Amid swirling rumors, Rep. Randy Fine not among finalists for FAU President position

by | Jul 5, 2023



  • Florida Atlantic University (FAU) has announced three finalists for its vacant university president position
  • The finalists include Sean Buck, Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy; Michael Hartline, dean of the College of Business at Florida State University; and Jose Sartarelli, former Chancellor of the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
  • State Representative Randy Fine, who was reportedly being considered for the role, did not make the list of finalists. Fine had expressed interest in the position and was encouraged by the Office of Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Following a nationwide search, Florida Atlantic University (FAU) announced the three finalists for its currently-vacant university president role. Of note, state Representative Randy Fine does not appear on the list despite reportedly being in line to assume the role.

The university informed members of the media on Wednesday morning that Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy Sean Buck, dean of the College of Business at Florida State University Michael Hartline, and former Chancellor of the University of North Carolina Wilmington Jose Sartarelli are the three remaining candidates under consideration.

FAU’s presidential search committee stated that they decided on the finalists following in-person interviews with several semi-finalists, trimming down an applicant pool comprising individuals with experience in academia and other high-level positions, including 12 current or former university or system presidents.

“On behalf of the entire university, I extend heartfelt thanks to the Presidential Search Committee for their phenomenal work,” said Brad Levine, Chair of the FAU Board of Trustees and Chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “The outstanding quality of the applicant pool that was generated for this position is truly inspiring.”

Fine claimed in late March that he was under consideration as a candidate to lead the university and expressed interest in taking up the role.

“It’s very flattering to have been asked, and something I’m actively considering,” Fine told the Sun-Sentinel. “It certainly is an amazing opportunity.”

The publication further reported that the Office of Gov. Ron DeSantis approached Fine, encouraging the Republican lawmaker to pursue the position of leadership, referring to him as a “good candidate for the job.” The statement came at a time marked by the governor’s efforts to reshape higher education in Florida, highlighted by the restructuring of New College of Florida’s Board of Trustees and the elimination of diversity, equity, and inclusivity policies within the state’s colleges. An attempt to reach the office of Rep. Fine was not immediately answered.

In compliance with the requirements set by the Florida Board of Governors for university presidential searches, each of the finalists will engage in public forums on FAU’s campuses before proceeding to interview with the Board of Trustees, which provides an opportunity for the FAU community to interact with the finalists and gain insights into their leadership vision and ideas.

FAU’s Board of Trustees selected Stacy Volnick last October to serve as the university’s interim president after the outgoing John Kelly stepped down. Volnick has worked as part of FAU’s administrative staff since 1991, becoming Vice president for Administrative Affairs and Chief Administrative Officer in 2013. Prior to her appointment as interim president, she served as the school’s Chief Operating Officer.

FAU stated that Volnick did not apply to become the permanent president.

“Rest assured, the university will remain in good hands after I leave office,” said Kelly. “I know this will be the case because your important work will continue under the new leadership. After all, it truly is the students, faculty, and staff who make this university so successful.”

3 Comments

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