On Feb. 20, 2018, the UNF Board of Trustees voted to select David M. Szymanski, Ph.D., as the sixth president of the University of North Florida. "We're excited about our selection of Dr. Szymanski as the next president of UNF," said Kevin Hyde, Board of Trustees chair. "Dr. Szymanski's proven track record of leadership will be a valuable asset to the University as we continue our commitment to provide excellent undergraduate and graduate education."
Szymanski is currently the dean of the Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati, with a campus of approximately 44,783 students. He has held senior administrative and faculty positions at Texas A&M University since 1987 and he was the J.C. Penney Chair of Retailing Studies and served as director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M for six years.
Szymanski earned his bachelor of arts in economics at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, his master of arts in economics at Vanderbilt University, and his master of business administration and Ph.D. in marketing at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Szymanski brings with him a spirit of strategic innovation, cooperation, respect, and shared governance. He has meaningful success in building a brand and experience in performance-based budgeting. Dr. Szymanski is viewed as a visionary and enthusiastic leader of uncompromising integrity.
Kevin Hyde, Board of Trustees chair, was authorized by the trustees to enter into negotiations with Dr. Szymanski. In addition, the selection must be confirmed by the Florida Board of Governors before it's finalized. The BOG will meet on UNF's campus Thursday, March 29, and is expected to vote on the president-elect at that time.
The selection concludes an extensive national search launched last spring. Early in the process, faculty, students, staff, donors and volunteers attended numerous listening sessions to provide input on the qualities and characteristics desired for the next president. Over 600 online surveys where submitted, providing similar guidance. The Presidential Search Committee reviewed the 75 applicants, and after public comment, narrowed the list to 12 semi-finalists, who had on-campus interviews.
Following another period of public comment, the Search Committee narrowed the list to the final candidates, and each of the finalists had individual sessions with faculty, staff, students, donors, volunteers, associate deans, chairs, deans, vice presidents, direct reports and community leaders. Another online survey was then conducted to gather feedback on the four finalists. The Board of Trustees reviewed those survey results and heard public comment to take all perspectives into consideration before deciding who would lead UNF into the future.
"I want to express my thanks to the campus community for their participation in this process and the valuable insight they offered on each of the candidates. I also want to thank the Presidential Search Committee and my fellow Board members for conducting a fair and open search that produced thoughtful discussions about the future leadership of UNF," Hyde said.
Dr. Szymanski will succeed John A. Delaney, who has served as UNF president for the last 15 years. He retires as University president Thursday, May 31. In addition to Delaney, UNF has had four other permanent presidents, including founding president Dr. Thomas Carpenter (1969-1980), Dr. Curtis McCray (1982-1988), Dr. Adam Herbert (1989-1998) and Dr. Anne Hopkins (1999-2000).