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Office of the President

Garnett S. Stokes, PhD
Interim President

Interim President Garnett S. Stokes

Dr. Garnett S. Stokes was selected as the Interim President of the university by the Florida State University Board of Trustees on March 7, and the appointment was subsequently approved by the Florida Board of Governors.

The appointment was effective April 2 upon the departure of President Eric J. Barron. Dr. Stokes had served as Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Florida State since 2011. Nationally known in her field, she also holds an appointment as a professor in psychology.

President Stokes has focused on several initiatives during her tenure at Florida State intended to elevate FSU into the Top 25-ranked public research universities in the country. Under her leadership university-wide strategic hiring initiatives designed to support students and build research strengths have been launched in areas that address enduring global challenges in which the potential for innovation is high. President Stokes has also been focused on transforming the academic experience for undergraduates to better prepare them for the workplace or graduate school and the communities in which they live. She has promoted the creation of a culture of entrepreneurship and has supported FSU’s efforts to be this country’s most veteran-friendly university. 

She has pledged to continue the momentum of Florida State’s rise in rankings and fundraising initiatives, as well as the research and creative activities that support the academic mission as the university conducts a search for a new president.

Research focus and academic career

President Stokes’ research focuses on personnel selection and promotion, and areas of individual differences such as life history, personality and values. She is a widely published scholar in the area of industrial and organizational psychology and one of the most respected psychologists in her specialty. Much of her research – and the focus of a 1994 book (Biodata Handbook: Theory, Research, and Use of Biographical Information in Selection and Performance Prediction) – deals with biodata, involving the use of biographical information in job selection and promotion decisions. She has also focused her research on the use of measures of personality, values, attitudes and life experiences as predictors of occupational choice. She is a co-author of Patterns of Life History: The Ecology of Human Individuality (Applied Psychology Series) published in 1990.

As a consultant in the field of industrial psychology, President Stokes has assisted businesses, government agencies and Fortune 500 companies in the development of biographical questionnaires, job selection and promotion tests, and evaluations of training programs.

She is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, the American Psychological Association and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. She earned a doctorate in psychology with a specialty in industrial and organizational psychology and a Master of Science from the University of Georgia. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carson-Newman College in Jefferson City, Tennessee.


President Stokes is married to Dr. Jeffrey N. Younggren, a practicing forensic and clinical psychologist and a retired U.S. Army colonel. She enjoys outdoor activities, especially hiking and cycling, and likes to travel with her husband. She currently serves on the board of the United Way of the Big Bend.