1990's - Present
Years of Style, Class, Accomplishment
The D'Alemberte Era at Florida State University
list of his accomplishments goes on and on but, beyond the dry statistics
and recounting of facts,
are the style, the class, the intellect, the devotion both to heritage
and future, the commitment to free speech, the preservation of civility,
the skill to deal with protest and conflict, the passion for innovation
and improvement, the love of the arts and the enthusiasm for athletics,
the zeal for public service, the drive for campus beautification, the
bowties, the ideas, the energy, the drive, the middle-of-the-night e-mails.
All of these exemplify Sandy D'Alemberte and his years at Florida State.
ties to Florida State can be traced to the 19th century. His great-grandfather,
R.A. Whitfield, a local judge, is listed as a member of the 1877 Board
of Trustees of the West Florida Seminary, an FSU predecessor. His grandfather
attended the Seminary West of the Suwannee and his mother attended the
Florida State College for Women, both also FSU predecessors. Even though
he attended other universities, D'Alemberte counts himself an FSU alumnus
because he attended an FSU summer music camp during his grade school years.
His years as dean of FSU's law school further solidified those ties.
Always a visionary,
D'Alemberte convened Commissions on the Future to establish a vision for
the university. Many of the Commissions' recommendations were adopted
and have been instituted. A skilled negotiator, D'Alemberte worked with
the now-defunct Board of Regents, adapted to the state's new system of
governance, and welcomed the university's first modern-day board of trustees.
Although he disagreed with students who created a months-long "tent
city" on Landis Green to protest sweatshops, he welcomed their demonstrations
and commitment to a cause beyond themselves.
Success in raising
research dollars and private funds, raising standards, raising hopes and
expectations for the university, success in the battles to protect, preserve
and preserve his university-these are the elements of D'Alemberte's years
as president of Florida State University.
As he leaves the presidency,
D'Alemberte intends to teach in the law school and concentrate on several
projects, among them the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights and
development of legal studies courses, to be delivered via distance education,
to law students, lawyers and judges in the developing democracies of Central
and Eastern Europe.
- Under D'Alemberte's
leadership, Florida State University attracted its most talented freshman
classes ever, including record numbers of National Merit Scholars, National
Achievement Scholars and National Hispanic Scholars.
- During his tenure,
FSU was among the nation's top 20 schools in recruiting Merit Scholars.
- Enrollment of honors
- Over the past
eight years, research awards surged. At a time when the federal government
has steadily decreased support for academic research dollars, Florida
State's awards have increased. Between 1994--when D'Alemberte took over
as FSU president--through the end of fiscal year 2002, external funding
for research grew from $68.1 million to $147.9 million--a 117.2 percent
- Florida State University
today ranks third in the nation in royalties earned from faculty research.
This ranking is based in great part on the distribution of the cancer-fighting
drug Taxol, developed by university professor Robert Holton.
- In 2000, Florida
State acquired the most powerful supercomputer owned by a single university
in the world.
- The same year,
the U.S. Navy selected Florida State to develop the power systems for
its new all-electric ship.
- Florida State University
is home to the $100 million National High Magnetic Field Laboratory
with the world's most powerful magnets.
- In 1997, under
D'Alemberte's leadership, Florida State was the site for development
of LEXIS-NEXIS Academic Universe, the first university in the nation
to be provided with access to this extremely powerful and in-depth database.
- Florida State was
ranked as the "most wired" university in Florida and among
the nation's 20 "most wired."
- In the past eight
years, Florida State University has passed the endowment level of more
than 100 other universities, and no university behind FSU has passed
the school. Florida State's endowment has seen phenomenal growth, climbing
from $50 million 10 years ago to over $320 million. The school's endowment
is approaching the top 100 in the country.
- FSU has raised
record levels of contributions from alumni and friends.† With
a second Capital Campaign under way just over a year, over $346 million
of the $600 million goal has already been raised, with D'Alemberte directly
responsible for major gifts.
- Florida State
has built its roster of endowed and eminent professors. In the past
three years, 59 named professors have been designated. D'Alemberte created
a new level of eminent scholar, the Eppes Professor, to attract scholars
of high national distinction. Eppes Professors include Suzanne Farrell,
who has been called this century's most noted prima ballerina, Pulitzer
Prize winning writer Robert Olen Butler and Tony winner Jane Alexander.
- In 2000, Florida
State University established the country's first new† allopathic
medical school in 20 years, and D'Alemberte fought for its creation
and its initial accreditation. The school's approach is based on training
physicians for those Floridians who have traditionally been underserved.
- In 2000, with D'Alemberte's
full support, the Florida Legislature transferred authority for the
Ringling Museum and its affiliates to Florida State, and the university
has established the FSU/Ringling Center for the Cultural Arts in Sarasota.
The Ringling Museum ranks 16th among North American museums in estimated
value of collections and first among all university art museums in North
America in size, exhibition space, membership, volunteers, staff, earned
income and fund raising
- Under D'Alemberte's
direction, Florida State took a leadership role in distance education,
offering a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree programs to
students who study via Internet from their homes, supported by local
mentors. Students include IRS employees around the country and U.S.
sailors serving around the world.
- During D'Alemberte's
tenure, construction at Florida State has been significant. The University
commenced or completed 126 significant capital projects with a total
value of over $887 million. These projects involved new construction
and renovation as well as the expansion or rehabilitation of the utility/infrastructure
systems that serve the university.† Not only the main campus in
Tallahassee, but also satellite properties, including the Panama City
Branch Campus, the Appleton Museum in Ocala and the Ringling Cultural
Center in Sarasota, benefited from his drive to improve facilities.
D'Alemberte added 2.8 million square feet of space to the University's
inventory and over 92 acres for expansion.
- Based on D'Alemberte's
priorities, the Center for Civic and Education and Service was established
in 1994 to promote community involvement and civic responsibility as
integral parts of a liberal arts education at FSU. Through a special
service transcript, student service hours are recorded on official academic
- In 1998 D'Alemberte
created "Tallahassee: Seven Days of Opening Nights," an annual
campus/community festival of the fine and performing arts now in its
fifth year and achieving a national reputation for excellence.
- Florida State has
27 disciplines ranked in the top 25 among public institutions and has
18 disciplines ranked in the top 25 among all colleges in the U.S. Arts
programs are nationally recognized for excellence.