Finishing the Academic Year with Success and Fun

More will be accomplished on our campus in the next few days than in any other week of the entire year. Thousands of papers, projects and exams will be completed, and more than 10,000 UF degrees will be conferred.  This is the time of year when all of us experience the greatest stress and joy. 

Although I no longer take exams, I do have a commencement address to write, deliver and practice in the O’Dome’s Exactech Arena before the first commencement in two weeks.  In the past three years, I have participated in 52 commencements and know personally that delivering the commencement address is one of the most enjoyable and terrifying responsibilities of a president.

I strive for every commencement address to be memorable (we have fun), meaningful (I only make one point), and brief (12 minutes is ideal).  Although the address is not yet complete, the research is done, I know the point I intend to make, and we are certainly going to have fun. This spring’s commencement address will reflect on the power of community as we celebrate the accomplishments of each individual graduate.

At commencement, this intriguing combination of community and individuality is very visible in the gowns and mortarboards (caps) of those participating in the ceremony. Although the administration would never encourage students to decorate their mortarboards, if you are graduating and do decide to decorate your mortarboard (just saying), please take a photo before the ceremony and post it to #UFGrad.  I intend to show photos of decorated mortarboards during my address.  If you have suggestions for how I should decorate my cap, please send to  I need good ideas.

I do pray that all our students, faculty and staff will have the stamina and clarity to finish the academic year with both great success and joy.  If you are graduating, I look forward to celebrating with you at commencement in two weeks and if you are continuing at UF, I wish for you a wonderful summer.