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Final Four Picked for State Chancellor Interviews

A former lieutenant governor, a Florida State University professor, the former head of Ohio’s university system, and the head of the largest community college system in the country are all finalists to run Florida's higher education system.

The search committee for a new state university system chancellor met Monday to finalize a list of applicants who are invited for interviews with the committee on Friday in Tampa. The full Board of Governors will also likely make an offer to the top candidate that day as well.

Florida Atlantic University President and former lieutenant governor Frank Brogan, Florida State Professor and former legislative staffer Steve MacNamara, former Ohio Board of Regents Chancellor Roderick G. W. Chu, and Ivy Tech Community College President and former CEO and President of Delco Remy International Thomas Snyder will all be interviewed by the committee Friday.

The board received 13 applications total for the position after soliciting consultant William Funk & Associates to conduct a nationwide search for a potential new chancellor.

The search began this winter after former Chancellor Mark Rosenberg stepped down from the top spot to return to Florida International University. University of North Florida President John Delaney has been serving as chancellor in an interim capacity, but is not interested in pursuing the top job full time.

The committee has made clear they want someone who is able to work well with the Legislature. Historically, the Board of Governors and lawmakers have had a rocky relationship. But that relationship improved over the past session as the system leaders heavily lobbied lawmakers to essentially save the system from disaster, which some university presidents feared would occur if heavy budget cuts took place.

“I think one of the things I've learned sitting in this chair essentially since the fall...this is a doable job and in this time right now, the relationship with the Legislature is really warming up,” Delaney said. “It's clearly thawed.”

Consultant Bill Funk told the search committee that higher education leaders across the country regarded the chancellorship as an important role and forwarded many recommendations to him. However, he said there was some tentativeness among applicants who did not wish for their interest in the job to be known. Florida's open records law requires that applications for the job be made public.

Funk recommended Brogan, Chu and Snyder as the finalist for the interviews.

Funk called Brogan “eminently qualified” for the job based on the search committee's parameters for a new chancellor.

“He understands the political dimensions of Florida, how the Legislature works,” Funk said. “I think it's clear that Frank would be an excellent candidate.”

Several board members expressed a desire to add MacNamara to the list, citing his political and academic experience as a reason to give him a seat at the interview table.

“I think that he (should be interviewed), from his resume and what I've been reading about him ,” said AJ Meyer, the former student representative on the Board of Governors who is serving on the committee.

MacNamara served as chief of staff to former Speaker John Thrasher, and was the subject of an ethics complaint six years ago when he was accused of representing a private client while it wasn't clear whether he was still working for Thrasher. The complaint, however, was dismissed.

MacNamara has served as an associate professor of communication at Florida State and also worked as executive director of the Claude Pepper Center at FSU, associate vice president for academic affairs at FSU, and associate dean of FSU’s College of Law.

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