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"Inside FAU" - June 2010

(video transcript)


Hello. I’m M.J. Saunders the new President of Florida Atlantic University. I’m so proud to say that I’ve been chosen to lead this remarkable young university into a future that’s literally overflowing with promise.

During the presidential selection process, I said that Florida Atlantic University is on the cusp of greatness, and I want you to know I meant that literally.

No other university in America has the advantage of sharing a campus with three of the world’s most accomplished biomedical research organizations — the Scripps Research Institute, the Torrey Pines Research Institute and the Max Planck Society. That unique positioning offers tremendous opportunity to our faculty and student researchers.

FAU was among the first universities nationally to recognize the ongoing value of partnerships of all kinds, and that foresight is about to start yielding major dividends not only for this institution but also for the economy of South Florida.

Our task now is to make sure that the University’s relationship with its partner organizations continues to develop in ways that are beneficial to FAU’s students, and I intend to play a very active personal role in making sure that happens.

FAU is distinctive in so many ways, from its origin as America’s first upper-division university to its wide reach across a very large service area through its network of seven campuses and sites.

The distributed campus system quite literally brings higher education to the doorstep of thousands of students — and that’s a critically important accomplishment that must and will be further developed. Our newest campus, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute will be at the forefront of exciting advances in marine biology, marine biotechnology and oceanography.

The ties that bind students and alumni to a university are rooted in shared memories that last a lifetime.

I know from long experience that student life activities can transcend differences between people and bring them together in a common cause. That’s why I’m excited about the approach of construction on Innovation Village, a residence, recreation, retail and athletics complex. You may know that my background is in science and that I’ve had a great deal of experience as an academic administrator, but there’s something else I’d like you to know about me: I really love collegiate athletics!

Nothing unites a university community like rooting for a winning team, and nothing does more to bring out that sense of unity than an on-campus stadium, so I’m going on record as being an enthusiastic supporter of the plan to build a multi-use stadium on the Boca Raton campus

And there’s so much else on our near-term horizon, including the development of FAU’s own medical school, whose mission will include cutting-edge research as well as physician education.

This is an exciting time to be coming on board, and I’m looking forward to meeting many students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the outside community in the days and weeks ahead. With your help, we can achieve the goals that will make FAU an even greater university.

Thank you very much and I look forward to meeting you all. Please if you see me on campus, stop me and tell me your story. I want to get to know you all, your hopes and aspirations, so that I can help to make FAU the best university in America.


Inside FAU is produced by University Communications & Marketing on behalf of the Office of the President.

Questions/Comments: office_of_the_president@fau.edu


I’m glad that you’ve decided to visit Inside FAU, where you’ll find a variety of informative videos about the University. Webisodes are posted on this site periodically, with a view toward informing the FAU community about interesting new programs, special accomplishments by faculty and students, and other notable developments.

Our University is growing very rapidly in many ways. The State of Florida has just approved the establishment of an independent medical education program at FAU, and that represents a truly exciting advance. Our program will have a significantly broader focus than others, because FAU is partnering with the Scripps Institute’s Kellogg School of Medicine and Technology to offer the Ph.D. in biomedical science as well as the M.D. degree. This is a rare opportunity that places Florida at the forefront of education in biomedical research as well as state-of-the-art clinical medicine. It will make FAU a major supplier of the next generation of scientists who will work with such international research giants as Scripps, the Max Planck Society and the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, all of which have partner relationships with FAU.

Other exciting developments are taking place throughout the University, as faculty members and students in all 10 colleges work to cross new frontiers in their fields of study. At the same time, FAU’s public profile has never been higher, thanks to events such as the recent visit to the Boca Raton campus of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet. Our University is quite literally taking its place on the national stage, and we are privileged to be playing a role in its growth at this historic moment.

I hope you will return to the Inside FAU site frequently throughout the year to get an insider’s look at some of the wonderful things that are happening at FAU. We have good reason to be proud!

Mary Jane Saunders, Ph.D.

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