PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Dr. Aysegul Timur selected as FGCU president; vote from Board of Governors is next

Florida Gulf Coast University’s Board of Trustees Thursday afternoon selected Aysegul Timur, Ph.D., to become FGCU’s fifth president and first female to hold that post. The decision was reached Thursday afternoon following final interviews with four finalists, which also included Henry Mack III, Ed.D., the senior chancellor of the Florida Department of Education; Neil J. MacKinnon, Ph.D., the executive vice president for Academic Affairs and provost at Augusta University; and Joseph A. “Jay” Morgan, Ph.D., the president of Morehead State University.
Florida Gulf Coast University
Aysegul Timur

Florida Gulf Coast University's Board of Trustees selected Aysegul Timur on Thursday to become its next president.

Timur currently serves as the university's Vice President and Vice Provost for Strategy and Program Innovation. She joined Florida Gulf Coast University four years ago.

Timur was among from three other candidates for the position. She will be the first female selected and the fifth president of the 25-year-old university.

Aysegul Timur elected as FGCU's next president

When her name was called many rose to their feet with thunderous applause. Some like employee Kiley Barnett even cried with joy.

"Anytime a woman is elected into a leadership role its really exciting for young woman like myself and like students at FGCU and for our area," said Barnett, a student navigator for innovative educational partnerships. "I just think she is awesome, there is nothing bad to say about her."

The Florida Board of Governors will need to sign off on the appointment at its June meeting. Timur's name dominated much of the public comment when nearly all people to speak urged to the Board of Trustees to nominate her for the presidency.

Another name to dominate public comment was finalist Henry Mack, a Gov. Ron DeSantis appointee to the Florida Department of Education, though comments about Mack was largely negative.

In the end, it came down to one vote as Timur bested Mack for the nomination. After the 7-to-6 vote that named Timur the president-elect, the trustees took a ceremonial vote to express confidence in the selection of Timur as president-elect. That vote was unanimous.

Originally from Turkey, Timur made the cross-continental journey to Naples 25 years ago with the intention of getting her doctorate degree. Her goal, she said, was ambitious as she did not speak any English at the time. Within four years she earned her doctorate from the University of South Florida.

A tearful Timur was met with a standing ovation when she entered the room after the vote naming her president-elect.

"This is really a life achievement for me to be considered as president-elect at FGCU," Timur told the trustees and over 150 people in attendance. "What we do, the difference that we make in our students and our community — I don't have enough words to say how honored I am to lead this great institution and working with each one of you here, our students, our faculty and staff."

If finalized, Timur will replace Dr. Michael V. Martin, who was named president in 2017. Martin, who came out of retirement for the top job at Florida Gulf Coast University, announced his intentions to retire in 2021 but agreed to remain until a replacement was selected.

Martin's retirement was pushed back when the Board of Trustees in November decided to start the selection process all over after a short delay in the process. During that delay, two of the three finalists withdrew from consideration.

The News Service of Florida reported that trustee chair Blake Gable attributed the delay to a conversation he had with a member of the board of governors who was outspoken about the quality of candidates up for consideration. The Board of Governors are appointed by Florida’s governor. Nearly all of the members of the FGCU’s Board of Trustees are either appointed by the governor or appointed by the Board of Governors.

Following the announcement, Martin and Timur wrapped their arms around each other and Martin leaned in telling Timur how confident he is that she will be successful. WGCU is your trusted source for news and information in Southwest Florida. We are a nonprofit public service, and your support is more critical than ever. Keep public media strong and donate now. Thank you.

WGCU is your trusted source for news and information in Southwest Florida. We are a nonprofit public service, and your support is more critical than ever. Keep public media strong and donate now. Thank you.