Bernie Machen is staying on as president of the University of Florida at the request of Gov. Rick Scott and UF Board of Trustees Chairman David Brown.
UF is the state's most highly ranked university.
"We have committed today to undertake this ambitious goal and fulfill a bold vision for higher education in the state of Florida," Scott said. "President Machen has earned a reputation for visionary thinking and has a record as a change agent. I have asked him to continue his service as president, and I look forward to working with him, the Board of Governors and the Board of Trustees on this effort to realize a new vision for higher education in Florida."
"Moving UF into the top 10 is the right thing to do for the university, the State University System and the state of Florida," Brown said. "This is a window of opportunity and we need a proven leader who can immediately champion this effort. President Machen has the experience and can provide a continuity of leadership. I am therefore recommending to our board that we ask him to stay and help us achieve this goal."
"Making UF a top-10 university has been my highest priority over the course of my tenure at the University of Florida," Machen said. "Now we stand at a crossroads where we have the potential to make giant strides. I have been asked to remain in office to lead that effort, and I am pleased to do so."
Brown said he would suspend the ongoing search for the next president, which began in July when he created a search committee composed of trustees, faculty, students, administrators, alumni and other stakeholders and charged it with recruiting candidates. The search committee was scheduled to review applications and recommend finalists to the Board of Trustees on Friday. The board planned to select a new president on Saturday.
"As we prepared for our final round of interviews with outstanding candidates, it became increasingly clear that defining a new vision for higher education in Florida will be front and center in the months ahead, and that we have the opportunity to do this important work with the governor and the Board of Governors," Brown said. "With this opportunity, we recognized the need to take full advantage of our very capable president and felt this is not the time for a lengthy transition of leadership."
"I am grateful to the search committee for the many hours of hard work it devoted to this process. Through its efforts, we received strong interest from leaders of several respected universities."
Brown said he will ask the Governance Committee of the UF Board of Trustees to enter into discussions with Machen to extend his contract and bring it forward to the full board and the Board of Governors for approval.
Machen took office as UF president in January 2004. During his tenure, UF has earned a series of impressive national rankings from various organizations. For example, UF has been named No. 1 in the country for efficiency, No. 2 for return on tuition investment, No. 3 for best value among public universities, No. 5 for the commercialization of research, No. 18 for research spending among public and private universities and No. 17 overall among public universities.