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“The Future of Florida State University and Higher Education in Florida” | Florida State University President Richard McCullough | December 1, 2021

“I learned more in the failure of my first company than I did in any other schooling that I ever had.”


 Florida State University President Richard McCullough shares his vision on building academic innovation that impacts regional economies before a December 1, 2021 meeting of The Economic Club of Florida.

Show notes

Richard McCullough became the 16th president of FSU in August 2021 via Harvard University, where he had served for nine years as Vice Provost for Research and a professor of materials science and engineering.  The first in his family to attend college, he shared how he combined his academic background with an entrepreneurial spirit, founding two companies and earning several patents.

“I learned more in the failure of my first company than I did in any other schooling that I ever had.  And so my second company, we sort of knew what not to do.  And that’s really valuable,” McCullough told Club members.  He discussed the synergy of his practical research background from Harvard and Carnegie-Mellon Universities and how he plans to build similar research innovation and entrepreneurship at FSU.  The keys he said to “taking FSU to the next level” are increasing research dollars and expenditures, including hiring more tenured faculty, and growing the partnership with nearby Tallahassee Community College and Florida A&M University.

“One of the reasons that grant money and research money is so important to the community is that these dollars circulate directly into the community if we build a strong research program at Florida State University,” McCullough said.  “We will continue to pump money into the region in ways that you may not know about.”

He specifically mentioned the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at FSU, which brings in about $275 million from federal, state, and other funding sources.  “We ought to be at $500 million, not $275 million,” McCullough said.  Although FSU is ranked as one of the Top 20 public research universities in the country, his goal is to achieve membership in the Association of American Universities, a prestigious group of 66 universities with advanced research programs.  He said he also wants to continue to grow the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship and formally encourage more of FSU’s 43,000 students to start their own business.

Links and Resources Mentioned in this Episode

The Economic Club of Florida podcast, provides an extended platform for discussion to educate, engage, and empower citizens on important economic, political, and social issues. Based in Tallahassee, Florida, the Club has featured distinguished speakers on engaging topics of national importance since 1977. To learn more, including how to become a member, visit www.Economic-Club.com or call 850-224-0711 or email mail@economic-club.com.

Date of recording: 12/01/21