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UF trustee steps down from post

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Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2007 12:00 am

Manny Fernandez, a UF trustee and former chairman of the university's top governing body, announced his resignation today.

Fernandez has served on the Board of Trustees since 2001, and he was chairman from 2003 to 2007.

In a letter to Dianna Morgan, present chairwoman, Fernandez wrote that his time at SI Ventures, an investment firm Fernandez co-founded and co-manages, is coming to an end. He'll now be spending less time in Florida and more time in California with his family.

In addition, he wrote, his service on four Fortune 500 boards takes up a significant amount of his time.

"I can't tell you how difficult this decision process has been for me," Fernandez wrote. "I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to serve my alma mater in this meaningful way."

Gov. Charlie Crist will nominate a replacement for Fernandez.

In a letter to the rest of the board members, Morgan wrote that Fernandez helped establish some of UF's most important programs, such as the Tuition Differential Program and Florida Opportunity Scholars Program.

The Tuition Differential Program will allow UF to incrementally raise tuition 40 percent over four years. UF will use the money raised to hire more faculty members and academic advisers.

The Florida Opportunity Scholars Program awards scholarships to students who are the first in their families to attend college.

"Manny's leadership and contributions to our university are too numerous to list," Morgan wrote. "The greatest honor we can bestow upon him is our continued commitment on all the initiatives which are so important to him."

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