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Senator Harrell, District 25 — Press Release


April 19, 2016

CONTACT: Katie Betta, (850) 339-7087

President-Designate Negron Visits UNF, UF, UCF on State University System Tour

Incoming Senate President to Hear from Students, Faculty and Administrators at all State Universities During 4-Day Statewide Tour

Lakeland —

Florida Senate President-Designate Joe Negron (R-Stuart) today visited the University of North Florida (UNF), the University of Florida and the University of Central Florida (UCF) as part of his 4-day listening tour of Florida’s State University System.

Senators Lizbeth Benacquisto (R-Ft. Myers) and Anitere Flores (R-Miami), and Tom Kuntz, Chair of the State University System Board of Governors, joined President-Designate Negron for each stop on today’s tour. Senators Aaron Bean (R-Fernandina Beach), Rob Bradley (R-Fleming Island), Travis Hutson (R-St. Augustine) and Audrey Gibson (R-Jacksonville) joined the tour for the visit to UNF. The group visited the LEEDS certified Biology building and had the opportunity to view several student research projects. They later met with UNF President John Delaney, students and senior faculty for a discussion on various issues impacting student life at the university.

“Many UNF students are working and going to school fulltime. As a result, these students are leaving with less debt and have high job placement rates upon graduation. I worked through college, and I think it is important for students to contribute to their education financially. The downside is that it is taking some of these students longer to graduate because in certain circumstances financial insecurity is guiding the pace of their education. This is certainly an issue I would like to take a closer look at in the coming months,” said President-Designate Negron.

Senator Bradley and Senator Alan Hays (R-Umatilla) joined the group for a visit to the University of Florida. The Senators ate lunch in the student union and had the opportunity to sit down with students who discussed their coursework and future career plans. Later, the Senators met with UF President Kent Fuchs, Provost Joe Glover, Cammy Abernathy, Dean of the College of Engineering, and several students for a more in-depth discussion regarding UF’s effort to become one of the top ten public universities in the country.

“We had the opportunity to discuss how UF is using pre-eminence funding to recruit faculty from across the county, and the administration shared the challenges they face to remain competitive when existing faculty members are recruited by other schools,” continued President-Designate Negron. “The university also shared their goal of hiring additional faculty to further improve their student faculty ratio.”

Senate President Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando), Senator Dorothy Hukill (R-Port Orange), Senator David Simmons (R-Longwood), Senator Darren Soto (D-Kissimmee), and Senator Geraldine Thompson (D-Orlando) joined the group for the final stop of the day at the University of Central Florida. The Senators discussed a variety of issues with students, including a conversation on the challenges and opportunities of online courses, UCF’s successful efforts to transition students from regional community and state colleges to the university through the two plus two model, and their effort to recruit National Merit Scholars eligible for a Benacquisto Scholarship. The group then visited the Department of Psychology for a meeting with students and faculty regarding job opportunities.

“UCF students gave us a great deal of insight regarding the emphasis their financial aid office puts on limiting student debt,” said President-Designate Negron. “They also discussed the flexibility online courses provide, particularly for students who are working, or have financial responsibilities within their families.”

Tomorrow President-Designate Negron will visit Florida Polytechnic University, the University of South Florida and the New College of Florida.

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