Arts & Culture

Trustees ask President Bense to lead UWF until 2012 – Maritime Museum to stay at original location

The University of West Florida board of trustees voted unanimously Friday to extend President Judy Bense's appointment until March 2012.

The University of West Florida board of trustees voted unanimously Friday to extend President Judy Bense’s appointment until March 2012.

“It’s absolutely thrilling and I am honored,” said Bense.

Bense became interim president July 1, 2008. And, in December the UWF Board of Trustees voted to extend her contract through the summer of 2010.

“UWF students love President Bense,” said Student Government Association President Amanda Clonts, “They feel she is there for them.”

Prior to the vote, trustees discussed her self-evaluation and the trustee evaluation of her performance. They also discussed input from the Faculty Senate President, the Staff Senate, and the Student Body President. Many felt that Bense was right for the job.

“It’s wonderful to know that I will be able to facilitate UWF’s strategic goals and long term plans into becoming reality. I’m ready to serve.” said Bense.

In other business, the trustees voted to keep the original and preferred site for the Vice Admiral John H. Fetterman State of Florida Maritime Museum and Research Center.

UWF is working with the Gulf Breeze Capital Trust Agency on a plan that could provide about $13.4 million toward the project from a U.S. Treasury program known as New Market Tax Credits. However, eligibility for the credits requires an expedited construction schedule.

UWF President Judy Bense indicated that the university could expedite the construction schedule for the current site and will ask that the CMPA bring the site to pad readiness in time to meet the New Market Tax Credit deadlines.

“We squeezed our construction schedule, and are ready to move forward,” Bense said.

UWF will now work to raise the remaining $2.8 million needed to finalize the maritime museum, which will serve as a signature educational and research facility for the State of Florida. The 40,000 square foot museum will feature topical displays about underwater shipwrecks, maritime navigation, shipping, railroads, the timber industry and naval history.

For more information on the Maritime Museum or to make a gift, visit To view the UWF BOT webcast visit

Written by Janice Cooper, University Marketing Communications