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Brogan Named Chancellor

Florida Atlantic University President Frank Brogan was chosen Friday to be the state university system's next chancellor.

The decision was widely expected. Brogan, who served as lieutenant governor under Gov. Jeb Bush until leaving in 2003 to take the presidency at FAU, was also an elected education commissioner in the 1990s.

Brogan was recommended by a Board of Governors search committee over the only other finalist for the post, Roderick Chu, a former chancellor of the Ohio universities system. Chu had more experience in academia than Brogan, but the board has said it needs someone who can move comfortably in the state's political system, and it will get that with Brogan.

“I believe we have someone in Frank Brogan who is ready on day one to lead the State University System in the right direction,” said Sheila M. McDevitt, chairwoman of the Board of Governors. “He has the experience and the good judgment we were looking for in a chancellor.

“He will help us build a strong relationship with the Florida Legislature and help the Board of Governors lead our universities into Florida’s knowledge-based future,” McDevitt said.

Brogan replaces Mark Rosenberg, who stepped down to return to Florida International University. In the interim, University of North Florida President John Delaney took on the chancellor's role on a part-time basis, but said he didn't want the job permanently.

The job can be a tough one – and has been in the past. The university system has been at odds with the Legislature over funding and particularly over tuition, which has lagged behind other major state university systems leading college leaders to complain the system's quality was dropping and it was losing good employees.

Brogan said a strong, respected university system was crucial to the state's economy and that he looked forward to trying to restore some of the prestige that some in academia have recently complained has been lost.

“We need to prepare the citizens of Florida for competition in the knowledge and innovation -based economy,” Brogan said in a statement released by the BOG. “I want to work with the Legislature on a plan to prepare our universities to meet this challenge, as our success as the State University System will determine the economic success of our state as a whole. The sooner we move boldly in this direction to strengthen the state university system, the sooner we can take advantage of opportunities that exist due to conditions in other states. “

Brogan's tenure at FAU was largely considered successful. During his presidency, partnerships were established with The Scripps Research Institute, the Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies, the Max Planck Society and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Research Institute.

During his time there, FAU had its largest period of building ever, with more than than $250 million in construction projects.

The university also has gained a measure of visibility over recent years with its move to Division I-A in football, though the university has been unable to raise the money to build an on-campus stadium.

Brogan was also relatively active in the state university system's push for stable state funding.

“I congratulate Chancellor Brogan on his selection,” Gov. Charlie Crist said in a statement. “We are making positive steps in improving Florida’s higher education system based on accountability and achievement. The administration looks forward to working with the Board of Governors and Chancellor Brogan in making Florida a national leader in higher education.”

As the search for a new chancellor was nearly over, Brogan's name popped up as a potential candidate for the job that at the time had attracted no major figures from academia who were familiar with Florida. He immediately was seen as the favorite for the job – and two of the four finalists dropped out late this week as the search committee started the interview process.

“The decision to pursue the chancellorship was not an easy one” he wrote the university community earlier this month when he officially announced his candidacy for the job. “I enjoy serving as FAU's president immensely, and not a day goes by that I don't consider myself enormously blessed to work with such fine students, faculty and staff. It is my honor to be a part of the FAU family.”

Brogan, who made $360,102 last fiscal year as president of the Boca Raton based FAU, started his career in elementary education as a teacher at Port Salerno Elementary School in Martin County and later was a middle school principal and then Martin County Superintendent of Schools before being elected state education commissioner in 1994.

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