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Plaza of the Americas (Gainesville, Florida)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Plaza of the Americas
Gville UF Plazamerica pano01.jpg
CampusUniversity of Florida
Plaza of the Americas
Dsg UF Plaza of the Americas 20050507.jpg
Looking north across the plaza, towards Library West
Coordinates29°39′1.6″N 82°20′34.75″W / 29.650444°N 82.3429861°W / 29.650444; -82.3429861
ArchitectFrederick Law Olmsted, Jr.

The Plaza of the Americas is a major center of student activity on the campus of the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. It is located in the quad between Library West, Peabody Hall, the University Auditorium, and the Chemistry Building.[1]

In 2008 the Plaza of the Americas became a contributing property in the University of Florida Campus Historic District which was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 20, 1989.[2][3]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Facebook Live with President Fuchs at Plaza of the Americas
  • Timelapse: Plaza of the Americas at University of Florida
  • UF Campus - Plaza of the Americas


Hello everyone this is Kent Fuchs we're having our monthly Facebook Live session and this time it's unique because we're here at the brand new Plaza of the Americas. There are a couple things that I'm going to share with you all indeed we're gonna talk about the plaza and how this is a spectacular new space that is so beloved by generations of alumni and now students have the real benefit of a particularly beautiful and even more functional plaza than than the past. I also want to tell you all and I have a special guest that I'll introduce in just a few moments a little bit about the impact of Hurricane Irma at the campus here at the University of Florida and in particular how our groundskeepers prepared for and responded to the hurricane and before we do those though, I wanted to mention something that we've been celebrating for now more than a week and it's very simply the latest rankings of the University of Florida overall we track 12 different rankings of universities across the United States. These are the highest ranked most prestigious research universities and when you look at those that are public universities in states around the nation of those 12 rankings that we track the University of Florida has been in the top 10 for 10 of those 12 but there been two that we've not been in the top 10. One of those is the oldest of all the rankings and that's the US News & World Report. We were ranked about 17th or so a number of years ago, we moved up to rank 14 and we've been stuck at rank 14 now for many years and it's been our aspiration publicly that we would be considered by all rankings as one of the nation's top 10 rankings and I'm really pleased to say that now the US News has ranked us as tied for number 9th in the nation, so we're celebrating that. The other ranking that for which we also are making progress is the Wall Street Journal ranking. Last year which is the first time they've ever ranked universities we were ranked 13th in the nation amongst public and their ranking is coming out later this week and I know that we've made some progress since I've seen the advanced ranking in that ranking as well although it's embargoed until the end of this this week, so we're celebrating our progress as an institution that has a stature that's continually increasing. We had a contest over the last several days starting on Saturday of which president in that president's inauguration address mentioned the goal of being a top 10 public university and then I had a quote from that inauguration address and we also had a second quote also from an another president's inauguration address here at the University of Florida and then a third quote, the third quote was from me about our aspirations for being considered as one of the nation's very best universities in the nation, the first inauguration address that mentions the University of Florida's aspiration to be ranked in the top 10, based on our research, was in 1948 before I was born and the president at that time was J Hillis Miller. The other quote that we had out as part of our competition was Robert Marston from 1975. So it has been basically seven decades that we have been working on this and every year making progress and now it's being recognized by some of the highest read nationally recognized rankings in the entire country that we are one of the world's very best research universities and now even in rankings such as US News and World Report. We're not resting on our laurels we're doubling down and we have aspirations to move beyond top 10 as I have said publicly that our goal now is top 5 so we're pressing forward but we're also celebrating. The winner of our contest was a journalism student Brandon Meyer who got two tickets to come sit with me in the President's Box at the University of Alabama Birmingham football game, so I look forward to to being with Brandon. Well you all are seeing part of one of our most beautiful places on campus now it's indeed the Plaza of the Americas it's filled with azaleas it has beautiful trees some of them that are historic have been here for more than a hundred years others were recently planted as part of the upgrade of this space. This is a space also that hosts historically the Krishna lunch that students from around campus come for a few bucks and and get a healthy lunch I myself have benefited from them the renovation or the revitalization I should say of campus included closing the two streets that were on the north and the south side of the plaza there are beautiful wrought iron benches throughout the plaza now as well as all of the the greenery both on the grounds as well as in the trees this initiative was led as our many initiatives by our