Here Are The Three UF Presidential Finalists


The search for the University of Florida’s next president was narrowed from 15 candidates to three on Monday morning. The three finalists will be publicly interviewed on Tuesday, and the UF Presidential Search Committee will then forward recommendations to the Board of Trustees.

The three presidential candidates include W. Kent Fuchs, Ph.D., of Cornell University, David W. McLaughlin, Ph.D., of New York University and Sibrandes Poppema, Ph.D., of the University of Groningen in the Netherlands.

All of the finalists have strong academic backgrounds, as top executives for their universities or chief academic officers:

Kent Fuchs, Cornell University

Wesley Kent Fuchs, Ph.D.
Wesley Kent Fuchs, Ph.D.” credit=” 

Wesley Kent Fuchs, 59, is the provost for Cornell University. Fuchs received his doctorate in 1985 from the University of Illinois and is a former professor in the areas of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois and Purdue University.

Fuchs served as a professor and the Joseph Silbert Dean of the College of Engineering at Cornell University from July 2002 to Dec. 2008 and has been a provost and professor since Jan. 2009. As provost at Cornell University, Fuchs’ accomplishments include leading Cornell’s New York City Tech Campus and developing Cornell’s strategic plan for achieving academic preeminence as one of the world’s top 10 universities.

However, Fuchs’ plan to move the African Studies and Research Center at Cornell from autonomous control to under the direction of the Colleges of Arts and Sciences caused fierce debates from the center’s faculty, students and staff in 2011.

Fuchs is married to Linda A. Fuchs, who taught at the King’s Academy in West Palm Beach before the couple met in seminary.

David McLaughlin, New York University

David Warren McLaughlin, Ph.D.
David Warren McLaughlin, Ph.D.” credit=”©NYU Photo Bureau: Asselin

David Warren McLaughlin, 70, is provost at New York University. Since receiving his doctorate from Indiana University in 1971, McLaughlin has worked as assistant professor and professor at several universities including Iowa State University, University of Arizona, Princeton University and New York University.

McLaughlin’s specialization includes mathematical neuroscience, applied mathematics and nonlinear waves. As provost, McLaughlin provided the academic leadership to establish two new degree-granting research universities: NYU, Abu Dhabi and NYU, Shanghai. McLaughlin also directed the expansion of the arts and sciences faculty in New York by over 100 people and enhanced the academic facilities for the New York campus.

McLaughlin is married to Ruth Ann McLaughlin and is a father of four.

Sibrandes Poppema, University of Groningen

Sibrandes Poppema, Ph.D.
Sibrandes Poppema, Ph.D.” credit=” 

Sibrandes Poppema, 65, is president at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Poppema trained as a physician and pathologist in the Netherlands, Germany and the United States and has a doctorate in the immunopathology of Hodgkin’s disease.

Poppema was first appointed as the JK de Cock chair of Immunopathology in 1985 and has since served as a specialist and clinician scientist in various institutions. Poppema has served as director of laboratory medicine at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada as well as the Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the University of Groningen, where he has been president since 2008.

Fuchs, McLaughlin and Poppema will be interviewed by the board on Wednesday before the 12th president-elect is announced.


About Qianwen Zhang

Qianwen is a reporter for WUFT News who may be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news

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