Whether a quick drive or brisk walk to class, traveling down Florida State University's Chieftan Way offers an extraordinary sight one doesn't always find on a university campus–garnet and beige peaks of a Big Top tent. Since beginning operations in 1947, the FSU Flying High Circus is one of only two collegiate circuses in the United States, dazzling audiences for more than 70 years with riveting, one-of-a-kind performances, all at the hands of talented students.
Dedicated to ensuring future generations of Seminoles can enjoy this unique tradition, FSU Circus alumna Meghan "Tobin" Gudelsky and her husband Morty have committed a family gift of $50,000 to the launch of the FSU Flying High Circus Expansion Project, the university's approximately $10 million development project in celebration of the circus' 75th anniversary on campus.
Reminiscing about her happiest memories of practicing the cloud swing outside with the tent down– "literally 'flying' in the sky," –Meghan emphasized it was always the plan to give back to the organization that had given her so much. "There's nothing I learned from the FSU Circus that hasn't been of value to my day-to-day life, both personally and professionally. The unique experience and friendships I gained, because of my time in the circus, have been the gifts that keep on giving."
Commencing in April 2022, the FSU Flying High Circus Expansion Project will be carried out in three phases comprised of both renovation and new construction, including a new ticket box office, a two-story rehearsal space, updated amenities for students and patrons, needed storage upgrades and much more.
"FSU is a world–class institution, and the advancements on campus surrounding the circus have been amazing. It sets FSU apart and deserves a state-of-the-art facility to be on par with the growth surrounding it. In order to do that, it needs the necessary funding and support," Meghan stated.
"Seventy-five years of performances is a monumental achievement that shows how our community truly embraces our organization," Director of the FSU Flying High Circus Chad Mathews expressed. "The Gudelskys' passion for the FSU Circus speaks volumes about the impactful experiences we offer, whether as a student participate or audience member, and I'm thankful to have them champion this project and our future."
As a primarily self-supporting organization, the FSU Circus is able to maintain a high standard of quality due, in large part, to generous supporters like the Gudelskys.
"As we reflect on how far we've come over the past 73 years, and looking forward to the 75th-anniversary milestone and celebration, it is my hope we continue to ensure that the traditions not only continue but thrive," Meghan shared. "My love and appreciation for the FSU Circus fills me with such joy, and to give back and help continue to put on the greatest collegiate show on earth is an honor."
Performing approximately 80 shows annually, the Florida State University Flying High Circus has been widely recognized throughout its history, showcasing favorite circus acts on the main campus in Tallahassee, Florida, and also at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia.
Visit the FSU Flying High Circus online to learn how you can support the expansion project. If you have any questions, please contact the development team at (850) 644-5590. As the FSU Circus always says, "may all your days be circus days."