Alan Campbell Ling, 55, the provost and academic affairs vice president at was found dead Friday aboard his boat.
University officials said Mr. Ling may have died of a heart attack in the cabin of his boat, which was docked. A medical examiner's report is pending.
Mr. Ling was in charge of academic programs and faculty recruiting at UNF and was second in command to UNF President Adam Herbert.
Mr. Ling had received more than 80 research and teaching grants totaling more than $3.4-million and had published more than 40 papers and articles.
He came to UNF from San Jose State University in California, where he was dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.