Four named chancellor finalists
Published: Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 7:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 7, 2013 at 7:41 p.m.
The chancellor search committee for the Florida Board of Governors has picked four candidates to interview in Orlando next week from a field of 19 applicants.
Whoever gets the final nomination will oversee the state university system, which includes 12 public universities with nearly 200,000 students enrolled last year and a budget of $9.73 billion, and will lead the search for the next president of the University of Florida.
The system includes six medical colleges, six law schools, two pharmacy schools, a dental college, a veterinary school and hundreds of research facilities, institutions and labs.
“I am pleased with the nominations we have received in response to our call,” said Mori Hosseini, chairman of the search committee.
Among the 19 candidates were six current or former provosts, six current or former deans, three current or former university presidents, system heads, CEOS and a retired Air Force colonel, from all over the country, said Randy Goin, chief of staff for the Board of Governors.
After polling each committee member individually, Goin presented a list of six candidates whose names kept coming up regularly. Out of that list, the following four got the most votes from the committee members during a teleconference call Thursday afternoon:
Marshall Criser III, president of AT&T Florida.
Mark Drummond, recent CEO and provost of a system of 17 university campuses throughout the United Arab Emirates.
Jim Purcell, commissioner of the Louisiana Board of Regents.
J. Bruce Rafert, provost at North Dakota State University.
The other two candidates who got votes will be held as alternates if the board feels the need to interview anyone else, Hosseini said. They are Vincent Beach, the provost and vice president of academic affairs at New Mexico State University; and Ron Nykiel, the provost and vice president of academic affairs at University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Criser was a clear favorite, with his long ties to Florida and years of involvement in higher education. The son of a former University of Florida president, Criser is a current Board of Governors appointee to the UF Board of Trustees, and he chairs the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Council. Criser was involved in the 2009 search for a chancellor.
Prior to his four-year stint running the UAE university system, Drummond ran two of the largest community college systems in the world — the California and Los Angeles community college systems. He also was president of Eastern Washington University and lists extensive business background on his resume.
Purcell’s job as commissioner of the Louisiana Board of Regents is the same role he’s applied for in Florida, except in his current position he also oversees the state’s 16 community colleges. He also was head of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and led Oklahoma’s strategic planning for higher education.
Rafert was formerly dean of graduate studies at Clemson University, and was nominated by John Haller, former Illinois system provost. Rafert is a UF grad and did his post-doctoral work at Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.
Committee member Tom Kuntz said he was impressed with the quality of the applicants.
“I suspect we are going to be impressed with all four and have a very difficult decision to make, which is a good position to be in,” he said.
Manoj Chopra, a University of Central Florida professor and faculty representative on the Board of Regents, said it was a “faculty-friendly pool.”