University of Florida starts presidential search

Apr 10 • 1476 Views • View Comments

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The University of Florida officially began the search for its next president Thursday with the creation of a committee to seek and evaluate candidates.

UF’s Board of Trustees authorized the establishment of the committee to recruit the 12th president in UF history by the end of the spring 2015 semester.

UF searched for a president in 2012, but President Bernie Machen was asked to extend his service to pursue his vision of making UF one of the top 10 public universities in the nation.

Since then, the state Legislature has designated UF the state’s foremost preeminent public university and awarded it $15 million annually for five years to boost its national stature. UF responded with a plan to hire as many as 130 faculty members in 26 research areas to increase or reinforce its stature as a national leader. In addition, UF’s fundraising arm last year launched an $800 million campaign in support of what has become known as UF Rising.

The search for a new president signals the close of Machen’s tenure as president. Machen has said he plans to step down by the end of the year.

“Bernie Machen has been a transformational leader. Even during the years when UF’s declining resources threatened our progress, Bernie found ways to grow our research operation, launch an innovation district, open a new medical research facility and award more scholarships to low-income students,” UF Board of Trustees Chairman David Brown said Thursday in a communique to Gator alumni, students, employees and supporters. “When we asked him to extend his service to UF, he not only answered the call but worked with the state’s educational and political leaders to find new resources to launch us on our path to preeminence.”

The 2012 search committee established 24 criteria for presidential candidates after consulting faculty, other employees, students, alumni, donors, boosters and business leaders. UF Board of Trustees Vice Chairman Steve Scott, chairman of the search committee, is calling for comment by April 17 on whether those criteria adequately reflect the university’s preeminence status. Comments should be emailed to

Brown is expected to name members of the search committee in the coming weeks. Check the search website at regularly for new information and updates.

The University of Florida is one of the nation’s largest public universities.  A member of the Association of American Universities, UF posted research expenditures totaling $740 million in 2011.  Through its research and other activities, UF contributes more than $8.76 billion a year to Florida’s economy and has a total employment impact of more than 100,000 jobs statewide.  Find us on You Tube at

Media contact: Janine Sikes, 352-846-3903, 352-214-6807,


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