Cornell provost Kent Fuchs will be 12th UF President

October 15, 2014 by Mark H. Anbinder

Cornell University provist W. Kent Fuchs has been named the 12th President of the University of Florida. He was selected at a Board of Trustees meeting this morning in Gainesville, and his appointment is to be ratified by the Florida Board of Governors in meetings next month.

W. Kent Fuchs at a Faculty Assembly meeting in Gainesville on Tuesday night. Photo provided by University of Florida.W. Kent Fuchs at a Faculty Assembly meeting in Gainesville on Tuesday night. Photo provided by University of Florida.“Dr. Fuchs brings to the University of Florida all of the important qualities we have been seeking in our next president,” said Dr. Steve M. Scott, chair of the Board of Trustees in a statement. “He is a distinguished academic who has very effectively served as provost and chief operating officer of the nation’s 15th best institution among all universities.”

“With the great privilege and responsibility you have given me, I will devote all of my energies, talents and abilities to helping move the University of Florida toward its preeminence goals,” Fuchs said this afternoon. “We won’t be complacent. We will focus on being an even greater institution than we are today.”

Fuchs (pronounced like "fox"), was Dean of the College of Engineering at Cornell from 2002 until he became provost on January 1st, 2009. Previously, he was head of Purdue University's School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Fuchs was one of fifteen candidates who entered the beginning of the search process to lead Florida's century-old public university system, which comprises 16 colleges and more than 150 research centers and institutes.

He and Dr. David W. McLaughlin were announced yesterday as two finalists, and each met with student and faculty groups on Tuesday evening. McLaughlin is a professor of mathematics and neural science at NYU, and an adjunct professor of biomathematics at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

Cornell president David Skorton said this afternoon, "Kent’s impact on all aspects of Cornell during his tenure as provost cannot be overstated. The legacy he will leave behind will be felt by all Cornellians, and by colleagues at other top research universities, for decades to come. Kent’s first years as Cornell provost coincided with the start of the economic recession, one of the most challenging times in our history. His leadership and insights helped us to make the necessary, and often difficult decisions to reduce our expenditures wisely."

Skorton says Fuchs's "foresight and determination resulted in our successful bid to establish Cornell Tech," the new high-tech campus on New York City's Roosevelt Island.

Fuchs will begin his role as UF's president on January 1st, 2015. Bernie Machen, who has served as president since 2004, will step down at the end of the year, and Skorton says he will name an interim provost by the end of October. Just last month, Cornell announced the selection of Elizabeth Garrett, outgoing USC provost, to succeed Skorton as Cornell's 13th president, and vice president for student and academic services Susan Murphy announced she would be retiring next year.

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