Helping Families Ensure Their Children Enter School Ready to Learn

Children’s Champion John A. Delaney 

The Honorable John A. Delaney

President, University of North Florida & Former Mayor of Jacksonville 

John A. Delaney became the University of North Florida‘s fifth president in 2003, after serving eight years as mayor of Jacksonville. UNF has flourished under President Delaney’s leadership, serving as a vibrant economic driver with an enrollment of more than 16,000 students.

In addition to expanding UNF’s physical campus 168 percent, increasing the accredited programs by 46 percent and raising millions of dollars for student scholarships, Delaney also implemented programs to benefit children in his 15 years leading the institution. Delaney enhanced the College of Education and Human Services, the largest producer of K-12 teachers in the region, impacting the lives of millions of children on the First Coast and beyond. UNF also acquired the Jacksonville Museum of Contemporary Art, which provides programs to thousands of schoolchildren every year.

In two terms as mayor, Delaney improved the quality of life for children and families by providing expanded access to libraries, making underserved neighborhoods safer and more viable, and enhancing and preserving Jacksonville’s natural assets. He launched the Better Jacksonville Plan, a $2.2 billion dollar municipal improvement project, that, among other infrastructure projects, reinvigorated the local parks system and added 6 new branch libraries as well as a new Main Library in Jacksonville’s urban core. Delaney also led the Preservation Project, a series of land acquisitions that helped Jacksonville build the nation’s largest urban park system in the U.S. Safeguarded for the future, these green spaces encourage play and provide easy, free access to the natural abundance of Northeast Florida.

Generations of children are benefiting from Delaney’s leadership of the city and UNF, and those benefits will continue for decades.

Delaney and his wife, Gena, have four children and three grandchildren. Read his official biography here.