February 3, 2023

Up Front: Publisher's Column

A state of higher learning

David Denor | 7/31/2022

As a father of four and the husband of an elementary school teacher, I never questioned the importance of a college education for our children. Going to college wasn’t up for debate.

My wife, Jessica, and I grew up in families that believed strongly in higher education. We understood and appreciated the doors a good education would open in our careers.

We both grew up in middle-class families in Wisconsin. Our parents helped with the cost of our college expenses, but the lion’s share fell to us. To pay for tuition, we both worked nearly full time throughout college. During the summers, Jessica worked at a paper mill in her hometown of Green Bay, and I spent two summers working in Cordova, Alaska, in a salmon processing plant.

I would love to say I was able to explore the natural beauty of Alaska, but working an average of 17 hours a day, seven days a week didn’t allow much time for sightseeing. It did, however, give me a greater appreciation for the significance of a college education.

Jessica and I have worked hard to instill that same appreciation in our four children — ages 27, 23, 21 and 20. By next May, all four will have graduated with one or multiple bachelor’s degrees. We are proud of all their accomplishments and know that the sacrifices made over the years have provided them with a solid foundation for their careers. We are sure that they, too, will instill these same values in their children.

Whether a four- or two-year degree, a certificate or apprenticeship program, it’s impossible to deny the role higher education plays in building a career.

Florida is an indisputable leader in higher education, with U.S. News & World Report naming the Sunshine State No. 1 in the country for higher ed for the past five years.

Florida Trend does its best to keep you informed of all that is happening in our state’s public and private universities and colleges, as well as its technical schools, apprenticeship opportunities and workforce programs. As Florida’s population and business recruitment efforts grow, the need for a strong and sustainable talent pipeline has never been greater. The state’s focus on education is on the right track, and it is our responsibility as Floridians to make sure that our institutions of higher ed get even better.

This month, Florida Trend features a special section — “Leadership Insights: Florida Higher Education Presidents” (p. 73). It is an engaging look at each leader’s background and accomplishments, the roles they play in their communities and across the state, their goals and their motivations. It is a compelling and informative look at the people who are shaping some of the state’s most important and impactful institutions.

We have a great responsibility to ensure Florida’s future is bright for generations to come. Education is the key to making sure that happens. I am thankful to all those who work tirelessly to ensure Florida’s educational foundation stays strong.

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