Dr. W. Kent Fuchs (President's Award Winner Keynote)
Dr. W. Kent Fuchs became the University of Florida’s 12th president in January 2015.
Most recently the provost of Cornell University, Dr. Fuchs’ experience combines academic leadership as a provost, dean and department chair; a distinguished career as an engineering professor; and graduate education in both engineering and divinity. In accepting the presidency, Dr. Fuchs outlined his overarching goal for UF: To elevate its stature, as measured by quality and comparative excellence, to that of one of the nation’s best public universities.
President Fuchs will pursue this objective by continuing to lead the university’s preeminence plan, along with a campus-wide goal-setting effort to set objectives for the next five- and ten years. He will seek to significantly increase UF’s endowment; enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of university operations; and establish UF as a national leader and voice for higher education.
The UF presidency is a natural next step for Dr. Fuchs, who spent six years as Cornell’s provost. There, he led the creation of a new technology campus in New York City, launched a university wide initiative to raise Cornell’s academic stature and was a key leader of Cornell’s fundraising efforts. He was appointed provost after serving as the university’s Joseph Silbert Dean of Engineering from 2002 to 2008. He joined Cornell from Purdue University, where he headed the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering from 1996 to 2002. He was a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Coordinated Science Laboratory at the University of Illinois from 1985 to 1996.
He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Association for Computing Machinery, and has received numerous awards for teaching and research.
President Fuchs earned his doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Illinois, and a master of divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago. He credits divinity school with teaching him communication and community-building skills, and to balance his innately analytic perspective with a deep appreciation for people and for human relationships. He also holds a master of science from the University of Illinois and a bachelor of science in engineering from Duke University.
Dr. Fuchs is married to Linda Moskeland Fuchs, an art historian whose scholarship centers on the sculpture of sarcophagi created in the first centuries of Christian art-making. Mrs. Fuchs has two master’s degrees in art history, from the University of Chicago and Cornell, and a third in Biblical studies, from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. She is active in campus and community life, including spending six years on the board of Chesterton House, a center for Christian studies at Cornell, the past three years as chair.
The Fuchses have three sons and a daughter, Micah, Eric, Isaac and Christine. Eric and their daughter-in-law, Mikaela, have a baby boy named Henry.
Born on an Oklahoma farm in 1954, President Fuchs spent much of his youth in Alaska before moving to Miami, where he graduated from Miami Killian Senior High School. His two younger brothers and stepmother live in South Florida.