In more than a decade as president of the University of Florida, Bernie Machen has grown and enhanced the university while putting it on a path to rise among the best public universities in the nation.
President Machen has expanded UF’s research operation, elevated its educational programs and increased access for students from a diversity of economic backgrounds. He has bolstered the university’s commitment to innovation, grown its endowment, and led a noted universitywide sustainability initiative.
Additionally, in 2013, President Machen launched UF on the nearly $1 billion UF Preeminence Plan to rise among the nation’s top public universities. As part of that plan, the university is hiring an estimated 120 new faculty members, with 40 hires already completed by summer 2014. The new faculty members, most of whom are at the midcareer level, are expected to help advance UF research in 26 areas of promise. The Preeminence Plan is supported by $150 million in combined state-university dollars and an $800-million fundraising campaign.
Other milestones of President Machen’s tenure include:
- Growth in annual university research funding from $470 million in 2003-04 to $641 million in fiscal year 2013.
- More than 3.1 million square feet in new construction on campus, including more than 628,000 square feet of new research space.
- Completion of UF’s $1.7 billion capital campaign in 2012, at the time the sixth-largest public university campaign in history.
- The Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars Program, enabling the enrollment of more than 2,900 first-generation college students, with about 1,500 graduates so far.
- Development of the 40-acre public private partnership known as Innovation Square and creation of the Innovation Hub technology incubator, now housing more than two dozen UF spinoffs.
- Creation of the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, the UF Water Institute and other key university institutes and centers.
President Machen also significantly strengthened UF’s hospital and health science research operations, bringing together the UF Health Science Center and Shands Hospital under UF Health. He has added several major new medical research and care facilities, including the Biomedical Sciences Building, the Clinical and Translational Research Building and the UF Health Cancer Center. And he launched UF’s first major medical research facility outside Gainesville, the UF Research and Academic Center at Lake Nona’s Medical City near Orlando.
His educational enhancements include the spring-summer Innovation Academy for entrepreneurially-minded undergraduates; “What is The Good Life?”, the first of an anticipated four core classes forming a signature undergraduate curriculum; and the launch and growth of UF Online, one of the first programs in the nation to offer four-year fully online undergraduate degrees.
Prior to his arrival at UF, President Machen served for six years as president of the University of Utah, where he is credited with expanding the university’s health sciences program, stabilizing the university’s finances and bolstering diversity.
From 1995 to 1997, he was provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan, and from 1989 until 1995, he served as dean of Michigan’s School of Dentistry. From 1983 to 1989, he was professor and associate dean at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s School of Dentistry.
President Machen is a past president of the American Association of Dental Schools. He also served as a member of the board of trustees of the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee. His additional positions in national higher education leadership include serving as a member of the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board; chairing the board of directors of the National Campus Compact and serving as president of the executive committee of the Southeastern Conference and chair of the Southeastern Conference Academic Consortium.
A native of Greenwood, Miss., President Machen grew up in St. Louis. After attending Vanderbilt University for his undergraduate studies, he earned his doctor of dental surgery degree from St. Louis University and his master’s degree in pediatric dentistry and doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Iowa. He and his wife, Chris, a former neonatal intensive care nurse, have two sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren.