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Machen takes the reins at University of Florida

After a protracted national search, the former president of the University of Utah replaces Charles E. Young.

By Associated Press
Published January 5, 2004

GAINESVILLE - Bernie Machen starts work today as the 11th president of the University of Florida, taking over from Charles E. Young, who was tapped as a short-term interim president and wound up staying more than four years.

Machen, 59, who has spent the last six years as president of the University of Utah, rides a red Harley-Davidson motorcycle and often wears blue jeans to work. He steps in to lead the state's flagship university under slightly easier circumstances than his predecessor.

Young, 72, became interim president in 1999 for a term expected to last six to eight months, interrupting his retirement following a 29-year tenure as chancellor of the University of California at Los Angeles.

A week after Young started, Gov. Jeb Bush's plan to end affirmative action in university admissions was announced, and it was up to Young to figure out how to put it in place.

Five months after he started, the Legislature began dismantling the state board that created universities. On top of all that, the economy slumped, and universities faced budget cuts they hadn't seen in years.

In 2000, Young agreed to extend his term and later that year the interim was dropped from his title.

"We were in a time of turmoil and uncertainty in our governance," Carolyn Roberts, chairwoman of the state Board of Governors. "And his leadership was instrumental in having UF come through that period as a leading university should."

Young and his wife, Judy, will divide Young's second retirement between California, where both are from, and a new home on an island off the coast of British Columbia. Young says he also may do some consulting work.

A dentist by trade, Machen was dean of the University of Michigan, before going to Utah. There, he was credited with bringing a degree of financial stability to the university, and stood up to state lawmakers over university funding and the school's ban on firearms on campus.

In his first two years, Machen will earn a base salary of $375,000 plus an annual bonus of up to $75,000 plus benefits, perks and other deferred compensation. Eventually, long-term performance and retention bonuses in his contract boost the overall compensation. If he stays eight years and meets certain goals, he could average $685,625 annually, which would make him among the highest paid public university presidents in the country.

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