Gov. Scott proposes major investment in UF’s top 10 quest
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Rick Scott today proposed a major investment in the University of Florida, boosting UF’s efforts to join the top 10 national research universities and laying the groundwork for making the university an even more valuable state resource.
During a news conference in Tallahassee to announce his state budget proposal, Scott laid out a plan that would provide UF with $15 million to hire new faculty. This will help reduce the student-faculty ratio and enable UF to attract nationally recognized scientists who can help advance the university’s research and technology transfer enterprises.
The governor’s budget also includes a $100 million fund for constructing state university buildings focused on science, technology, engineering and math education. Up to four universities could access the fund by matching the state appropriation with university funds.
UF will seek support from this fund to construct a new chemistry building, UF President Bernie Machen said.
Machen praised the governor’s announcement, saying the university stands ready to meet head-on the challenge of reaching top 10 status.
“Gov. Scott has clearly placed his trust and confidence in the University of Florida and its ability to be a top-flight institution, and we welcome this news.” Machen said.
Machen said it’s important for Florida to have a top 10 university for a variety of reasons.
“Being top 10 is more than just a number,” he said. “It means UF will be even more valuable to the people of Florida, providing the very best education for our young people, conducting research that solves vexing problems and serving as a vital economic engine.”
Top universities also attract major businesses. Some of the nation’s largest and most robust centers of business research and development (for example, North Carolina’s Research Triangle) are located near top 10 public universities. Those states with highly ranked universities, which include California (with five top 10 universities), North Carolina, Michigan and Virginia (with two top 10 universities), are recognized worldwide for excellence in education, research and public service. Their best universities also enhance the reputation of their entire state university systems.
The Governor’s proposed funding will now be considered by the Florida Legislature.