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Kenneth A. Jessell selected as FIU's sixth president
President-Designate Kenneth A. Jessell, center, with Board of Trustees Chair Dean Colson, left, and BOT Vice Chair and Presidential Search Committee Chair Rogelio Tovar

Kenneth A. Jessell selected as FIU's sixth president

October 17, 2022 at 12:24pm

Today the Florida International University Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name Kenneth A. Jessell the university’s sixth president.

The selection of Jessell, who has served as FIU’s interim president since January, is pending confirmation by the Florida Board of Governors.

“In Dr. Jessell we have found the best possible leader for FIU at this moment in its history,” said Dean C. Colson, chair of the FIU Board of Trustees. “His passion, vision, and knowledge of the institution are unmatched. We are fortunate to have him.”

FIU’s Presidential Search Committee, chaired by Roger Tovar, vice chair of the FIU Board of Trustees, spent months working with a search firm to identify, recruit and interview candidates. 

The search firm communicated with approximately 186 individuals regarding the position. From this group, more than 70 individuals submitted their documents to be considered by the search committee. Jessell was chosen from a highly qualified pool of 12 individuals that the Presidential Search Committee interviewed. Nine of the 12 were sitting, past or interim presidents.

“Dr. Jessell has been a key part of the leadership team that has brought FIU to this point, and he’s the right leader to keep us moving forward as a leading research institution,” Tovar said.

In the days leading up to today’s BOT meeting, Dr. Jessell held six open forums during which he took questions from students, faculty, staff and members of the community. 

During the forums, Jessell laid out four key areas of focus: Student success, research excellence, sustainable resources, and affinity and engagement.

“We have realized significant success in many of these areas, and yes, the best is yet to come for FIU,” Jessell said. “FIU is on a trajectory of success, and I am committed to ensuring that we have the focus and the resources to achieve our goals and continue to provide our students exceptional opportunities.”

FIU is the fastest-rising university in U.S. News & World Report public rankings in the last 10 years and has achieved many “Top 50” rankings, including those focused on economic mobility, return on investment, innovation, and research expenditure growth.

Prior to serving as interim president, Jessell was FIU’s senior vice president for finance and administration and CFO for 13 years. In this position, he was responsible for the management and administration of financial, facility and business service operations of the university. He also is a professor of finance in the College of Business Administration at FIU.

Prior to his time at FIU, Jessell served as the senior vice president for financial affairs at Florida Atlantic University. During his 26-year career at FAU, Jessell served in several key leadership positions, including interim university provost, interim vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the FAU Foundation, associate university provost and associate dean in the College of Business Administration. Jessell started at FAU in 1983 as an assistant professor in the Department of Finance and Real Estate.

Jessell’s teaching and research interests are in the areas of financial management and real estate finance and appraisal. He has published 16 articles and abstracts in academic journals including The Financial Review, Journal of Cash Management, The Appraisal Review, Housing Finance Review, Applied Economics and Journal of Financial Education. He also has presented several research papers in the areas of finance and real estate at professional conferences and organizations including the Oxford Roundtable in Oxford, England.

A native Floridian, Jessell received his Baccalaureate Degree in Political Science from Florida State University. He also holds a Master of Business Administration degree, as well as a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Finance from FSU. Jessell and his wife Lori have two adult children, Amanda and John, and a grandson James.

Jessell’s appointment now is pending confirmation by the Florida Board of Governors, which is scheduled to meet on Nov. 9 and 10, 2022.

Additional mages and videos can be found at this link.

Oct. 17 FIU Board of Trustees meeting at which Kenneth A. Jessell was selected president; bottom-right: Jessell embraces his wife Lori as BOT member Deanne Butchey looks on