Your Journey Begins Here
When Dave Richardson, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, addressed the Class of 2019 at Convocation last August, he shared stories about jobs he had in high school and college — flipping burgers, bagging groceries, digging ditches, baling hay, and feeding pigs. From these experiences, he said, he learned three important lessons: First, our nation is built by capable, dedicated, and hard-working people. Second, teamwork is essential for any organization to succeed. Third, individuals must discover and pursue their own passions.
“We are here to help you discover your own path,” he said, “not to define who you become.”
Richardson is and always has been an advocate for the liberal arts and sciences, for its depth and breadth of the diversity of subject matter, and the inherent humanistic value of the college’s core mission — understanding our place and responsibility in the world and helping to shape, protect and better society, the environment, and the global community.
Dean Richardson’s priorities for the college include increasing diversity, entrepreneurship, and collaboration. Bernard Brzezinski/UF Photography
“The degree you earn is only the beginning of your journey.”
Richardson was named dean of the college last March. He had been interim dean since June 2014 and a member of the University of Florida community since 1983 when he joined the Department of Chemistry as an assistant professor. He rose through the ranks to become a professor of chemistry and was chair of the chemistry department (2000–2006) before being named associate dean for research in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. From 2009 to 2014, he was the senior associate dean of the college, overseeing faculty and administrative issues including tenure, promotion, hiring, and budgeting.
Richardson completed his undergraduate work in chemistry at Furman University in 1976. He received a doctorate in chemistry from Stanford University in 1981 under the direction of Nobel Laureate Henry Taube. He was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Stanford University. His recent research concentrates on development of an environmentally friendly process that has applications in water purification, medical sterilization, organic synthesis, and many other areas.
As dean, Richardson seeks to foster and encourage collaboration and teamwork among faculty members and students alike, believing that the exchange of ideas is powerful and productive. He also believes that education is a lifelong process. As he told the Class of 2019, “The degree you earn is only the beginning of your journey.”
To support the people, program, or research featured in this story, please visit