Martha Dunagin Saunders is the sixth President of the University of West Florida.
In her 30-plus years in higher education, she has served as in academic and leadership roles at universities in Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin and Mississippi. Her area of academic expertise is in public relations and crisis communication for which she has won numerous awards, including two Public Relations Society of America’s coveted Silver Anvils.
Saunders led the University of West Florida to its status as a top-performing public universities with the third-highest score in the Florida Board of Governors performance metrics. She established the UWF Innovation Institute, Center for Cybersecurity and the Office of Equity and Diversity. She oversaw the reorganization of the institution’s colleges, and under her guidance, UWF established two new named colleges–the Usha Kundu M.D. College of Health and the Hal Marcus College of Science and Engineering. Saunders’ vision for UWF is for it to grow beyond its beginnings as a regional comprehensive university and be seen as a leader in innovation and cutting-edge academic programs. She plans to build on the University’s strengths and its undergraduate traditions while creating programs that will attract the faculty and research funding needed to make the leap to the next level.
As an entrepreneurial leader, Saunders is passionate about creating innovative solutions to deal with the dynamic challenges facing higher education. As a change maker, she drives action behind these solutions to propel higher education into the future.
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