Florida State University Presidential Candidates and their Backgrounds

Florida State University


It was announced earlier this week Florida State University trimmed their list of potential replacements for retiring President John Thrasher to three candidates. The three candidates are: Giovanni Piedimonte, Robert A. Boulin, and Richard McCullough.

Giovanni Piedimonte, Vice President for Research and Institutional Official of Tulane University

In his position at Tulane, he has been responsible for “enhancing Tulane’s research mission across all fields including the humanities, neuroscience, environmental science, infectious diseases and more.”

At previous posts he has served as chief of Global Pediatric Research Operations of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, director of the Center for Pediatric Research of the Lerner Research Institute in Cleveland, the first Wyeth Research Scholar professor and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at West Virginia University School of Medicine and physician-in-chief of the WVU Children’s Hospital.

Piedimonte’s research has been backed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for over 30 years and has co-authored more than 400 peer-reviewed journal articles.

He has worked as a pediatrician and pulmonologist and would want to invest more money into research if FSU wanted to become a part of the Association of American Universities (AAU), known as the “country club” of research institutions.

“Thus, as we approach a critical juncture for the future of higher education in our country, I believe I have fully developed the framework and perspective – as well as the organizational, operational, and systemic foundations – needed to perform successfully as an academic leader, senior administrator, and executive manager even in the most complex organizations,” Piedimonte wrote in his cover letter.

Robert A. Boulin, University of North Carolina, Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost

Boulin also serves as the Chief Academic Officer and Chief Operating Officer at UNC and works on budget, planning, and attracting and developing talent and faculty to the university.

He also served as dean of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy where faculty research portfolio increased from $2 million in 2002 to $36 million in 2016, ranking second among the nation’s pharmacy schools.

Boulin earned his B.S. from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and a PharmD from the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy, where he was also a faculty member from 1978 to 2003.

“Florida State University has made incredible progress over the past seven years under the leadership of President John Thrasher,” Boulin wrote in his cover letter. “I would build upon that tremendous success and the momentum created during this period and further elevate the education, research, and economic impact opportunities of your great university.”

Richard McCullough, Harvard University, Vice Provost for Research

McCullough, in his current post, works to “removing barriers to collaboration, whether in University policies, or financial or administrative systems” as well as fostering “entrepreneurship among undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty members.”

He has served as vice provost since 2012 where he also oversaw the development of strategic research plans for the entire university.

In the private sector, McCullough has founded two companies: Plextronics Inc, and Liquid X Printed Metals. Plextronics was a research and development spin-off from Carnegie Mellon University, where McCullough also served as Dean of the Mellon College of Science, and Professor and head of the Department of Chemistry, that filed for bankruptcy in 2014.

His second venture, Liquid X, was another Carnegie Mellon University offshoot but specialized as a manufacturer of particle-free inks. McCullough still serves as Chairman.

McCullough received a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Johns Hopkins University in 1988.

“I would bring my experience in creating new strategic research and educational initiatives that not only increase research funding but lead to a rise in the university and departmental rankings and set the stage for membership to the AAU,” McCullough wrote in his cover letter.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.










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