John Delaney discusses his legacy as UNF president

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's the end of an era for University of North Florida President John Delaney.

Delaney will retire at the end of the month, ending a 15-year run leading the university.

When he retires from the presidency, Delaney will have awarded 54 percent of the UNF degrees granted since the university opened in 1972.

Delany has served as a transformational figure at UNF and wants to continue to see the institution continue to be “a better version of what we are."

Since being selected president by the UNF Board of Trustees in the summer of 2003, Delaney has made huge improvements to the University’s academic programs and the quality of students who graduate from the school, including UNF being awarded the 2017 Higher Education in Diversity Award.

As the president of what he calls a private elite university, he desires for UNF “to be relevant to the region.”

Delaney has created a student-focused campus, where under his leadership a smooth transition to NCAA Division I athletics began in 2005. UNF advanced to the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament in 2015. 

Delaney has worked hard to keep hallmarks of a UNF education intact, ensuring that the average class size at UNF is only 33.5 students. UNF has undergone the biggest expansion in its history under Delaney’s leadership since 2003. Delaney has secured $187 million in construction funding from the state.

As for retirement Delaney says he plans to stay In Jacksonville “I'm going to try and take the summer off, spend time with my wife, the kids and the grand kids and then start with them in the fall.” Delaney will return to practicing law with the Rogers Towers Law Firm and Fiorentino Group.

Delaney said he is not ruling out any future political aspirations: "In politics, you never say never. But I kind of, I really don't want to live in Tallahassee, I don't want to live in D.C. anymore. ... I'm never really going to leave Jacksonville, so we'll just see what's out there."

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