Faculty Leave the Knights to Tackle Tigers

The UCF College of Sciences is proudly sending off two faculty this fall – Chris Parkinson, Ph.D., and Cynthia Young, Ph.D.

Parkinson is a professor of biology and founding director of the Faculty Cluster Initiative. He’s known among students for the Parkinson Lab, where students studied venomous snakes, lizards, marine turtles and small mammals. Parkinson will be relocating his research lab this fall to Clemson University, along with his current grad students and post-doc. He says he’s most excited to apply what he learned at UCF to his new work at Clemson.

“I’ve learned a lot at UCF over the last 20 years,” Parkinson said. “That knowledge will propel me forward and I’ll implement it in my new work.”

“The Department of Biology has grown tremendously in recent years and Chris has definitely played a major role in that process,” said Graham Worthy, Chair of the Biology Department. “He ably represented the goals of the department, the College, and the University in his various capacities as a faculty member, as Chair of the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee and as Director of the Faculty Cluster Initiative.”

Parkinson will be a tenured faculty member in biological sciences with a joint appointment in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation. His appointment at Clemson includes the whole family. His wife, Cynthia Young, Ph.D., joined UCF in 1997 as an assistant professor of mathematics, earning promotion to professor in 2008. She then went on to serve as an associate dean for the College of Sciences and is stepping down from her current role as UCF’s Vice Provost for Faculty Excellence and UCF Global.

Young was selected to join Clemson as a founding dean of its new College of Science.

“Leaving creates opportunities for others to lead at UCF and we look forward to watching that happen,” Young said. “I will bring the spirit of a partnership university to Clemson.”

Not to be out done by her parents, their 10-year-old daughter Caroline had this to say before moving to South Carolina, “Go science! Go math!”

“We are sorry to lose Cynthia and Chris’ insight and wit. Clemson is gaining two extremely talented minds,” Provost and Executive Vice President Dale Whittaker, Ph.D., said in a release. “I wish them both every success in their new endeavors, and thank them for making a positive, lasting impact on the institution, their students and their colleagues. UCF is better now than when they found us.”

The College of Sciences wishes Parkinson and Young well, and is thankful for their leadership.

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