W. Kent Fuchs Of Cornell Named President Of UF

W. Kent Fuchs, Ph. D., provost for Cornell University meets Albert and Alberta in Weimer Hall on the campus of the University of Florida on Tuesday. Fuchs was selected as UF's 12th president-designate on Wednesday.
W. Kent Fuchs, Ph. D., provost for Cornell University meets Albert and Alberta in Weimer Hall on the campus of the University of Florida on Tuesday. Fuchs was selected as UF’s 12th president-designate on Wednesday.” credit=”Steven P. Johnson / University of Florida

Update, 1 p.m.: Cornell University’s Media Relations Office released a statement on Fuchs’ selection as the University of Florida’s next president by David Skorton, president of Cornell.

Skorton wrote, “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.”

Fuchs will bring “a deep understanding of the issues, constituencies and avenues for collaborative action that are central to the life of a university” to the presidency.

Update, 12:50 p.m.: At a press conference following the announcement, Fuchs expressed his enthusiasm and excitement to “serve in this role” at the University of Florida. “It’s going to be a great privilege to be a part of the Gator Nation,” he said.

Fuchs hopes to take the university to new heights by working with students at all levels, as well as faculty and staff to achieve their goals.

“This is an incredible opportunity for us,” he said.

Fuchs is “incredibly optimistic” about the future of UF. His immediate goals include using the spring semester to “listen, learn and build relationships.”

Following his first semester as president, he hopes to use the coming summer and fall semesters to implement UF’s preeminence goals, which he fully endorses.

Fuchs said he has little time to finish his work at Cornell before assuming his new position in Florida, but he believes he has at least 10 years left in his academic career to devote to UF.

Update:  According to a release from Steven M. Scott, chair of the UF Board of Trustees and President Search Committee, Fuchs will assume the presidency on Jan. 1, 2015, following ratification by the Florida Board of Governors. The board is schedule to meet on Nov. 5 and 6.

Original Post: W. Kent Fuchs, Ph.D., Provost for Cornell University, has been selected as the University of Florida’s 12th president-designate.

UF’s Board of Trustees made its decision on Wednesday just before noon.

On Tuesday, UF’s search for its next president was narrowed down to Fuchs and current provost of New York University David W. McLaughlin, Ph.D., but Fuchs prevailed after several rounds of interviews and assemblies.

During the final round of interviews on Wednesday morning, Fuchs said he feels he has been preparing for this opportunity for 20 years.

“I will devote for the next ten years all my energies, all my experience, all my talents and abilities to achieve the aspirations that you all have for this great University,” he said during interviews on Tuesday.

UF Trustee Jason Rosenberg said the board was looking for a president with humility and kindness. Fuchs reiterated the importance of these qualities, but he also said a president cannot be too humble externally – the leader of the Gator Nation must promote the university.

Patty Ard, administrative manager at Cornell’s Office of the Provost, could not formally comment on UF’s selection but did say, “The University of Florida is in wonderful hands.”

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

Fuchs, 59, was the youngest of the three final candidates. He 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. He also served as a professor and the Joseph Silbert Dean of the College of Engineering at Cornell University from July 2002 to December 2008 and has been provost since January 2009.


Editor’s Note: WUFT News is operated by the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications.

An earlier version of this post cited Fuchs as president-elect. However, because his position is not elected, WUFT News has amended its style to reflect Fuchs’ position as president-designate.

About Katie Campbell

Katie is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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