The University of North Florida’s president will step down next month and transition to leading a “university-based medical and health care nexus” he established at the school. David Szymanski, who was hired by the Jacksonville university in 2018, announced Thursday, Aug. 5, that he will leave the presidential post effective Sept. 17 to become CEO and executive director of UNF MedNexus.
The MedNexus initiative is aimed at fostering partnerships between the university’s Brooks College of Health and “health care providers, thought leaders, educational institutions and researchers” to “address the state’s growing and evolving health care needs,” according to UNF’s website. State lawmakers appropriated $6 million in initial funding for the program last year.
“Approaching the final year of my presidency and shortly after receiving state support for UNF MedNexus, I initiated discussions with the leadership of the (university system) Board of Governors and (UNF) Board of Trustees and the chancellor on the best timing for a transition to lead UNF MedNexus on a full-time basis,” Szymanski said in a statement published by the university. Szymanski has earned a base salary of $405,000 during his time as president. He served as dean of the University of Cincinnati's business school before being hired by UNF. State university system Chancellor Marshall Criser said in a statement that he is “thrilled” to have Szymanski heading up the MedNexus initiative.
“Under President Szymanski’s leadership, UNF has reached new heights of excellence, and I am confident that his leadership of UNF MedNexus will bring together the brightest educators, administrators and researchers to address health care challenges throughout Northeast Florida and the state,” Criser said.
The UNF Board of Trustees will meet to consider an interim president this month, the university said Thursday, and details on the search for a permanent president will be announced soon.
With Thursday’s announcement, Szymanski became the second state university president to step down in recent weeks. Former University of South Florida President Steven Currall’s departure from the job he held for two years took effect this week. Currall said he made the decision to step down based on stress from leading the university through the COVID-19 pandemic and a desire to spend more time with family. Like Szymanski, Currall announced he will stay with the university as a professor. The USF Board of Trustees this week named attorney Rhea Law as interim president.