As you know, last night the UNF Board of Trustees selected Dr. David Szymanski to serve as our next president. While his appointment is still subject to the review and approval of the State University System's Board of Governors, we have tremendous confidence in Szymanski as the next leader of this great University.
It has been nearly 15 years since UNF last went through a presidential transition, and we're grateful for that. President John Delaney's tenure has been marked by tremendous campus and enrollment growth, student success, academic excellence and innumerable national recognitions. While John will be tough to follow, he has generated the kind of positive momentum that any successor would covet.
As we move forward in our transition, there are three principles that I and the Board want to keep ever present:
- Maintain the focus on John Delaney as our president, allowing him, and each of you, to complete his tenure with excellence;
- Recognize that our president-elect still has a job to do at the University of Cincinnati and that he, too, wants to finish well; and
- The better we manage the transition from President Delaney to President Szymanski, the better we can keep the positive momentum going.
To ensure this effective transition for both of our leaders, the Board has asked Sharon Ashton, vice president of Public Relations, to lead the president-elect's transition, effective immediately, in addition to her existing responsibilities administering the University's communications efforts.
In this role, we have asked Sharon to manage and oversee the president-elect's UNF-related calendar, campus meetings and briefings as well as outreach he will need to do between now and the time of his full-time arrival on campus. It's our request that each of you direct your desired communications with the president-elect through Sharon. That way, requests can be organized and prioritized in an orderly fashion, allowing us to maintain the three principles outlined above.
Remember, the president-elect must still be confirmed by the BOG. After that, there will be incredible internal and external pressures on the president-elect regarding a broad number of issues -- i.e., budget creation, academic decision-making, meeting with the University community, learning about and connecting with our region, along with the personal dynamics of finding a new home and relocating from Cincinnati.
You can help the Board and the president-elect by working within the structure we have put in place -- not as an obstacle to communication but a facilitation of the same. Ultimately, the president-elect will shape his transition consistent with his style. Until then, we appreciate you working with Sharon in this interim role.
Personally, and on behalf of my fellow Trustees, I want to thank you for your valuable input into the search for the next University president. The Board is very excited about the direction for UNF. I look forward to receiving your continued input.