UF Board of Trustees approves Ben Sasse as University's 13th President

(Gainesville, FL) -- The University of Florida Board of Trustees unanimously voted on Tuesday to select Nebraska U.S. Senator Ben Sasse as the University of Florida’s next president.

Sasse being named as the sole finalist for the position was met with backlash from some students, faculty and staff. That includes the University of Florida Faculty Senate, which approved a no-confidence resolution last week on the selection process to appoint Sasse as the next president. Sasse is set to become the 13th president of the University of Florida if approved by the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System. They are scheduled to consider the matter on November 10th.

Before becoming a Senator, Sasse served as president at Midland University and a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin. He is author of two books and holds a Ph.D. in history from Yale University and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University. “I am grateful for the Board of Trustees’ unanimous vote and for their endorsement of our shared vision to make the University of Florida a world-changing institution and a pioneer in higher education,” said Sasse. “Education properly understood isn’t exclusively or even primarily about transmitting information. Education is about learning how to humbly and meaningfully engage with new ideas. We want Gators to engage ideas. I want our students to be challenged and to rejoice in the challenge. We want Gators to go out and serve Florida and the world. Let’s go out and build something great together.”

Prior to Tuesday’s nomination, the Presidential Search Committee unanimously selected Sasse as the sole finalist after a review of more than 700 leaders within and outside of higher education. “The Board’s nomination reflects our confidence that Dr. Ben Sasse is the right leader to sustain UF’s momentum as one of the nation’s top five public universities,” said Mori Hosseini, chair of the Board of Trustees. “Dr. Sasse stands ready to lead UF through a dynamic period in our history, and he has the right combination of experience and innovative thinking that will propel UF to the next level of leadership nationally and globally.”

Sasse is expected to succeed current UF President Kent Fuchs, who has served since 2015. Last January, Fuchs announced his intention to return to the faculty. A 15-member search committee was formed in March and included faculty and student representatives along with alumni, trustees and other university leaders. The committee engaged in more than a dozen listening session with the UF community and solicited feedback from students, faculty and staff. “Dr. Sasse is clearly a gifted leader with a natural talent for connecting with others,” Fuchs said. “I’m confident he will be highly effective in the many roles required of a university president, particularly in communicating on behalf of UF and in bringing resources to the university. I look forward to serving as a faculty member while he is president.”

Sasse is expected to take office in early 2023.

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