Richard Corcoran applies for FSU presidency
Rumors had been swirling for weeks.

POTD_Richard Corcoran
If selected, Corcoran would be the second consecutive former Speaker to hold the job.

Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has officially thrown his hat in the ring to become the next President of Florida State University.

A list of applicants was released by the FSU search commission, which met at 10 a.m. Tuesday to discuss those who put their names forward.

The submission marks the culmination of rumors swirling since mid-April that the Land O’ Lakes Republican wanted the job.

FSU President John Thrasher announced his retirement in September.

Both Thrasher and Corcoran previously served as Florida House Speaker. Corcoran’s tenure ran from 2016 to 2018 and was punctuated by landmark school-choice expansions. Corcoran has continued to advocate for academic options like charter schools and the state’s private school voucher program.

As Education Commissioner, Corcoran spearheaded a new funding formula for the state’s 28-college system that groups colleges by size and, in part, bases funding on growth.

During the pandemic, Corcoran, the father of six children who attend public school, advocated to reopen schools for in-person learning and more recently, to make mask-wearing voluntary next school year.

After a recommendation by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the State Board of Education unanimously confirmed Corcoran as Florida’s Education Commissioner in 2018.

At the time, DeSantis called Corcoran a known “no-nonsense reformer whose sole focus has been how best to support students, parents and teachers.”

But Corcoran isn’t the only Education Commissioner on the list. Frank Brogan, formerly a Florida Education Commissioner and a U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, as well as Lieutenant Governor under Jeb Bush, has also applied for the job.

When Thrasher announced his retirement, he said in a statement he would stay on through the search and appointment of a successor. Thrasher has been President of FSU since 2014.

FSU is a public university and therefore the search for the university’s next President is bound by Sunshine Laws, which ensure the access of public information surrounding governmental proceedings. Once a candidate applies, their name becomes public record.

This past Session some lawmakers argued that because of that publicity certain candidates don’t apply, but a bill to shield candidates from the public record ultimately failed on the Senate floor. As a result, here is the complete list of applicants as reported by the Tallahassee Democrat:

David W. Blackwell, provost and professor of finance, University of Kentucky.

Robert A. