The Florida State University president search has been cut to three candidates as the university’s presidential search committee decided to focus on traditional qualifications after two days of interviews.
Making the list were Richard McCullough, Harvard University’s vice president for research; Robert Blouin, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s executive vice chancellor and provost; and Dr. Giovanni Piedimonte, Tulane University’s vice president for research and a professor of pediatrics at its medical school.
One of these candidates will replace John Thrasher who is retiring after serving seven years as president. Under Thrasher, state funding and donations to the university have increased and FSU secured a spot in the Top 20 national public university ranking.
The committee decided against further consideration of former speaker of the Florida House and current Education Commissioner Richard Richard Corcoran. In addition, two candidates with current ties to FSU, David Coburn, who is the FSU athletic director, and Randy Hanna, who is the dean of FSU’s Panama City campus, did not make the cut.
Hanna, after the list was trimmed, released a statement that said, “I am excited about the future of Florida State University and look forward to working with our next President. I urge all our FSU family to participate in the campus forums next week.”
Corocran’s candidacy was impacted when the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission, a higher-education accrediting organization, raised questions about a possible conflict of interest in a letter that was released during the search process. The conflict of interest allegation related to Corcoran’s position on the state university system’s Board of Governors, which will approve the candidate selected to be FSU’s next president.
Craig Mateer, a Corcoran supporter and member of the search committee, said he was concerned that the association’s letter skewed the process. He asked the search committee to add Corcoran as a fourth finalist, however, the request was voted down.
The committee also decided against further consideration of Tallahassee lawyer Sean Pittman, University of Maryland Vice President Mary Ann Rankin and Michael K. Young, the retired president of Texas A&M University.
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