alumni many of them donated to this project that cost more than two million dollars the couple that I met with that were really the the leaders of this revitalization of the plaza were Herb and Catherine Yardley. Herb and Catherine Yardley as well as many other donors and Friends of theirs and friends of the University donated to to making this plaza a beautiful site for the next century. I'm just so pleased the designer of this was, the original designer, was Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. and he's the son of the famous designer of Central Park in New York City and the plaza was originally dedicated in 1931 when John Tigert was president so more than 80 years later I know that Mr. Olmsted and President Tigert would indeed be pleased with how this incredible plaza looks today and how on almost every day you will see students out here gathering for Krishna lunch as we have right now as well as sitting in between their classes studying and enjoying the beautiful winters that we have here in Gainesville. Now I want to talk a little bit about the impact of Hurricane Irma here on our campus as our students certainly know and our faculty and staff we closed the campus the Friday before the hurricane hit the university and in fact all public universities and K-12 schools were closed by Governor Scott to provide maximum flexibility for those that were evacuating where the hurricane hit full-bore and that was in the south and in the Keys and in other parts of the western part of our state. So we were closed Friday no classes, we reopened on Wednesday, but no classes on Wednesday, and then Thursday we restarted and many of the universities across the state actually stayed closed until the next Monday, but our practice here at the University of Florida is first off to be very certain that our campus is safe and we do that through an emergency operations team of about 40 individuals led by a gentleman by the name of Kenneth Allen who is full-time responsible for responding and preparing us for emergency events and disasters such as potential hurricanes and that also is part of our, we have staff from all across the university that are part of that organization, and then there is an emergency policy group of which I'm a part that receives regular briefings on pending disasters such as hurricanes that and the prepare for it and it's that group that makes the decisions such as closing the university. But again we were a university that opened as soon as we could with the understanding that many of our students and including some of our employees and family members in South Florida they have family members in the Keys as well as in Naples and Marco Island that were really hurt here locally in Gainesville a number of our staff lived in areas where they had no electricity for more than a week some of them had no water because they were on wells and so they suffered in the midst of actually working to prepare us to be to reopen on Wednesday. The hurricane went through us as a tropical storm late Sunday night and Monday morning and by Monday afternoon we had people that were out including groundskeepers including on Tuesday before we reopened making sure that our campus was clear and ready for us to reopen. So by Thursday again classes reopened and you could see a difference on campus but we believed at that point by Wednesday and certainly by Thursday that it was safe for us to be here. We did not lose power at all during during the time. I now want to introduce you to all to someone that helped us during in preparation for the hurricane and he represents a large number of others that worked as I said in preparation and also in cleanup right after the hurricane passed here as a tropical storm. This person's name is Skee Hudson, Skee come over here join me and Skee represents a large number of others that just gave of their time when they themselves often were impacted personally by the by the storm. Skee could you say a little bit about how our campus was impacted by the winds and by the rain and and maybe by flooding and and what you personally saw after the storm passed. Friday morning we had a lot of brush and trees down we had a large tree down it the main part of campus come down, we still have a lot of smaller trees that are on campus and off campus since there's two thousand acres here and plus off campus like Wauburg and PK Younge and stuff, matter of fact we're working over at PK Younge this morning trying to clean up for their Homecoming football game. The lake itself Friday morning came over the road down at a Baby Gator and caused a little problem in traffic but uh, it made things a little bit more interesting to get cleaned up. Yes. So when we were closed were some of the groundskeepers out here right after the winds subsided a little bit but before we were opened? Yes sir, we had four members of the staff stayed here from Sunday until Monday, myself I came in soon as I got daylight I got here a little bit before 8 o'clock, we already had four or five guys already here cutting up trees before I got here, so the biggest problem was stuff down in the roads. It seems to me that the campus was affected absolutely just what you see around because mainly because of the trees but it could have been a lot worse is that your impression as well? Oh yes, it could have been a whole lot worse, what little bit of winds that we had since this is a tree city, there's more trees than there are humans unfortunately, but the campus itself it's a constant working in progress to try to get everything looking right, staff and everything it's just incredible just trying to keep up without a storm, a little bit of wind and things ballistic around here. It is pretty amazing just the that one of the favorite parts of this campus to me are indeed indeed the trees and the incredible