Florida’s University system Board of Governors Thursday confirmed David Szymanski as the University of North Florida’s sixth president.
It was the final step after UNF’s Board of Trustees picked Szymanski, University of Cincinnati’s Carl H. Lindner College of Business Dean, last month.
Board of Trustees Chair Kevin Hyde said the committee looked for a leader who would be accountable, show stewardship and be committed to economic development in the Northeast Florida region.
“One of the things that we thought was critically important in this next president is someone who could work not only well with the academic community, but the business community,” Hyde said. “That is something that in Jacksonville is very important and that President Delaney has done very successfully."
And Szymanski said he’s committed to doing just that.
“The opportunity to partner with the community, to partner with Jacksonville, create further bridges with the community as well as the business community are things that are unique to our institution and it’s really things that are unparalleled in academia,” he said.
John Delaney has served as UNF’s president for the past 15 years. Thursday’s meeting was his last, and State Rep. Clay Yarborough, R-Jacksonville honored him with a resolution passed by the House. Delaney has awarded more than half of the 95,459 UNF degrees granted since the university opened in 1972. The resolution highlighted rising GPAs at the college and graduation rates.
“I’m Proud of how far it’s gone,” Delaney said. “Really though it’s time for somebody else to do this. Time for you to see another face sitting here. I have to say, I think the search committee, the board of trustees and this board really have a winner with Dave Szymanski. I think he’s really going to take the university to another place.”
Szymanski said he’s looking forward to exploring new innovation and community partnerships.
“John Delaney has done a wonderful job creating an institution that’s really poised to go to a next level,” he said. “It’s really at an important reflection point that I’m looking forward to really, truly kind of bring out the greatness and further greatness in the institution.”
Szymanski takes over June 1.
Lindsey Kilbride can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 904-358-6359 or on Twitter at @lindskilbride.