Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse is expected to leave Congress to become the next president of the University of Florida by early next year.
Sasse, a second-term Republican, was unanimously selected Thursday as the sole finalist for the gig from a pool of 700 candidates that was narrowed down to a dozen by the university’s presidential search committee.
He must be approved as president by the University of Florida’s Board of Trustees, which is subject to confirmation by the Florida Board of Governors. He is expected to be approved after a November interview and has said he intends to accept the position.
“The caliber of teaching and research at UF is unmistakable, carried out through the core principles of shared governance and academic freedom,” Sasse said in a statement. “I’m thrilled about the opportunity to work alongside one of the nation’s most outstanding faculties.”
Before entering into politics, Sasse developed a career in higher education which included roles like the president of Midland University, a small private Lutheran college in Nebraska, for five years. He also worked as a professor at Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin.
The University of Florida’s search committee admired his range of experience in both academia and politics.
“This is right for the University of Florida, right for the state of Florida and right for the Sasse family,” said Rahul Patel, chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “Ben brings intellectual curiosity, a belief in the power and potential of American universities, and an unmatched track record of leadership spanning higher education, government and the private sector.”
Sasse earned a PhD from Yale and a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University.
In Washington, he was one of the few Republicans to convict former President Donald Trump on impeachment charges following the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol riot. He has strongly condemned his own party for continuing to back Trump.
A special election will likely be held to replace Sasse should he take the top job at the University of Florida.