University of North Florida Board of Trustees awards John Delaney President Emeritus status


The University of North Florida’s Board of Trustees unanimously voted on May 10 to award John A. Delaney, UNF’s longest-serving president, the status of President Emeritus.

The UNF Faculty Association voted in April to recommend conferral of emeritus status by the BOT to Delaney, who retires from the University presidency Thursday, May 31. Delaney received a standing ovation as the vote was unanimously passed by acclamation. The title “President Emeritus” is an honor that may be conferred to a university president upon retirement in recognition of a distinguished record at UNF.

“UNF faculty were honored to recommend President Emeritus status be awarded to John Delaney by the BOT,” said Dr. Radha Pyati, Faculty Association president. “He has left a tremendous legacy of expanding opportunities for students, increasing the University’s building footprint to support them and fostering faculty success.”

Delaney is only the second president in University history to receive President Emeritus status. Thomas G. Carpenter, UNF’s first president, earned this recognition in 1980, when he left the presidency. Delaney has had numerous accomplishments spanning his 15 years of service to UNF, which has impacted not only the Jacksonville community but Northeast Florida as a whole.

More than half of the university’s alumni received their diploma during Delaney’s tenure, and the campus has undergone a dramatic transformation. The job was a third career for Delaney, who served two terms as mayor of Jacksonville, launching significant initiatives like the $2.25 billion infrastructure Better Jacksonville Plan and the Preservation Project land conservation program. Before serving as mayor, Delaney was chief assistant state attorney — the No. 2 prosecutor for Northeast Florida — and served as general counsel for the City of Jacksonville.

His career at UNF ended up being Delaney’s longest and one that provided him an opportunity to impact how the university serves its students and the community. During the fall 2017 semester, UNF welcomed its most academically gifted freshman class to date with an average GPA of 4.27, and the university tops schools in the State University System when it comes to graduates being employed in Florida.

UNF now awards about 4,000 degrees annually and has increased opportunities for students, offering 55 bachelor’s degrees, 30 master’s degrees and five doctoral degrees. The University has also gained a national reputation for quality and value over the past several years, being named a Best College in the Southeast by The Princeton Review for nine consecutive years and a Best Regional College by U.S. News & World Report for the past seven years. The university landed on other prestigious lists by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education and more.

UNF now has the fifth highest graduation rate among public, urban regional universities in the nation. In addition, private support to UNF has increased under Delaney’s leadership, with more than $262 million being raised since 2003, including more than $130 million under the Power of Transformation campaign, while the university endowment has more than doubled from $43.8 million in 2003 to $110 million.