Riley named dean of FSU Graduate School

Riley is a longtime faculty member in the Department of Physics at Florida State.

Florida State University Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Sally McRorie has appointed Mark Riley dean of the Graduate School, effective May 7.

Riley is a longtime faculty member in the Department of Physics at Florida State. He has served as interim dean of the Graduate School since August 2017 when former dean, the late Nancy Marcus, stepped down from the role.

“I’m excited about the future,” Riley said. “Since serving as interim dean I have learned more and more about the job and all that it encompasses. I have a spectacular team of people that Nancy put together. She did an incredible job in her 12 years as the dean and moved us forward on many, many fronts. Her record is spectacular. I just hope that I can keep that going.”

Riley, a world-renowned nuclear physicist, joined the FSU faculty nearly 27 years ago. He is the Raymond K. Sheline Professor of Physics and served as associate chair and chair of the university’s physics department.

In April 2014, Riley was named the 2014-2015 Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor. The recognition is the highest honor the university faculty bestows on one of its own.

“Mark Riley is one of the best recognized and most respected faculty members at FSU,” McRorie said. “As a Lawton Professor, excellent teacher, renowned research scientist and former administrator in the Department of Physics, no one is better situated to know the benefits and critical importance of growing the size and quality of our graduate programs. Dean Riley has my full support, confidence and gratitude for assuming these important new duties.”

As dean, Riley is responsible for the oversight of the education of approximately 8,000 graduate and professional students. He said his vision for the college is in concert with FSU’s strategic plan and its goal to become a Top 25 public university.

“My job is to work with the colleges and the units to see how we can enhance their capabilities to keep growing their graduate programs not only in numbers but also quality,” Riley said. “I want to keep that momentum going and increase it so that we can keep moving toward the Top 25 and beyond. We all have to work together for the good of the university, and I believe we are doing that. FSU is a very special place.”

Riley earned both a bachelor of science in physics and a doctorate in nuclear physics from the University of Liverpool in England. Prior to coming to Florida State in 1990, he worked as a research associate at the Niels Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. He also served as an advanced fellow at the University of Liverpool.

“I’ve been at Florida State University for 27 years,” he said. “President John Thrasher and Provost Sally McRorie are leading us into a bright new future. They have made a huge impact already. This is a happening place, there is an excitement on campus and an optimism I’ve not seen in the past 27 years. The future is bright, and it’s going to get brighter.”