Ceremony begins at 10 a.m. at fine arts center.
David Szymanski will be inaugurated as the University of North Florida’s sixth president at 10 a.m. Friday in the Lazzara Performance Hall of the UNF Fine Arts Center.
The theme of the inauguration is “Uniquely UNF.” In addition, Szymanski is expected to announce a significant gift to the University as part of his inaugural speech.
While Szymanski officially began his job at UNF in June, it is traditional for the installation of a university president to occur six to nine months after their start date, to give the new leader time to get to know the campus and develop a vision.
“The Board of Trustees selected a leader who is committed to excellence and innovation. President Szymanski is a strategic thinker who has spent his career devoted to student success,” said Kevin Hyde, chair of the UNF board of trustees, in a news release.
Before joining UNF, Szymanski served as the dean of the Carl H. Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati. Under his tenure as dean, enrollment in the business college grew, as did retention and graduation rates. Szymanski led curriculum changes for undergraduate and graduate students and revised the MBA program to be more flexible for professional and time-constrained students.
Before his time in Cincinnati, Szymanski was the director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A&M University where he was also a professor of marketing. He has served on numerous corporate and professional boards, including several NCAA boards and committees. He currently sits on the board of directors of Office Depot.
Szymanski received a Bachelor of Arts in Economics at the University of North Carolina Asheville, a Master of Arts in Economics at Vanderbilt University, and a Master of Business Administration and a doctorate, both in marketing, at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
UNF has six colleges with nearly 16,500 students, 568 full-time faculty members and more than 1,200 staff. The 1,381-acre campus includes a nature preserve, lakes for kayaking and canoeing as well as hiking trails. Another 1,050 acres of wetlands on the Intracoastal Waterway are owned by UNF and used for research.