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GAINESVILLE (CBSMiami/AP) — There should finally be some stability coming for the big school in Gainesville.

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The University of Florida chose Cornell University’s provost Wednesday to become the school’s next president, replacing Bernie Machen as the state’s largest university continues its drive to become a Top 10 public university nationwide.

After three-days of interviews and meetings, the Board of Trustees named W. Kent Fuchs as the 161-year-old school’s 12th president. The other finalist was New York University Provost David McLaughlin.

Fuchs stressed fundraising during his public interview with the board Wednesday. He was head of Purdue University’s school of electrical and computer engineering from 1996 to 2002. Fuchs said he spent 50 percent of his time fundraising, an integral task for UF’s new president.

“The only way to build resources in that school was not going to my dean and asking for money, but going out and bringing it in from the outside,” he told the board.

UF, one of the nation’s 74 land-grant universities, has 4,200 full-time faculty and more than 50,000 students. It is currently ranked as the nation’s No. 14 best public university by U.S. News and World Report.

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This presidential search process began in March. It marked the second try by the school to replace Machen, who initially wanted to retire in 2013. He later decided to remain president and defer retirement just days before a successor was chosen.

Machen said at the time that he had changed his mind after Gov. Rick Scott committed to support the school’s goal of becoming a pre-eminent university.

The school spent $95,000 on an executive search firm in an effort to attract someone who can help push its ranking higher.

The school is offering between $950,000 and $1.25 million per year in total compensation, and is building a $5 million mansion to house the new president. A final contract with Fuchs will be negotiated.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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