Board of Governors votes to appoint Ray Rodrigues as university system Chancellor

by | Sep 14, 2022

  • The Florida state university system on Wednesday voted to appoint Ray Rodrigues as the next system Chancellor
  • Rodrigues was recommended in August by search committee members, citing his experience in the state’s higher education system and legislative background 
  • As a member of the Florida Legislature, Rodrigues submitted a series of education policy proposals that were ultimately adopted into law 
  • Rodrigues will succeed departing Chancellor Marshall M. Criser, who is stepping down from the position

The state Board of Governors on Wednesday unanimously appointed Ray Rodrigues as Chancellor of Florida’s university system. Rodrigues will succeed Chancellor Marshall M. Criser, who is stepping down from the position.

Rodrigues was selected over Dr. Lori Cromwell, Chief Business Officer for Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, following a nationwide candidate search and interview process.

Search committee members pointed to Rodrigues’ experience with the university system as the reason for his selection. Rodrigues is employed by Florida Gulf Coast University and has served in the state Legislature for ten years.

“It will be my honor to work with the Board of Governors and the leadership of our exceptional institutions to implement their strategic plans, improve workforce alignment, and ultimately, provide critical support systems for student achievement,” said Rodrigues. “I firmly believe the success of our students is the heartbeat of Florida’s higher education system, and I applaud the excellent work Marshall and the Board of Governors has done over the years to get us here.”

An outgoing member of the Florida Senate, Rodrigues throughout his term submitted a series of education-based legislative proposals that helped shape Florida’s higher-education system.

Rodrigues last year successfully passed a Postsecondary Education bill to annually assess intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity at each individual college or university within the state. The analysis is conducted through a nonpartisan, objective, and statistically valid survey.

Rodrigues also sponsored a higher-education bill (SB 7044) that permits the state university system’s Board of Governors to design a new method for examining the tenure of professors and faculty.

Furthermore, Rodrigues collaborated extensively with university presidents and the Board of Governors on financial and policy initiatives that were adopted into law by state lawmakers.

“Our Board is fortunate to have Ray become our next chancellor, bringing his passion about higher education in Florida to build upon the exceptional foundation Marshall Criser has established, and to lead the System to the next level,” said Brian Lamb, chair of the Board of Governors. “Ray is an experienced and dedicated leader in our state. The Board of Governors and State University System is excited to work with him in this new role.”

The Chancellor serves as the Chief Executive Officer for the State Univerisity System of Florida (SUSF), the second-largest university system in the country, which includes Florida’s twelve public universities and serves over 430,000 students, with revenues of $14.3 billion.

The Chancellor’s role is comprised of responsibilities including but not limited to regular interaction with university boards of trustees and presidents, the Florida Legislature, and the Executive Office of the Governor on issues of critical importance to the State University System of Florida.

Florida’s higher-education institutions are among the highest-rated in the country, boasting high academic rankings. In U.S. News & World Report’s most recent annual ranking of state higher education, Florida took the top spot overall, earning high marks for the low amount of debt students carry after graduation, high graduation rates, and low tuition and fees.

“When it comes to higher education, there’s no state in the country better than Florida,” said Commissioner of Education Manny Diaz Jr. “Thanks to the leadership of Governor Ron DeSantis, we have kept our tuition low and standards high while offering top-notch postsecondary options that stand above the rest.”


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