University of Florida has 3 president finalists

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The University of Florida on Monday selected three candidates to interview as finalists in its search for a new president to succeed Bernie Machen.

The school narrowed the field down from 15 applicants, and expects to make a final decision Wednesday the university’s 12th president.

The candidates, all of whom come from the academic world, will be interviewed Tuesday by members of the search committee, which will refer those who meet the criteria to the Board of Trustees for more interviews and a final vote.

UF is one of the nation’s 74 land-grant universities and has 4,200 full-time faculty and more than 50,000 students.

This presidential search process is the second attempt to replace Machen, who initially said he would retire in 2013. Machen, who has led the school since 2004, later decided to stay put just days before a successor was chosen.

At the time, Machen said he changed his mind after Gov. Rick Scott committed to support the school’s goal of becoming a top 10 public university. It is currently No. 14 in U.S. News & World Report’s top public universities.

The school is offering between $950,000 and $1.25 million per year in total compensation, and is building a $5 million mansion to house the new president.

The university’s search committee has released some information about the three finalists:

– W. Kent Fuchs has served as provost of Cornell University, also a land-grant school, since 2009. Prior to that, Fuchs was dean of Cornell’s school of engineering. He is an American Academy of Arts and Sciences fellow.

– David McLaughlin is provost of New York University, a job he’s held since 2002. A mathematics and science professor, McLaughlin is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

– Dr. Sibrandes Poppema is president of University of Groningen in The Netherlands. He was previously faculty dean of medical sciences and vice president of University Medical Center Groningen.