President Saunders' Viewpoints, Op-Eds and Podcast Interviews
Dr. Martha D. Saunders shares her insights as University President through viewpoints, op-eds and podcast interviews.
At UWF, the highlight of the month is graduation day when we confer hard-earned bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees to our students and send them off to change the world.
You may have heard me describe the University of West Florida as a spirited community of learners, launching the next generation of big thinkers who will change the world. Our annual Student Scholars Symposium and Faculty Research Showcase demonstrates that vision. Thanks to the Office of Undergraduate Research that organizes this event, we have seen a vast growth in the number of people who participate in the symposium.
Under the leadership of professor Scott Keller, UWF’s Center for Supply Chain Management Excellence and the Department of Marketing, Supply Chain Logistics and Economics provide students with the skills and training required to earn success in the industry. UWF’s undergraduate program is the only one in our area, and has earned a reputation as a leading logistics program in the country.
If you noticed UWF folks nodding vigorously when CivicCon speaker, Tom Murphy, spoke recently, there’s a good reason for that. The former mayor of Pittsburgh discussed public-private partnerships and the keen role universities play in moving communities forward. We agree! UWF is squarely in the game with our community and region, and our plans for moving forward are already in motion.
As we say farewell to 2017, I think it’s safe to say it has been a very good year for UWF. From scoring high on the State University System Performance Based Funding metrics to scoring big in football, we made our mark on the past year and continue to build momentum for good things to come.
Today, the University of West Florida pumps $1.1 billion into Northwest Florida’s economy each year. UWF is a critical economic engine in Northwest Florida. Our institution diversifies the local economy by providing a talented workforce and contributing to the growth of existing and newly created businesses.
Twice this year, UWF has closed the campus for hurricanes. We were spared the wrath of Hurricane Irma and caught only a glancing blow from Hurricane Nate, but we seized the opportunity to use our resources to help our state and our community.
In my State of the University address this year, I reminded my fellow Argonauts that we have traveled a similar journey over the past 50 years. We have built solid programs with true academic quality. Our graduates thrive in the workplace and our current students benefit from high-impact experiences designed to boost professional readiness.
Volos proudly hails as the Home of the Argonauts – the site where the mythological hero, Jason, and friends set off for adventures in search of the Golden Fleece (which they found, by the way). Likewise, in 1967, the charter students of UWF elected to be called Argonauts in anticipation of similar adventures.
For many years, the University of West Florida has been a hidden gem, even from people who live in Pensacola. Our beautiful campus seemed to be a world away from Pensacola itself. Over time, we have become better known in our region and our town. Now it’s time to ensure that when people come to Pensacola, they know they are in a college town.
By working with our regional and national partners, UWF has the tools in place to help our area take the resources we already have and use them to create what is called an economic cluster around cybersecurity.
The UWF Innovation Campus Network will launch students into occupations and careers in areas that promote economic recovery, diversification and enhancement. That awesome goal will be accomplished by building multidisciplinary innovative knowledge clusters focused on high-demand programs of emphasis in STEM, medical disciplines, early learning and tourism/hospitality.