18-member panel named to search for Machen successor


FILE - Bernie Machen, president of the University of Florida, during the University of Florida 2013 Fall Commencement held at the O'Connell Center in Gainesville.

Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 6:29 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 6:29 p.m.

An 18-member committee has been created to find a successor to Bernie Machen, the 11th president of the University of Florida, who has announced that he will step down by December.

Facts

Presidential Search Committee

The 18 members named Thursday to the committee that will search for University of Florida President Bernie Machen's replacement are:
Board of Trustee Representatives
Susan M. Cameron
James W. (Bill) Heavener
Carolyn K. Roberts
David M. Thomas
Faculty/Faculty Senate/academic administration representatives
Cammy R. Abernathy, Dean, UF College of Engineering
Paul J. D'Anieri, Dean, UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Dr. David S. Guzick, UF Senior Vice President for Health Affairs/President, UF Health
Dr. Marc W. Heft, UF Professor/Program Director, College of Dentistry
Harry J. Klee, UF Eminent Scholar, Agricultural-Horticultural Sciences
David P. Norton, UF Vice President for Research
Jack M. Payne, UF Senior Vice President for Agriculture and Natural Resources
Richard A. Yost, UF Professor, Chemistry
Student Representative
Christina A. Bonarrigo, Immediate Past President, UF Student Body
Alumni/donors/athletics representatives
Keith T. Koenig, Life Member, University of Florida Foundation
Lynda V. Tealer, Senior Associate Athletic Director, University Athletic Association
Suzanne M. Norris, President-elect, UF Alumni Association
Florida Board of Governors representative
Thomas G. Kuntz, Vice Chairman, Board of Governors of the Florida State University System

The website for the presidential search is www.presidentsearch.ufl.edu
SOURCE: University of Florida

David Brown, chairman of the UF board of trustees, announced on Thursday the members of the committee, who were pulled from the board of trustees, faculty, students, alumni and other university supporters.

"Each has agreed to make the significant commitment of time and focus needed to identify highly qualified candidates for the critical position of UF's 12th president," Brown said.

The committee is chaired by Dr. Steven Scott, the board of trustees' vice chairman and president of a medical investments holding company. Other trustees on the search committee include Gator alumni Susan Cameron, former chair and CEO of Reynolds American; David Thomas, former chairman of IMS Health; and Bill Heavener, CEO of Full Sail University and a major contributor to UF.

The eight faculty and administrative members include Harry Klee, an eminent scholar in Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences; chemistry professor Richard Yost; and immediate past Faculty Senate President Marc Heft, who is program director in the College of Dentistry.

Also included on the committee are top UF administrators David Guzick, senior vice president for health affairs; Jack Payne, senior vice president for Agricultural and Natural Resources; and David Norton, vice president for research.

Before the search can begin, the board of trustees first wants to revisit the search criteria adopted in 2012, the last time it went looking for Machen's replacement.

That criteria was adopted in August 2012, before Machen agreed to stay on an extra year, and before the Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott committed to giving UF $75 million over the next five years to help establish it as one of the top 10 public research universities in the nation.

The board has invited "the university community and other stakeholders" to weigh in on whether the existing search criteria "adequately reflect" UF's status as the state's pre-eminent public university and its goal to become one of the top 10 public institutions in the Association of American Universities. Those comments could be reviewed by a qualifications and criteria subcommittee of the search committee as early as next week.

The search committee is an advisory group that ultimately will recommend a small number of candidates to the trustees. The trustees will interview finalists culled from candidates and nominees submitted to a consulting company that will be hired to assist in the search process and ultimately pass their recommendation on to the Board of Governors.

The search committee will select the consultant to help with the nationwide search, including marketing and ad placement. The nominees and candidates will be posted online.

Brown said he was optimistic UF will be able to attract the best and most qualified candidates for the position, and he was optimistic about the level of interest.

"UF is wonderfully regarded as a top-flight place to be," Brown said. It weathered the national financial crisis and came out stronger than many of its peers, he said. And it is getting stronger in its reputation for research and conversion to commercial use.

The time frame for finding candidates is flexible, Brown said, and will remain open until a qualified candidate is selected.

"I anticipate it could be completed by the fall of this year," he said.

If that is the case, then the board and Machen will work together to ensure a smooth transition, Brown said.

"What Bernie has always committed to do — if we get someone early, he will facilitate the arrival of that person," Brown said. "Otherwise, there is no decision about him stepping down or talk of an interim president."

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