Florida State University (FSU) has trimmed their list of potential candidates to replace retiring President John Thrasher to nine. Among them, three notable non-traditional candidates emerged with buzz surrounding their names: Richard Corcoran, Sean Pittman, and David Coburn.
Corcoran currently serves as Florida’s Education Commissioner, and rumors about his interest in the post have swirled since mid-April. Corcoran, a former Republican legislator, served as Florida’s Speaker of the House from 2016 to 2018, and overall served in the legislature from 2010 to 2018.
As a legislator, some of his chief accomplishments were in the realm of school choice, and he has continued to advocate for expansions of those policies like Florida’s private school voucher program.
During his time as education commissioner, Corcoran championed a new funding formula for the Florida state college and university system, and Governor Ron DeSantis described him as a “no-nonsense reformer whose sole focus has been how best to support students, parents and teachers.”
Pittman currently serves and Senior Attorney and CEO of Pittman Law Group and has deep political ties in Tallahassee. Pittman received an endorsement from Christian Hall, a member of FSU’s search committee.
“We’re looking for a diverse pool of candidates,” Hall said, “Sean brings experiences and perspectives as a Black professional that enables him to understand and respond to the calls for equality, social justice and equity on campus that we as students are concerned about.”
According to Pittman’s bio, his work focuses on local government law, representing Florida’s “counties and municipalities before the Florida Cabinet, Florida Legislature, and other tribunals.”
Notably, Pittman also worked as Finance Chair for Andrew Gillum’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign and has been recognized as one of the “Top Twenty-Five Most Influential People in Tallahassee” for being a “significant political insider.
Coburn has served as FSU’s Athletic Director since May 2019. Previous to his current post, he was chief of staff to then-FSU President Eric Barron, and then Thrasher. Like many candidates, Coburn has political ties going back decades in Florida’s political scene.
He worked as Staff Director for the Florida Senate Committee on Ways and Means, and was Chief of Staff of the House of Representatives under two House Speakers, and was Chief of Staff to then-Senate President Ken Pruitt.
He has received three degrees from FSU: his bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning, and a Juris Doctorate from the FSU College of Law.
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