canopy that we have which you can see here in the in the plaza but with the moss hanging down but it really takes a beating when when there when there are storms. Now I know that we had students, staff, faculty and even members of the community that we're taking shelter in a couple of our facilities, the main one being the Southwest Rec Center and tell me a little bit about your I don't know but was your home your personal home affected at all where you live? I had a couple of limbs down myself with being have to be here on campus after the storm and their thing they they gave us option you know things were too bad you can come on in please come in so what I had could wait so I came on in like they asked. Well, I'm just so grateful for the large number of employees that before the campus was open came in to help prepare for the opening of campus and then all the employees came if they were at all able to get here and if their own homes were not devastated on that Wednesday before we opened on Thursday so it it is it was an aggressive schedule to reopen campus and there was some some reasons that we could have delayed until the next week but but I'm glad that we were able to preserve as many as we could have class days for our students and we don't have to be open during the holidays or takeaway in either the reading days. Skee thank you so much for on behalf of all the others that that were here that worked so hard that gave up family time when they could have been and needed to be home with families to be here taking care of people. We had a few people out, like you said, who didn't have water or anything, and they came in and pitched in If it wasn't for those people coming in, campus would have been wrecked for a little bit longer. It was amazing Well thank you Skee for everything you've done I appreciate it and you're representing everybody else so thank you. We're gonna walk a little ways over here and what I want to do is to walk toward just to give you all a view of our plaza apart from that one beautiful nook we're in and we'll.. students are still in class right now.. and we may we may grab somebody as we walk here we're walking over toward the Krishna lunch there are additional plans to continue to revitalize the area near near the libraries, we wanted to do the plaza first because this is so well used by everyone and so visible as a part of our the historic part of our campus, but as the students break for classes there'll be more of them out here tabling and celebrating the beautiful weather. Hey you all... you all want to be on my Facebook Live? (inaudible) Sure, so tell me tell me about that your organization. I'm Kent. I'm Priscilla. I'm Nicole. Public Leadership Society.. so this is not we didn't staged this did we? OK, OK, OK.. Yeah it's great.. hey listen usually there are like a lot of people out for tabling but I think you've got you've got most of the plaza, I only see one other person out here so you've got our attention. In 33 seconds tell me about Public Leadership Society Well, we're an organization that focuses on community involvement to foster leadership. We have a lot of events that we go to as a group and we also have workshops and we have we bring in speakers and our meeting is tomorrow night at 7:15 Pugh Hall 150, and there will be pizza, so please come. If you're a 62 year old administrator can you show up? Of course! Happy to have you. Leadership is important in all kinds of jobs. Thank you all for being here. Thank you for coming. You all were OK during the hurricane? Yes. How about your families? Yes, we were in Orlando. Were you in Orlando as well? No I was in Jacksonville. I have family in Puerto Rico.. and Hurricane Maria. I didn't mention Maria earlier but we have a lot of students that are from there or have family there, so tell me about your family in Puerto Rico how they doing I actually don't know since they live on the west side of the island. And the roads there have been blocked. They're trying to get to them. Some contact has been made. But I still haven't heard from my Grandma. Well thanks for sharing that it is you know this has been a tough year we had two hurricanes last year Hermine and Matthew but this year because Jose, Maria, and Irma all hit the Caribbean and so somehow it affected a lot of a lot of our students were affected so well, best wishes to your family particularly your grandmother. Good, well thank you all. Thanks. Good to meet you all take care, so we're going towards the the Krishna lunch I don't know if they give a presidential discount.. it could be good. Hey you all would you all be willing to be on my Facebook Live session? You sure? Okay tell me your names, I'm Kent. Jamie. Jamie, hi I'm Kent. (inaudible) So tell me what you all do at the University? I'm actually an exchange scholar from Brazil, I arrived at the beginning of August and staying until December, so I'm enjoying the Krishna lunch it's been a good time. Is this your first Christian or lunch? No it's the fourth, I guess. Okay okay good from Brazil, well welcome, glad you're here. Hi how about yourself? I'm from Brazil, too. Having lunch now. Glad you all are here. Thank you all. Are you from Brazil? No, I'm not. I'm a junior here studying sustainability, built environment, geo-design Neat. Neat. We were just talking about how the Plaza of the Americas has been revitalized, including to make it even more sustainable, so good good. It is it is, so tell me what you're studying, it's sustainability.. in which which college? Geo-design in Design Construction and Planning. Design Construction and Planning. Well good to meet you all thank you thank you. Let's go over here and see this table, so hey you all, how are you all doing. It must have been good, you finished the lunch. Good, good. So this is youth soccer Top Soccer Florida. Hey you all