Respected and Successful Florida Policymaker Will Join FAU

Jeff Atwater, with years of experience in public and private finance and has served as a member of the Governor’s cabinet, will become FAU's vice president for strategic initiatives and chief financial officer.

By joshua glanzer | 2/10/2017

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Jeff Atwater, who brings years of experience in finance in the public and private sectors and executive leadership in Florida as a member of the Governor’s cabinet, has agreed to become Florida Atlantic University’s vice president for strategic initiatives and chief financial officer.

Atwater will leave his role as the state of Florida’s chief financial officer after conclusion of the 2017 legislative session. He replaces Dorothy Russell, who retired as FAU’s CFO on Jan. 31 after a decade with the University and a 40-year career in higher education. David (Art) Kite was appointed FAU’s interim vice president for financial affairs on Feb. 1.

In his new role with FAU, Atwater will lead the University’s strategic initiatives and economic development opportunities as well as manage the budget. As a vice president, Atwater will serve on the University’s Executive Leadership Team, which reports directly to FAU President John Kelly.

Atwater will combine his role as CFO with overall responsibility for a wide array of economic development opportunities, including identifying and establishing public-private partnerships and formulating unique initiatives that align with the University’s strategic plan.

President John Kelly said Atwater was his first choice for this expanded CFO role.

“I met Jeff soon after I became FAU president and was immediately struck by his presence. As the CFO of the world’s 16th largest economy — called the state of Florida — his experience and ability to navigate complex financial waters speaks for itself,” Kelly said. “When I approached Jeff about joining us here, it was immediately obvious he cares passionately about FAU. There is no better person to help guide this University’s finances and corporate relationships as we continue with unbridled ambition to make FAU America’s fastest improving university.”

As Florida’s CFO, Atwater led the Department of Financial Services and its 13 divisions to national recognition for the financial management of the state, financial transparency and financial literacy.

Atwater said the South Florida region has long known of his enthusiasm for FAU and he is excited for the opportunity to further the University’s reputation.

“As a parent of FAU graduates, I cannot think of a better place to begin the next phase of my career,” Atwater said. “I am extremely grateful to have served my state as its CFO, and I will dedicate as much energy to my new role with FAU.”