University of Florida President Bernie Machen announced Friday his plans to end his tenure next year, saying he expects to continue to lead the university until its governing board completes a search for his successor.
"I will have served as president for almost 10 years, and I have been fortunate to work with many exceptionally smart and dedicated faculty, staff and students," Machen wrote in a letter to the UF community. "Amid a very difficult period for higher education, we have built a stronger, more dynamic, more forward-thinking university."
Machen, 68, made his announcement at the UF Board of Trustees meeting in Gainesville. Chairman David Brown said the board would begin a search for the next president this summer, with the goal of finding Machen's successor in 2013. Machen and Brown will agree on the date for Machen's departure.
Under Machen's leadership, UF has greatly expanded its campus, grown its research enterprise and embraced innovation as a core mission, university officials said. It has become more financially independent and more entrepreneurial-minded, officials said. According to the university, it has more than doubled its endowment; developed new operations in Gainesville, the state of Florida and the world; and become a higher education leader in sustainability. UF has increased diversity despite the end of race-based admissions, and improved the student-faculty ratio despite six years of budget cuts, officials said.
Machen took office as UF's 11th president Jan. 4, 2004. He plans to remain at the university as a professor after he leaves office.
"This has been the most exciting and productive period of my career, and I feel we have everything in place for a great future," he said. "There is a time for everything, and I will be excited to move on to the next phase of my life when the university is ready for a smooth transition."
Machen came to Gainesville from Salt Lake City, where he served for six years as president of the University of Utah. Prior to that, he was provost of the University of Michigan and dean and associate dean of dentistry at Michigan and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, respectively.
In his September 2004 inaugural address, Machen promised to expand UF's research enterprise as part of a new "Era of Discovery" -- a vision that would soon change the campus.