Gainesville, FL - March 13, 2018- NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, announced today that the University of Florida has been selected as one of five institutions to receive the 2018 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization. The award will be formally presented during International Education Week on November 13 in Washington D.C.

UF is being honored for its broad commitment to international education and research, grounded in its fundamental goals of preparing our students to meet the challenges of a globalized world, striving for faculty research excellence with a global impact, and advancing campus diversity. A key component of the effort is UF’s 2014 Quality Enhancement Plan, entitled “Learning without Borders: Internationalizing the Gator Nation,” which was presented as part of UF’s reaccreditation process. 

“We are pleased and proud to receive the 2018 Senator Paul Simon Award recognizing UF’s efforts in international education,” said UF President Kent Fuchs. “This award affirms our commitment to international students, education, research and exchange as essential to the college experience, the pursuit of knowledge and the betterment of people everywhere.”

Over 150 countries are represented in the UF community. This includes over 6500 international students, on campus or pursuing practical training, as well as almost 2,000 visiting international scholars every year.  Some 2,200 UF students studied abroad last year in over 100 destinations.  UF has almost 500 collaborative agreements with partner institutions across the world, and at any given moment UF faculty can be found around the world engaged in research and teaching.   

The Simon award recognizes UF’s efforts to support and expand this global reach.  This includes incentives to support international research linked to larger global learning outcomes, such as the Faculty Global Fellows Program and the Research Abroad for Doctoral Students grants. The Learning without Borders initiative, housed in the UF International Center’s  office of Undergraduate Academic Programs has involved a significant investment in internationalize the UF undergraduate curriculum and the expansion and increased access to study abroad programs.

“Our goal is to help UF students develop the skills and knowledge that will enhance their competitiveness in the global market for talent.  And we want help our students become good global citizens, doing their part to steward the earth’s resources, improve the quality of human lives, and be proactive contributors to the search for justice and equality,” notes Leonardo Villalón, dean of UF’s International Center.  The Simon award recognizes both UF’s commitment and our significant progress towards that goal. 

For NAFSA’s official announcement and video visit:


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The University of Florida’s mission is to prepare our students to lead and influence the next generation and beyond for economic, cultural and societal benefit. Recognized as among the top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report, UF is one of the nation’s largest public universities, and is the only member of the Association of American Universities in Florida. Teaching, research and scholarship, and service span all of the UF’s academic disciplines and represent its commitment to be a premier university that the state, nation and world look to for leadership.