Dr. Jacobs is an Associate Professor of U.S. and International History. He earned his Ph.D. in History at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 2002, and he joined UF and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) in 2003. His research focuses on U.S.-Middle East relations, a field in which he has published one book (Imagining the Middle East: The Building of an American Foreign Policy, 1918-1967, UNC Press, 2011) and is currently working on a second (The Season of Our Discontent: The United States and the Arab Spring in Historical Perspective). Professor Jacobs has taught courses on U.S. foreign relations, U.S.-Middle East relations, the Vietnam War, and international studies.

Dr. Jacobs has been recognized for his deep commitment to the education and experiences of undergraduate students, including with the History department’s Mahon Award for Undergraduate Teaching (2005), the CLAS Undergraduate Teacher of the Year (2010), the CLAS Undergraduate Faculty Advisor/Mentor of the Year (2014), and, most recently, the CLAS Faculty Achievement Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Education (2018). Since 2013, Dr. Jacobs has served as the Director of the International Studies Program, a CLAS interdisciplinary undergraduate major that has more than doubled in size to approximately 280 students under his leadership. Starting in 2014, Dr. Jacobs has also directed the Learning without Borders initiative, an effort to internationalize the undergraduate experience across all undergraduate colleges and majors, that was a critical component cited in the 2018 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Campus Internationalization for UF. Through these experiences, Professor Jacobs has established a track record of innovative and collaborative program building and administration.

Dr. Jacobs will bring his experience to the Bob Graham Center as it continues its second decade at UF. Since its inception in 2006, the center has established outstanding programs that have served UF students, the university, and the state of Florida.  Dr. Jacobs will build on the strong foundation the Bob Graham Center has established through its curricular, co-curricular, experiential learning, and public programming initiatives. In broadening the application of three driving principles—civic engagement, public leadership, and public service—Dr. Jacobs will seek to expand the footprint of the center on campus and off by connecting the Center and its students with new stakeholders locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally.  

The college and Dr. Jacobs will continue to honor Senator Graham’s legacy of public service as the center mentors the next generation of Sunshine State leaders.

Matt Jacobs, Ph.D. | Director
220 Pugh Hall | PO Box 112030 | Gainesville, FL 32611
Ph 352.846.1575 | Fax 352.273.2846