I recently had the opportunity to represent IFAS on the Inauguration Committee for Dr. Fuchs. It met all year, and a whole week of festivities were planned. The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences hosted an open house where we grow poinsettias, and Dr. Fuchs and his wife Linda attended and were given a tour by our great students. See here for a great story and here for some wonderful photos (flip through about halfway to see them) in the Independent Florida Alligator.
Dr. Jack Payne was on the platform in his full regalia (including hat) and Dr. Elaine Turner was as well (without the hat) for the formal investiture. Dr. Fuchs’ speech included several references to IFAS and CALS, and you can read the full text here. One of the things he mentioned was: “You would be captivated to learn how our scientists are remaking tropical agriculture for an ever-hungrier globe at the Tropical Research and Education Center in South Florida,” which was the first REC he was able to visit this year (he is scheduled to visit SWFREC in Immokalee in January).
I also think his vision for the future of land grant universities is laid out well here:
“Next, we sometimes associate our land-grant mission exclusively with our agricultural origins. We often think of the land-grant mission as the sole domain of our beloved IFAS. It’s time, I believe, for UF to be known as a leader in embracing a comprehensive land-grant mission across all its colleges that reshapes both rural and urban settings, helping a population headed toward 8 billion cope with the demands of living on a planet with finite resources.
We will continue to invest in and enhance our impact on Florida’s incredible agriculture industry, from farming to forestry. But just as our 13 research and education centers and extension facilities in all 67 counties are supporting robust agriculture and healthy and resilient cities, so our 16 colleges share in the land-grant mission, both rural and urban. From engineering to medicine to the arts and humanities, we will expand our reach and impact on society throughout an urbanizing state and world.”
I am excited to move with Dr. Fuchs, Dr. Payne, and our three IFAS deans to the future for the University of Florida.