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University of Florida officials unanimously select Sen. Ben Sasse for new president

WFLA Tampa 10/6/2022 Sam Sachs
University of Florida officials unanimously select Sen. Ben Sasse for new president © Provided by WFLA Tampa University of Florida officials unanimously select Sen. Ben Sasse for new president

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WFLA) - Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Nebr.) was unanimously selected in the University of Florida’s presidential search. Sasse was chosen as the recommendation to the university’s Board of Trustees, becoming the single, solitary finalist for consideration to be the 13th university president.

Sasse, now in the second year of his second term in the U.S. Senate, has multiple degrees and, according to the university’s committee, a “distinguished academic career,” which includes a PhD from Yale and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard.

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The Presidential Search Committee made no other recommendations for the next president, putting the choice to approve or reject the senator in the hands of the Board.

"This is right for the University of Florida, right for the state of Florida and right for the Sasse family," Rahul Patel, chair of the Presidential Search Committee, said in a statement. "Ben brings intellectual curiosity, a belief in the power and potential of American universities, and an unmatched track record of leadership spanning higher education, government and the private sector."

The UF Search Committee still chose Sasse as their pick, unanimously.

According to Patel, Sasse has worked “tirelessly for decades” to help others accomplish their goals and be empowered. Patel’s statement on the recommendation said education was at the forefront of Sasse’s “lifelong service” to the United States.

“Having taught at the University of Texas, and served as a college president, Ben's experiences are also deep and broad - from healthcare and technology to history and philosophy,” Patel’s statement continued. “His vision, humility, integrity, incredible personable nature and deep concern for humanity are all traits that will serve the UF community exceptionally well.”

While the university said their search was exhaustive, they “ultimately” narrowed their search to 12 candidates. Nine of them were already sitting university presidents at “major research universities, and seven were from AAU universities.”

Of the qualified candidates, Sasse was the committee’s recommendation.

“The University of Florida is the most interesting university in America right now," Sasse said in response to the recommendation. "It's the most important institution in the nation's most economically dynamic state - and its board, faculty and graduates are uniquely positioned to lead this country through an era of disruption. The caliber of teaching and research at UF is unmistakable, carried out through the core principles of shared governance and academic freedom. I'm thrilled about the opportunity to work alongside one of the nation's most outstanding faculties.”

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Mori Hosseini, chair of the Board, said he was “thrilled with the unanimous recommendation for Dr. Ben Sasse” to be the next university president. The Nebraska senator will be on UF’s campus on Oct. 10 to meet with students, faculty, and members of the UF community. Board members will interview Sasse directly on Nov. 1, according to a statement from the search committee. The 13 board members will vote on the finalist afterward.

According to reports from The Hill, Sasse is expected to retire from the Senate by the end of 2022 in order to serve as president at UF.

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