THE END OF THE 2016-2017 academic year is an opportunity to reflect on the past and plan for the future. This year has been defined by continued progress toward our shared vision for UF Law — a vision in which we rightfully take our place beside the nation’s most elite public law schools. In March, US News & World Report ranked UF Law the 41st best school in the country, a seven-spot increase from last year. This remarkable improvement is recognition by our peers that UF Law is moving forward.
Although these rankings are an important external indicator of our progress, our greatness as a law school is best measured by our people. I will have served as dean for two years come July, and I still vividly remember my first impressions of UF Law. The strength of our faculty and staff, our alumni legacy of leadership, and the passion of our students were all readily apparent. But I was most struck by the community’s shared values: an insatiable desire to make the world a better place and a belief that the legal profession must be the vanguard for equality, liberty, and justice for all people. Although we have numerous accomplishments and successes to celebrate — many of which are featured in this magazine — I continue to be most proud of our people.
Our faculty and staff go above and beyond for the UF Law community. They work tirelessly to create an extraordinary experience for every student. Our scholars continue to garner national and international acclaim for groundbreaking research that starts important conversations across the legal community. Likewise, our alumni accentuate the prestige of UF Law through their dedication to public service, their remarkable career achievements, and their zealous advocacy for our entire community. And each day, our student body finds new ways to inspire us, from 3Ls landing their dream jobs to 2Ls finding incredible summer employment and 1Ls successfully completing their first year classes.
All of this is possible because of your generosity and support. Recently, our own Hugh Culverhouse (JD 74) initiated a call to action to continue our momentum. The Culverhouse Challenge is a fast-paced initiative to raise $1.5 million for student scholarships by the start of classes on Aug. 14. If we meet this challenge, Hugh will match your contributions, giving his own $1.5 million for student scholarships. The provost has also agreed to match this amount, meaning every gift will be tripled if we meet our $1.5 million goal.
Student scholarships are critical to recruiting extraordinary students, to providing access to legal education, and to reducing student debt upon graduation. With your support, we will continue to recruit the most promising applicants to bolster our incredible student body. We will continue to help all our students find rewarding careers upon graduation. We will continue to recruit and retain outstanding professors.
In these ways, we will raise the national profile of UF Law, enhancing the value of every single UF Law degree. The great marker of our success as a law school will not be a ranking; our measure of success must be how each Gator lawyer changes the world in his or her own way.
I thank you for your dedication and commitment to UF Law. This year’s success is proof that there is no limit to what we can accomplish when we work together in pursuit of a common purpose. Go Gators!
Laura A. Rosenbury
Dean and Levin, Mabie & Levin Professor of Law