do you mind being on my Facebook Live session? Sure! Hey tell me your names... So tell me about the youth soccer program. We're a program, we play soccer with kids who have disabilities. It's really fun. Friday nights, you should definitely try to do it it's really cool we have flyers here... oh wow. Want to see one? Sure love to We're actually holding a fundraiser at Blaze tomorrow. Can I donate today? Okay I'll be back, I'll be back don't go away don't go away okay. I don't play soccer but I can donate. Okay okay we have this... so tell me about this. We're TRIP, we lead outdoor excursions, backpacking, rock climbing, paddling. We go all over the southeast. years younger I'd be with you I think If I was 40 years younger, I'd be with you. I think you'd still be spry and out there. You can lead some awesome trips. You haven't seen my.. maybe.. hiking. It looks like a lot of fun. Come out tonight at 8, we have an info session. So how are you all affiliated with the university? We're a department within Rec Sports. Okay okay. So we're in the Center for Outdoor Recreation and Education. So if I don't have my own lines, you call it a line or a rope? Rope. It's not sailing. Okay. If I don't have my own ropes and my own tent can I still come? Yeah, we do all the rentals. We do rentals as well as provide all the stuff on the trips. Where do you go? Where do you go - you go to other places outside of the county? North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Costa Rica, Iceland. Oh my goodness! And hopefully other international trips. and hopefully oh my goodness oh my Goodness, that's so cool, good to meet you all. Thank you all, thank you, thanks. Well let's take a look here at the Krishna lunch. Hi you all, Kent Fox, what are your names? I'm Carley Jordana. Cassidy. - Harley? Carley. Yeah. C-A-R-L-E-Y. Yes, no one spells it right. Oh my goodness since I mispronounced it, I had to spell it right. Good. We were just watching your live feed at work and we snuck out of work to say hi. Oh my goodness, where do you all work? The Office of Financial Affairs. That's important. financial affairs is important for Financial Affairs is important to everybody. Students, the president, everybody. Thank you. So are you all full-time employees or are you students? We're student employees we work like 20 to 30 hours a week. What are your majors? I'm a finance major in the MSF program. I'm a sustainability studies major. Now I've met two sustainability studies people here, you're in the right job if you're in a finance major. Good to meet you all. Thank you, thanks for coming out. Thank you. President Fuchs... Yeah. I work at the library.. the oral history program. Yes. And I wanted to plug our event coming up Pride Extravaganza It's a First Magnitude Brewery. It's a fundraiser for our program. So basically, we just want to unite the queer community in Gainesville and UF community, get UF.. anybody in the UF community involved with the Gainesville community and all these like intersections within the queer identity. Well thanks for thanks for coming out.. and glad.. thanks for giving me a space.. oh you're welcome. Tell me your name. My name's Holland. Oh it's good to meet you, good to meet you Holland. Can I leave this with you all? Yeah you can leave it with me. Thank you take care, Holland. So what an incredible community you all, do we still have time to walk over here let's let's check out the menu. Hey you all your my Facebook Live session is that okay? So tell me about the menu what is it? Some veggies and rice, apple halava, and a nice side salad. Oh my goodness. I haven't had lunch or breakfast.. Can I take one of yours? Tell me your names. Gaby. Havana. Marco Good to meet you guys. Thank you all thank you take care, thanks for participating. Well I think well we'll wrap it up you all. So again, we're just so grateful for all those that worked hard to prepare our campus after the storm and before the storm, Irma. And also our hearts go out to all of those that have family, friends in the parts of the world particularly the Caribbean that were affected and for those that are students and those that are employees at the university please know that we have two ways that if you're personally affected in your urgent need of funds, there's a website on our main there's a link on our main website about how you can ask for funds to get you through some of the real urgent needs right now financial aid, our Office of Financial Aid has allocated some funds to help our students and then there's a new program called Aid-a-Gator that is receiving donations for those that would like to contribute to employees that are in need of funds and/or dispersing funds to those that are really in need. So thank you all it I look forward to our next Facebook Live session and it's wonderful to be here at the Plaza of the Americas. It is great to be a Florida Gator. Bye-bye you all.



In 1925, landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. developed the plans to improve the plaza. In 1931, the space was officially designated the Plaza of the Americas at the first meeting of the Institute of Inter-American Affairs. The students planted 21 trees around the plaza. They dedicated the newly planted trees to the 21 countries that were invited to the meeting. Today, the quad is the unofficial forum for the University of Florida where students and organizations present their ideals.[4]

See also


  1. ^ "Plaza of the Americas". University of Florida Physical Plant Division. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  2. ^ National Park Service Weekly Update on July 3, 2008
  3. ^ Gainesville Sun July 16, 2008
  4. ^ A Unique University - Plaza of the Americas

External links

This page was last edited on 30 November 2018, at 00:54
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