UNF tabs USF business dean Moez Limayem as next president


The University of North Florida has found its next president — University of South Florida Muma College of Business Dean Moez Limayem.

Limayem was picked over three other finalists to succeed David Szymanski as president of the Jacksonville school:

  • David Blackwell, a professor of finance and former provost at the University of Kentucky.
  • David Brennen, a professor of law and former dean of the law school at the University of Kentucky.
  • Marc Miller, dean of the law school at the University of Arizona.

Szymanski stepped down last year.

The appointment still needs the approval of the state’s Board of Governors, which is slated to meet June 29-30 in Orlando.

“Dr. Limayem has a proven record as an innovative and accomplished leader with the vision to advance the University,” Kevin Hyde, chair of the UNF board of trustees, said in a news release. “As we celebrate UNF’s 50th year, we look forward to Dr. Limayem using his experience, leadership and engaging style to continue to build on our strong history, growing opportunities for students and enhancing the University’s critical role in the region and beyond.”

Limayem, 58, joined the Muma College of Business in 2012 after serving as the associate dean for research and graduate programs at the University of Arkansas Sam W. Walton College of Business.

Since then, he’s helped raise more than $126 million dollars for the college, including several naming gifts of more than $10 million each:

Four people - two men and two women - smile as they stand on a stage in front of a palm plant.

Aimee Blodgett


USF Communications & Marketing

USF Muma College of Business Dean Moez Limayem (l to r), then USF System President Judy Genshaft, Lynn Pippenger and Raymond James Chairman Thomas James appear at an event naming the School of Accountancy after Pippenger, who has given more than $27 million to USF.
  • Pam and Les Muma gave $25 million — the single largest gift in USF history in 2014;
  • Lynn Pippenger has given more than $22 million to USF, including $10 million to USF and its accounting programs, which now bear her name. The endowed deanship for the College of Business was also named for Pippenger after a $5 million donation in 2020;
  • Barron Gift Collier III and his wife, Dana, gave $10.85 million to the college for the Collier Student Success Center in 2015;
  • and Arnie and Lauren Bellini gave $10 million in 2020 to create the Bellini Center for Talent Development.

Limayem also oversaw the growth of the college’s freshman retention rate to 95 percent, along with similar growth in job placement rates.

When Limayem joined USF in 2012, he told WUSF’s University Beat that among his goals was getting away from a teaching style he called “Death by PowerPoint” and instead increase student internships and other connections with potential employers.

“We want our students to have meaningful professional experiences,” he said. “We do more than just disseminate knowledge, we prepare our students for a professional career, so when they start working, they’re better than the others who had the dose of PowerPoint.”

Limayem has a strong international background, including serving as an expert in IT for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) since 1992 and teaching at the University of Minnesota, Laval University in Canada, City University of Hong Kong, and University of Lausanne in Switzerland.

USF President Rhea Law put out a statement Monday afternoon, congratulating Limayem.

“I deeply appreciate all that Dean Limayem has contributed in the past decade to elevate business education and research at the University of South Florida, the passionate leadership he brought to the college and his service to USF,” said Law. “His ability to connect with employers and quickly shape curriculum as our world changes has led to the creation of new programs in fintech and cybersecurity, as well as the addition of majors in supply chain management and personal financial planning.”

Law also said USF plans to conduct a nationwide search for Limayem’s successor.

Limayem is the latest in a series of USF officials to leave the university.

Provost Ralph Wilcox is stepping down in August after around 14 years in the role. College of Arts and Sciences Dean Eric Eisenberg will serve as interim provost while the search for Wilcox’s successor continues. Wilcox will remain at USF as a professor.

Senior vice provost and Dean of the Office of Graduate Studies Dwayne Smith is also retiring August 6 after 22 years at USF.

And USF St. Petersburg campus regional chancellor Martin Tadlock is stepping down June 17 and will be returning to a teaching role in the USF College of Education. He joined USF in 2016 and has served as chancellor since 2017.

Updated: May 18, 2022 at 1:00 PM EDT

This article has been updated to reflect Martin Tadlock’s status going forward.


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