University of West Florida President Martha D. Saunders announced the appointment of Dr. Gary Liguori as provost and senior vice president, effective Jan. 23, 2023. In his role as provost, Liguori will function as the institution’s chief academic officer. The selection follows an extensive interview process with open meetings and included input from University leadership and the University community.
“Dr. Liguori rose to the top of an impressive list of candidates for the position,” Saunders said. “His breadth of experience and passion for public higher education won strong support from the campus community. I’m looking forward to his leadership in academic affairs.”
Prior to his appointment, Liguori was the inaugural dean of the University of Rhode Island College of Health Sciences where he directed seven health-related academic departments and six external clinics. As dean, Liguori boosted professional advising in his college, created a Teaching Fellow initiative, supported the creation of new academic units or degrees and secured year over year increases in sponsored research grants and annual giving to the college.
“Serving as the next provost at the University of West Florida is a tremendous professional honor, and I am grateful to President Saunders, Search Chair Dr. Greg Tomso and the entire search committee for their confidence in me,” Liguori said. “The foundation created at UWF by President Saunders is incredibly strong and has the University making significant gains each and every year. I’m excited to be part of that trajectory, and to help bring to fruition the goals set forth in the current strategic plan. I also want to thank the leadership of the University of Rhode Island for their support and encouragement during my time as dean, which has prepared me well for the challenges and opportunities I’ll encounter at UWF.”
With nearly 30 years of experience in higher education, Liguori has served in multiple academic roles at various institutions including University of Tennessee Chattanooga and North Dakota State University. He also serves on numerous boards and was recently appointed as the inaugural editor-in-chief of the American College of Sports Medicine’s open access journal “Exercise, Sport, and Movement.”
Liguori earned a bachelor’s degree in fitness/wellness from the University of Central Missouri, a master of science degree in cardiac rehabilitation/exercise science from East Stroudsburg University and a Ph.D. in wellness from North Dakota State University.