Lt. Gov. Brogan up for FAU presidency

Published: Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 2:07 a.m.
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Florida Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan, right, waves to the crowd as he and his wife, Courtney, are introduced Jan. 5 in Miami. On Wednesday, Brogan said that he will apply to become president of Florida Atlantic University. Brogan, who earned a master's degree from FAU in 1981, will submit his application by the deadline next week, said the governor's spokeswoman, Jill Bratina.

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)


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TALLAHASSEE - Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan applied Wednesday to become president at Florida Atlantic University, just eight days after taking the oath of office to begin his second term in office.
In his application to the Boca Raton school, Brogan wrote that he possesses "some unique qualifications to serve as president," pointing to his eight years in Tallahassee as education commissioner and lieutenant governor.
Brogan, who was at home sick Wednesday and unavailable to answer questions, issued a statement accompanying his application. He described the Florida Atlantic job as "a potential once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
The school has an enrollment of about 25,000 graduate and undergraduate students and campuses in Boca Raton, Davie, Fort Lauderdale, and Port St. Lucie.
It is one of Florida's 11 public universities.
Anthony Catanese resigned July 1 to become president of Florida Institute of Technology, a private 4,500-student university in Melbourne. Richard L. Osburn has served as interim president.
Brogan, 49, earned his master's degree at Florida Atlantic 22 years ago. He has since been an elementary school teacher, principal, superintendent and state education commissioner before becoming lieutenant governor. In recent weeks he has made no secret of his interest in heading up the school.
"The prospect of potentially returning to my alma mater in a leadership role would offer me the opportunity to continue to focus on my lifelong passion for education," Brogan said.
The school announced in November that the new president would be offered a package worth as much as $2.6 million in salary and perks over five years, plus the opportunity to live in a $2 million on-campus home.
Catanese's base salary was $191,500 when left. Brogan makes $117,990 as lieutenant governor.
The school's board of trustees plans to narrow the list to five finalists Tuesday, then whittle it down to Jan. 24 and choose the president Jan. 31.
Gov. Jeb Bush on Wednesday sounded like he was ready to choose a successor if Brogan gets the job.
"I shall pick somebody and that person will serve with me during our term, which will be about 47 months," said Bush, who just last week said he might wait to pick a possible Brogan successor until after the 2003 regular session adjourns in early May.
Bush said he was confident a new lieutenant governor would not have to be on the ballot in 2004.
Although he was Bush's second choice as a running mate in 1998, Brogan added an upbeat persona and different perspective to the ticket. A former high school sports official and avid jogger, Brogan gave Bush the energetic and loyal mate he needed to help promote their agenda. During the legislative sessions, Brogan became the governor's chief negotiator on difficult issues.
Bush's first choice, former Secretary of State Sandra Mortham, became bogged down by ethics charges surrounding her office and she stepped aside early in the campaign.
After spending nearly two decades as a teacher and administrator in public education, Brogan was elected education commissioner in the 1994 election when Bush was defeated by Gov. Lawton Chiles in the closest governor's race in Florida history.
Brogan, who seemed well suited to the education Cabinet post, was persuaded to join the Bush ticket after Mortham's departure and they easily defeated Democratic nominee Buddy MacKay in the general election.
Perhaps no one enjoyed the daily theater of politics more than Brogan, known for his natty dressing, toothy grin and unending string of wise cracks that often brought levity to the governor's serious approach.
Unlike the wonkish Bush, who enjoyed a privileged upbringing, Brogan came from a tough background in Cincinnati, where his widowed mother worked as a waitress to make sure her children were fed and clothed.
His late wife, Mary, a childhood sweetheart, provided the compass the next 20 years until her death from breast cancer in 1999 at age 44.
Just last month, Brogan remarried. He wed 26-year-old Courtney Strickland in Ireland and the couple honeymooned in the Caribbean during the Christmas holidays.
Brogan became the first member in his family to earn a college degree when he graduated from the University of Cincinnati in 1976 with a bachelors degree in education.

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