President Barack Obama announced his intention to appoint UF President Kent Fuchs as a member of the National Science Board and National Science Foundation.
On Friday, the White House sent out a release of the intended appointments. Obama can make the appointment himself, meaning the decision doesn’t need to be heard by Congress.
The official appointment will be before Obama’s presidential term ends in December, but Fuchs said he expects it in the near future.
“These fine public servants bring a depth of experience and tremendous dedication to their important roles,” President Obama said in a press release. “I look forward to working with them.”
Fuchs said he was nominated by Hunter R. Rawlings III, a former Association of American Universities president, whom Fuchs knew from his time at Cornell University.
“I feel grateful for the opportunity, and secondly, I’m really glad to serve,” Fuchs said.
Fuchs’ background in electrical and computer engineering, his overseeing those programs at Cornell University as a provost and now being UF’s president made him stand out as a candidate, he said.
But Fuchs didn’t know he was nominated until he received a call about two months ago from the White House Office of Presidential Personnel saying he was under consideration and they were going to launch a background check, he said.
The board consists of 25 people, all of whom are appointed by a president of the U.S. Eight members are appointed once every two years. It oversees the foundation and provides advice to Congress and the President on the nation’s science and engineering research and policy, Fuchs said.
“To be one of those 20-some individuals is, I believe, important to the university and also brings visibility to the university,” he said.
The board doesn’t currently have anyone from Florida and hasn’t had a member from UF in many years, Fuchs said.
If Fuchs is officially appointed, he said he plans to work to increase the budget for the foundation and see those funds go to universities for scholarships.
“The Federal Government funding of scholarship at universities is just so important, so I’m going to work my hardest to be an advocate of the National Science Foundation,” Fuchs said.