First Lady Machen has worked to better the University of Florida and the North Central Florida region since her husband, Bernie, became president in 2004. She is best known for her leadership in advancing sustainability at UF, leading to UF’s hiring of its first director of sustainability in 2006 and initiatives that have fundamentally altered UF’s approach to building, transportation and waste.
In the Gainesville community, First Lady Machen has served on the Child Advocacy Board, Boys and Girls Club Board and Florida 4-H Board, among others. Her most cherished activity is far less formal. With local veterinarian Dale Kaplan-Stein, she founded and operates a clinic at Gainesville’s St. Francis House to provide care to pets of low-income residents and the homeless.
First Lady Machen earned her degree in nursing from St. Louis University, taught nursing at the University of Iowa and spent 12 years in the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s University Hospital. Later, she switched from the neonatal intensive care unit to pediatric home health nursing before ending her career in 1996, when President Machen became provost at the University of Michigan, the position he held prior to becoming president at the University of Utah.