University of west florida celebrated success in every season of 2022 – Pensacola News Journal

One of my favorite quotes from “Steel Magnolias” came from the gossipy Truvy, who frequently quipped, “I think there’s a story there.” Like Truvy, I love good stories, and the past year has generated an abundance of them for UWF.
January brought with the new year a generous gift from Sandy Sansing to name our new Sports Medicine Center. The same month, U.S. News and World Report ranked UWF online programs among the best in the country.
Sansing giftUWF’s new Sports Medicine Center gets $600,000 gift from alum Sandy Sansing
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February’s sweetest news showed UWF nursing students post top scores on the National Council Licensure Exam. UWF surpassed the national average for first-time pass rate by 10 percentage points and exceeded the state average by more than 20 points.
In March, we learned UWF’s programming for veterans had earned us a Top Five Military Friendly ranking nationally. The same month the ever-popular Women in Leadership Conference – always a sell-out — set record attendance.
We further strengthened our relationship with Pensacola State College in April with the launch of a new 2+2 articulation agreement, assuring PSC graduates of a smooth transition to UWF.
More:UWF’s Pensacola campus is a unique ecosystem. This professor works to protect and study it
Our strong local legislative delegation brought home wonderful resources in May, including much-needed funding for deferred maintenance. My favorite activity of the month is graduation, where we challenge newly minted alumni to take the education they have earned at UWF and make it count. Our graduates scattered to careers across the state and beyond. This year, we celebrated our first Peace Corps program graduate.
June had us bursting with pride as UWF earned the top spot in the state for percentage of students employed one year after graduation. A year of planning came to fruition when our Board of Trustees approved a 10-year master plan for facilities development that will include demolitions, renovations, remodeling and planning for five new construction projects. In addition, we’re improving open spaces and circulation, and leaning in on conservation of our precious natural resources. The end of the fiscal year revealed the small but mighty fundraising team in University Advancement had secured a record-breaking 89 major gifts as well as the greatest number of individual donors in history.
July saw the hot launch of a new UWF School of Education, bringing synergy and innovation to professional educators. The College of Business announced a new program in human resources management for launch in the fall.
The opening of the 22-23 academic year in August had us celebrating another year of record enrollment.
September gave us swagger as we again were named a top public school in the South by U.S. News & World Report and a Great College to Work For — top 10 nationally in large university category. We won our seventh national excellence in diversity award. A generous gift from Aylstock, Witkin, Kreis & Overholtz law firm named the Center for Leadership in the College of Business. As caring members of the community’s health, we hosted the Northwest Florida Heart Challenge, culminating in doubling the funds raised the previous year.
Faculty research stepped up in October with a UWF professor and graduate student developing a framework for rapid 3D modeling using drones. Retired professor Mohammad Rashid and his wife, Fatema, donated $1 million to name the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department he helped build.
We honored our veterans in November by extending the UWF’s Veterans Day celebration to Veterans Week, featuring an event in partnership with the Naval Aviation Museum honoring resilient military families. The long-awaited opening of Makerspace at the Museum of Commerce will offer the public opportunities for creative, entrepreneurial and artistic activities.
As 2022 came to an end, we spent December wrapping up another precious year devoted to fulfilling our mission as a leading institution of higher learning. A new provost will take on the responsibilities of the academic division in 2023. Our athletics program will likely add to its 114 conference titles in the coming year, and the UWF football team will continue the Argo Advance under the leadership of a new head coach.
As ever, UWF appreciates you, our community. Happy New Year from your hometown University!
Martha D. Saunders is president of the University of West Florida.


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