17, 2014 - by

This is Florida State

Florida State University, celebrating its golden anniversary as a coeducational graduate research institution in 1997, has joined the nation’s elite in both academics and athletics.

Located on the oldest continuous site of higher education in Florida and building rapidly on the framework of a highly regarded liberal arts college for women, the University has emerged over the past 50 years as an institution of national and international esteem. Its stature is evidenced by a number of additions to its record of excellence in the 1990s:

  • In 1994, Florida State was classified a “Research University I” by the Carnegie Foundation, placing it among the nation’s top research universities.
  • In 1994, the college referral service, “Who’s Who Among American High School Students,” placed FSU among its top 10 — with such universities as Harvard, Duke, Stanford, North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Michigan-Ann Arbor and Yale — of most frequent choices of more than 100,000 of the nation’s best and brightest high school students who asked that a specific college be notified of their recognition in “Who’s Who.”
  • Vice President of the United States Al Gore spoke at the dedication of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State in 1994. The National Science Foundation established the $100 million magnet labin 1990 at FSU, which is partnered in research with the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Florida. A Nobel laureate in physics and a top Russian physicist were among the first scholars drawn to the faculty. The world’s largest magnet — two stories high and capable of generating 45 tesla or 1 million times the Earth’s magnetic field — was installed in 1995 at the NHMFL, located in the off-campus research complex, Innovation Park. In 1996, the NSF renewed and increased by 50 percent the NHMFL’s funding for another five years.
  • FSU created the first multipurpose student identification/banking card. The Card Application Technology Center is a national leader in “smart card” systems.
  • At the forefront of supercomputing since obtaining its first high-speed computer in 1985, FSU took yet another step in ultrafast and parallel computing in 1990 when it acquired two supercomputers, the Thinking Machine Corp. Connection Machine and the Cray Y-MP.
  • In fall 1994, the first tenants moved into the east side of the $100 million University Center, a classroom-and-office facility at Doak Campbell Stadium; the stadium’s south end zone also was enclosed and the adjacent Moore Athletic Center expanded. With the completion of the west side in 1996, University Center now provides 550,000 square feet of much needed academic space and a centralized location for student services.
  • In 1990, Florida State ranked second in popularity nationwide among high school seniors, based on the number of students who request that their Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores be sent to an institution. FSU was the only institution listed among the top 10 choices of both black and white college-bound students.
  • FSU’s high-tech program in structural biology in 1991 received the University’s largest single foundation grant, $4 million.
  • Capping more than a decade of national prominence in intercollegiate athletics, Florida State’s athletic teams, nicknamed “Seminoles,” joined the Atlantic Coast Conference as its ninth member in 1990. The FSU football team won the 1993 National Championship and its quarterback, Charlie Ward, won the University’s first Heisman Trophy.
  • The Dr. Bobby E. Leach Center, a state-of-the-art student recreation facility, with a pool, saunas, basketball and racquet-sport courts, was completed in 1991.
  • FSU ranked 20th in the nation for 1990-91 in the number of black Ph.D. students it graduates. Over the five years, 1986 to 1990, FSU ranked eighth nationally by granting doctorates to 70 African-Americans.

As this list of highlights attests, Florida State is excelling in the 1990s with exceptional strength, energy and vision for the future. Under the leadership of the University’s 12th president, Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, who took office in January 1994, FSU will continue to build on the foundation of its history of excellence in scholarship, research and service.

A senior member of the 10-member State University System, FSU was founded as an institution of higher learning in 1851 by legislative act and began in Tallahassee with its first students in 1857.

Today, FSU’s operating budget is $474.3 million. Faculty and administrators generate more than $102 million annually in external funding to supplement state-sponsored research. Three direct-support organizations serve to bolster the University: FSU Foundation, which raises millions in private gifts to support academics, Seminole Boosters and FSU Alumni Association.

The main campus is spread over 451.6 acres in Tallahassee; FSU, which has one of the smallest campuses in the SUS, has been actively acquiring land in the 1990s after years of being landlocked at 347 acres. FSU owns 1,281 acres in Leon, Bay, Franklin and Sarasota counties.

Within the state, the University maintains facilities at its 25-acre campus in Panama City, its Marine Laboratory on the Gulf of Mexico, the Appleton Museum in Ocala and the Asolo Performing Arts Center in Sarasota. The Center for Professional Development and Public Service, housed in the Augustus B. Turnbull III Florida State Conference Center on the edge of the campus, provides extensive credit and non-credit continuing education programs statewide.

Florida State offers 286 graduate and undergraduate degree programs through its eight colleges — Arts and Sciences; Business; Communication; Education; Engineering (operated jointly with Florida A&M University, a historically black institution); Human Sciences; Law; and Social Sciences (which also incorporates the Reubin Askew School of Public Administration and Policy) — and eight schools — Criminology and Criminal Justice; Information Studies; Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts; Music; Nursing; Social Work; Theatre; and Visual Arts and Dance.

With 1,655 members, the FSU faculty has included nine National Academy of Sciences elected members, nine American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellows and five Nobel laureates. It is backed by 2,887 administrative/professional and support staff.

Library holdings at Florida State include 2.1 million book titles, 16,384 serials and 4.5 million microforms. The main library facility, the Robert M. Strozier Library, is linked by computer to other state university and national research libraries. The Paul A.M. Dirac Science Center Library is located at the heart of the University’s science research complex. FSU also maintains extensive music, library science and law libraries.

Graduate students, who number more than 5,929, pursue advanced degrees in fields as diverse as business administration and theoretical particle physics. A majority of research done at FSU is the direct result of student effort, culminating in numerous books, monographs and journal articles relating to the whole spectrum of intellectual interests and the practical needs of society.

FSU, a residential campus, places a high priority on its 30,264 students and their needs and interests (of the student population: 45 percent are male; 55 percent are female; 20.1 percent are minorities; and 2.5 percent are foreign students). The University Honors Program, Disabled Student Services, International Student Center, Student Government, Flying High Circus and intramural sports are among more than 200 organizations and activities in which students may participate.

In all areas of its mission — excellence in teaching, research and public service — Florida State University is advancing boldly toward the 21st century.

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