Five finalists named in Florida Polytechnic University Presidential Search

Mar 25, 2024
Presidential Search Finalists

The Florida Polytechnic University Presidential Search Committee announced on Monday, March 25 the five finalists who will advance to the next steps of the search process.

The Florida Polytechnic University Presidential Search Committee announced today the names of the five finalists that will be presented to the University’s Board of Trustees for consideration. The announcement was made after a committee vote on Thursday, March 21.

“Our search committee thoroughly reviewed, vetted, and interviewed a vast pool of exceptionally qualified candidates to identify and recommend these finalists,” said Beth Kigel, vice-chair of the Florida Poly Board of Trustees and chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “I extend my gratitude to the members of the search committee for their time and commitment to ensuring a successful process and to the candidates engaged in the application and interview process for their enthusiasm and desire to help shape the future of Florida Poly.” 

The five finalists seeking to become Florida Poly’s second president are (in alphabetical order):

  • H. Keith Moo-Young – Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • David P. Norton – Vice President for Research; President of University of Florida Research Foundation; Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Florida
  • Daniel W. O’ Sullivan – Vice Provost; Professor of Chemistry, U.S. Naval Academy
  • G. Devin Stephenson – President, Northwest Florida State College
  • Bjong Wolf Yeigh – Former Chancellor; Professor of Engineering, University of Washington, Bothell

The next steps for the finalists will be in-person interviews with the University Board of Trustees as well as campus forums with stakeholders such as students, faculty, and staff. The schedule of interviews and campus visits will be available in the coming days on the Presidential Search website.

“I appreciate the hard work and effort made by the Presidential Search Committee to see the process through to this point. They have identified exceptionally qualified candidates, and the board and I are looking forward to the next phase of this important endeavor.” said Cliff Otto, chair of the Florida Poly Board of Trustees. “Selecting the next president is one of the most critical roles we have as a board and I’m confident we will find the right candidate to lead Florida Poly into its next decade.” 

Below are the bios for each finalist: 


Moo-Young is the vice provost and dean of undergraduate education at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a private research university in Troy, New York. Prior to this, he was chancellor at Washington State University Tri-Cities from 2013-2018, and dean of the College of Engineering at California State University, Los Angeles from 2006-2013. Earlier in his career, Moo-Young was associate dean for research and graduate studies at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, where he also served as interim dean, and was a tenured professor in civil and environmental engineering at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.

Moo-Young is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists (AAEES), and National Academy of Inventors (NAI).

Moo-Young served as the chair of the Environmental Engineering Committee for the Science Advisory Board of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He is also a member of the National Advisory Board of Great Minds in STEM.   

Moo-Young earned a Ph.D. and M.S. in civil and environmental engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and an executive master’s in technology management from the University of Pennsylvania.


Norton is vice president for research at the University of Florida in Gainesville. He began the position in 2012, overseeing a research enterprise of $1.25 billion per year. Prior to this, he was as associate dean for research in the UF College of Engineering from 2009-2012, as well as a faculty member in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering since joining UF in 2000. Before joining UF, Norton worked at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for 11 years.

Norton has published more than 370 refereed journal articles with over 17,000 citations. Norton is an inventor on 10 patents and has presented more than 70 invited presentations at national and international presentations. 

Norton is a fellow of the American Vacuum Society, the American Physical Society, the National Academy of Inventors, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is also a member of the Materials Research Society and the Electrochemical Society. 

Norton earned his bachelor and Ph.D. degrees at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.


O’ Sullivan is vice provost and professor of chemistry at the U.S. Naval Academy. He has served the academy in its Division of Mathematics and Science curriculum and assessment committees, as chair of the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee, vice president of the Faculty Senate, chairman of the Chemistry Department, and senior professor for the Division of Mathematics and Science. He also became vice academic dean in 2017.

O’Sullivan is an associate editor for the journal Marine Chemistry and has published numerous research articles. He has been recognized for his research contributions with two NASA Group Achievement Awards, and the USNA Civilian Faculty Research Excellence Award. His service contributions have been recognized with a U.S. Navy Civilian Meritorious Service Award.

He has been the Principal Investigator or co-PI on external research funding from the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program, and the Office of Naval Research.  

O’Sullivan attended Millersville University and graduated magna cum laude with degrees in Chemistry and Earth Science. He performed his graduate work at the University of Rhode Island, graduating with his Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography. O’Sullivan received a Rosenstiel Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami.


Stephenson is president of Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Florida. He has extensive experience in community college executive administration having served in president/CEO positions in Alabama, Missouri, and Kentucky for a total of over 15 years.

Stephenson served on the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) Board of Trustees, chaired the SACSCOC Compliance and Reports Committee, and currently serves as a visiting committee chair. He also serves as Florida’s representative on the Executive Council of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Executive Council, and was appointed in 2022.

Stephenson is a noted speaker on leadership, organizational change, and professional and personal development. In 2022, he was awarded the Phi Theta Kappa Shirley B. Gordon Award of Distinction. In 2023, The University of Alabama College of Education honored him with their Harold Bishop Alumni Leadership Award.

During Stephenson's tenure at Northwest Florida State College, the Foundation’s assets have increased to over $63 million, grant acquisitions have surpassed $66 million, and enhanced legislative appropriations have exceeded $40 million.

Stephenson holds a Ph.D. higher education administration from the University of Alabama. 


Yeigh is a professor of engineering at the University of Washington Bothell who served as its chancellor from 2013-2021. He was the university’s third chancellor, overseeing the expansion of its academic programs, the doubling of student enrollment, and an increase in philanthropic support. Prior to this, he was a professor and president of the State University of New York Institute of Technology from 2008-2013. Yeigh also was vice president for academic affairs and dean of the faculty at Norwich University in Northfield, Vermont; engineering dean at Saint Louis University, in St. Louis, Missouri; and assistant provost for science and technology at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. 

Yeigh is an elected fellow of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and serves on several national and state boards for engineering, economic development, public policy, and education including the ASME Board of Governors as an elected at-large member. 

Yeigh earned his undergraduate degree in engineering science from Dartmouth College, a master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford University, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in civil engineering and operations research from Princeton University.

Yeigh is a veteran of the U.S. Navy, Yeigh served as a tactical intelligence officer for Fighter Squadron Seventy-Four aboard the USS Saratoga in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. 


Lydia Guzmán
Director of Communications