Two FGCU presidential finalists drop candidacy, leave lone remaining applicant

by | Nov 15, 2022

  • Two finalists in Florida Gulf Coast University’s presidential search have withdrawn from consideration, leaving Robert Gregerson as the lone remaining candidate
  • Tod. A Laursen and Susana Rivera-Mills both withdrew in the last week, citing various reasons 
  • Gregerson is now presumed to be named president-elect at the next Board of Trustees meeting on November 17th
  • During his interview, Gregerson presented a university roadmap centered around shared governance, collaborative effort, and the continued development of faculty and research methods.

Two university president finalists at Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) have removed their names from the candidate pool, leaving a single remaining finalist for consideration at the school’s Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday.

Capping a tumultuous search that saw delays and endured Hurricane Ian, a Category 5 storm that shut down FGCU’s campus for nearly two weeks, Robert Gregerson is likely to be named the university’s next president, standing as the lone remaining candidate.

On its presidential search website, FGCU notified members of the public this week that two of the three finalists — Tod A. Laursen and Susana Rivera-Mills — withdrew from consideration.

Laursen, acting president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, announced his plans to withdraw from consideration after finalizing another opportunity that is a better fit, according to the website.

Rivera-Mills, meanwhile, decided to remain at Ball State University, where she presently serves as provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs.

“Without a doubt, Dr. Rivera-Mills has a bright future in higher education, and it was a pleasure to host her on campus. I wish her well on behalf of FGCU and its Board of Trustees,” said Blake Gable chair of FGCU’s Board of Trustees, also wishing Laursen “all the best in his future endeavors.”

In his interview with the Board of Trustees, Gregerson drew upon past professional experiences to present a university roadmap centered around shared governance, collaborative effort, and the continued development of faculty and research methods.

The Board of Trustees originally planned to select a candidate in early November but elected to delay its choice of a president-elect until November 17th to better accommodate the schedule of the state Board of Governors.

The Board of Governors, who ratify the university’s recommended president-elect, met last week to confirm the presidents-elect of the University of Florida and Florida International University.

Gregerson will succeed the outgoing Mike Martin, who served as university president for four years. Martin announced in early 2022 that he plans to step down into retirement in December 2022 at the conclusion of the fall academic semester.

During his tenure, Martin helped the university recoup lost funding; in the years before his appointment, FGCU lost $8 million in performance-based funding via a ranking system determined by a series of performance metrics. With a goal to restore previous funding standards, Martin procured more than $23.7 million.

Through his four years, FGCU’s four-year graduation rate improved by almost 19 percentage points, the six-year graduation rate jumped 4.6 percentage points, and the net cost of tuition and fees decreased 48 percent for those who completed their degree in four years instead of six.


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