2016: An extraordinary year for Florida State

2016 was an extraordinary year for Florida State University. Pictured: (top) Assistant Professor Jessi Halligan, Professor Hengli Tang, Professor John Lowe, IMS students Nande DeGraff, Isabella Canut. (Bottom) Rendering of the new Jim Moran Building, U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges, #PowerOfWe campaign. It’s been another outstanding year for Florida State University with accomplishments in 2016 that have set the university on a path to greater national prominence. Florida State rose five places in the U.S. News & World Report rankings, published groundbreaking research, continued to be a national leader in the arts world and reiterated its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Here is a compilation of some of the university’s top stories of 2016. Florida State University moved up five places in the U.S. News & World Report rankings to No. 38 among all public national universities in the publication’s “Best Colleges 2017” guidebook. FSU had the greatest gain of all of the Top 50 public universities. Florida State’s excellent graduation and student retention rates were key to FSU’s ranking among the nation’s best public universities. With a 79 percent graduation rate, Florida State well exceeded a prediction by U.S. News that FSU’s graduation rate would be 70 percent. Only three public institutions in the Top 100 exceeded their predicted rate by a greater degree than FSU. University President John Thrasher attributed the upward movement to the hard work of the exceptional faculty, staff and students who continue to make FSU one of the best universities in the nation. FSU researchers make important Zika virus breakthrough FSU researchers made a major breakthrough in the quest to learn whether the Zika virus is linked to birth defects with the discovery that the virus directly targets brain development cells and stunts their growth. It was the first major finding by scientists that showed the critical cells are a target of the virus and also negatively affected by it. Hengli Tang, professor of biological science at FSU, was the lead author of the study published in the academic journal Cell Stem Cell in March. Gary Taylor, distinguished research professor at Florida State University FSU professor’s research revelations get worldwide attention Gary Taylor, a Distinguished Research Professor at FSU, and his hand-picked team of New Oxford Shakespeare researchers made a historic announcement in October that 16th-century playwright Christopher Marlowe should get credit for co-writing William Shakespeare’s “Henry VI” plays. It was the first time Marlowe has been officially recognized as a co-author of the three plays, which are believed to have been written around 1591. Taylor received worldwide media attention for the news. FSU researcher finds clues to early civilization in southeastern U.S. The discovery of stone tools alongside mastodon bones in a Florida river shows that humans settled the southeastern United States as much as 1,500 years earlier than scientists previously believed, according to a research team led by Florida State University...

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