State university system Board of Governors announce two finalists for Chancellor position

by | Aug 17, 2022

  • The Florida university system Board of Governors on Thursday announced two finalists to serve as the newest Chancellor 
  • The two candidates, Dr. Lori Cromwell and Ray Rodrigues, both hold experience in education. The pair is currently employed by Emory University and Florida Gulf Coast University, respectively 
  • Current Chancellor Marshall Criser announced his retirement in June and will officially step down from his role at the end of the calendar year

The state university Board of Governors on Thursday announced two finalists — Dr. Lori Cromwell and Ray Rodrigues — to succeed outgoing Chancellor Marshall Criser.

Rodrigues, who is employed at Florida Gulf Coast University, has served in the Senate representing Lee County since 2020 and is not seeking re-election. Cromwell, meanwhile, serves as the Chief Business Officer for Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, according to the university’s website.

News Service of Florida reports that the search committee members pointed to issues such as Rodrigues’ experience with the university system and Cromwell’s financial background in selecting them for interviews.

“The selected candidate will be a proven leader with executive-level experience in education, government, business, or non-profit settings. A track record of involvement in complex higher educational and political environments is essential to effectively serve the Board of Governors as the System continues on a path toward greater coordination, collaboration, and prominence,” the Board stated.

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 role of the Chancellor 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.

The Board is tasked with replacing Criser, who announced at the end of June that he will be stepping down from his role upon the end of his contract at the end of the calendar year. Criser has served as Chancellor since 2014 and oversaw an increase in state appropriations for operations by $1.258 billion (29 percent), a four-year graduation rate increase to 59.3 percent  (a 17 percent increase), and an increase in research expenditures by $358 million, representing a $7 billion economic impact.

“Marshall Criser is a leader among leaders, and we are exceedingly grateful for his dedication to the betterment of our university community and ultimately to our students,” said Brian Lamb, chair of the Board of Governors. “This committee will perform a thorough search and ultimately recommend a highly qualified candidate to the Board of Governors that will build upon the great work of Chancellor Criser and cement our status as the #1 state in the nation for higher education.”

The chancellor search committee will hold interviews with the finalists on August 26.

The twelve schools in the university system include Florida A&M University, Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida International University, Florida Polytechnic University, Florida State University, New College of Florida, University of Central Florida, University of Florida, University of North Florida, University of South Florida, and the University of West Florida.


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