Tony Carvajal tapped to lead Association of Florida Colleges

by | Jul 13, 2023



  • A pair of influential groups representing Florida’s 28 smaller colleges has appointed new leaders.
  • Former TaxWatch and AbleTrust veteran Tony Carvajal will lead the Association of Florida Colleges.
  • Dr. C. Edward Meadows becomes chair of the Florida College System Council of Presidents (COP) for the second time, coinciding with increased funding and development opportunities.
  • Dr. Timothy Beard recognized as honorary chair until retirement, overseeing significant growth and expansion at Pasco-Hernando State College.

The Association of Florida Colleges (AFC) and the Florida College System Council of Presidents (COP) have announced changes in their executive leadership. Tony Carvajal, a seasoned public policy veteran, will serve as the new CEO and Executive Director of the AFC. Simultaneously, the COP welcomes back Dr. C. Edward Meadows, president of Pensacola State College, as chair.

Separate from the State University System, the two groups represent and advocate for Florida’s 28 smaller state colleges and their leaders. The AFC, representing all employees, presidents, and trustees within the Florida College System, has nearly 7,000 members. Meanwhile, COP acts as the voice and advocate for the member schools’ presidents.

Carvajal is well-known for his leadership in prominent organizations including Florida TaxWatch, The Able Trust, and the Florida Chamber Foundation. He brings to the AFC a wealth of expertise in organizational leadership and public policy, honed over years of service to Florida’s institutions.

“I am honored and humbled to be selected to lead the Association of Florida Colleges. Florida leads the nation in higher education,” Carvajal said. “Our state and community colleges are truly changing the lives of students and the communities that they serve. I look forward to working with our college presidents and education partners to lead this association.”

Meadows, now serving as chair of COP for the second time, originally stepped into the role in 2008 following a national search. He heads Pensacola State College, the oldest and largest college in the Florida Panhandle, which has been a hub for both traditional and non-traditional students since 1948.

“The Governor, legislature, and State Board of Education have worked together to award the Florida College System with an infusion of much-needed new funding to enable our colleges to begin implementing our plan to Accelerate Florida with the goal of creating new pathways for academic success and career attainment for our students in the great state of Florida,” Meadows said in a prepared statement. “The Council of Presidents look forward to this coming year to continue to work with all stakeholders to further implement Accelerate Florida.”

Meadows’ leadership coincides with a period of increased funding for the Florida College System, an encouraging sign for the development of fresh academic and career pathways in the state.

The group also announced that Dr. Timothy Beard, President of Pasco-Hernando State College, would serve as honorary chair until his retirement. Since taking the presidency in 2015, Beard has overseen considerable growth in the institution, which has been dedicated to student success through state-of-the-art programs in business, health, industry, and technology since its establishment in 1967. Under Beard’s stewardship, the college’s operating budget has swelled by 40%, a new performing arts center has been established, and plans for a fire academy and business school are in the works.

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