Cornell University provost Kent Fuchs named UF's next president

Published: October 15 2014


GAINESVILLE, Fla. --- Kent Fuchs, provost of Cornell University, was named the 12th president of the University of Florida today by the UF Board of Trustees.

The appointment is effective Jan. 1, 2015. Fuchs’ appointment requires ratification by the Florida Board of Governors, which is scheduled to meet on Nov. 5 and 6.

“Dr. Fuchs brings to the University of Florida all of the important qualities we have been seeking in our next president,” said Dr. Steve M. Scott, chair of the Board of Trustees. “He is a distinguished academic who has very effectively served as provost and chief operating officer of the nation’s 15th best institution among all universities.”

Fuchs brings 20 years of leadership at member institutions of the Association of American Universities, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Purdue University. Fuchs (pronounced fox) has served for the past 12 years as a dean and then provost at Cornell, which, like UF, is a land-grant institution that has a wide range of colleges and professional schools.

“With the great privilege and responsibility you have given me, I will devote all of my energies, talents and abilities to helping move the University of Florida toward its preeminence goals,” Fuchs said. “We won’t be complacent. We will focus on being an even greater institution than we are today.”

At Cornell, Fuchs, 59, developed a strategic plan for achieving preeminence as one of the world’s top-10 universities and launched a universitywide initiative to enhance Cornell’s academic stature. Among his major accomplishments was his role in the university’s selection by New York City to build a graduate school of applied sciences on Roosevelt Island. Fuchs led the effort for Cornell, which in partnership with Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is building Cornell Tech on 12 acres the city provided.

Scott also pointed to Fuchs’ experience overseeing a $2.2 billion operating budget and 6,600 full-time employees, developing a budget model and enhancing diversity through Cornell’s Toward New Destinations program.

Over his career, Fuchs was personally responsible for raising $1 billion in gifts, including donations of $130 million, $80 million and $50 million.

Prior to becoming provost in 2009, Fuchs was the Joseph Silbert Dean of Cornell’s College of Engineering. Earlier in his career, he led of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University and taught at the University of Illinois.

Fuchs’ distinguished academic background includes designations as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the Association for Computing Machinery.

Fuchs received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Duke University, a master’s in divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and a master’s and doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois.

His wife, Linda, holds three master's degrees. Her art history research focuses on late Roman and early Christian sculpture. They are looking forward to returning to Florida, where he graduated from Miami Killian Senior High School and she taught at The King’s Academy, a private school in West Palm Beach, earlier in her career.

Bernie Machen, who has served as president since 2004, will step down at the end of the year.

UF Student Body President Cory Yeffet said he was excited with the announcement of Fuchs’ selection.

“This is great news for the University of Florida and especially for UF students,” he said. “Today’s announcement means the quality of the education we receive and the degrees we earn will continue to grow.”

Faculty Senate Chair Pradeep Kumar was equally happy.

“I have worked at the University of Florida for more than 30 years, and every time we’ve searched for a new president we’ve made excellent choices,” Kumar said. “With today’s announcement, that remarkable chain remains unbroken.”

Scott offered his thanks to Miramar Beach-based search firm Greenwood/Asher & Associates.

For more information, visit


Contact: Janine Sikes, (352) 214-6807