Will Weatherford was elected as the new chair of the Board of Trustees (BOT) during Tuesday’s meeting, replacing current chair Jordan Zimmerman.
After Zimmerman announced he would not be taking on another year as the chairman of the BOT, trustee John Ramil nominated Weatherford to fill his position for the upcoming term beginning July 1.
“In my opinion, one of us is uniquely suited to be our next chair at this time. I think this person is a proven and highly respected leader in the region and in the state of Florida,” he said. “This person more than most has experienced, observed and thrived on how this state functions and how things get done. So for those reasons, I’d like to nominate trustee Will Weatherford, our current vice chair, to be chair next year.”
Weatherford accepted the nomination and was unanimously voted in, with Zimmerman symbolically handing over his gavel to his successor.
“What Chairman Zimmerman has dedicated to this university for over 12 years and even before that is an inordinate amount of time and a tremendous amount of his personal talent,” Weatherford said. “What he has meant to this university will continue to be this university cannot be said in words.”
Trustee Mike Griffin was nominated as the vice chair of the BOT, and was also unanimously voted in by the trustees.
The term for the new chair and vice chair will begin in July, and will span until June 2023. Weatherford said he is eager to help USF expand and become a propellent for the improvement of the surrounding community.
“We have the ability to dream very big and to make USF not just one of the preeminent universities in Florida, but one of the most preeminent universities in the United States of America,” he said. “I think that is what we’re capable of and that’s what we’re building.
“This goal of being a top 25 university is not a goal. It’s a mission. It’s a movement. And together, we’re going to achieve it. It’s going to be really special to be a part of it, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Weatherford has served as the vice chair of the BOT since February. He was nominated to the BOT by Gov. Ron DeSantis in January.
Prior to his appointment to the board, he served as representative of Florida’s 38th District in 2006 as a member of the Republican Party as well as House Speaker from 2012 to 2014. Shortly afterward, in 2015, he began working as a managing partner at Weatherford Capital, a family-owned private investment firm.
While he has only served on the USF BOT for a semester, he has experience serving on the Jacksonville University BOT, where he also earned his bachelor’s degree in international business.
Along with his BOT membership, Weatherford is also a member of several administrative boards, including the Florida Council of 100, Florida Chamber of Commerce and he served as co-chairman of the Super Bowl LV Host Committee.
As the new chair of the BOT, Weatherford said he is looking forward to making his own contribution to the university, just as other chairs have before him.
“We stand on the shoulders of many people who have come here before us,” he said. “Former trustees, faculty, staff, administration and most importantly the students, and we owe it to those past generations and to the ones in the future to continue to make USF a very special place, and I look forward to playing a small role in doing that.”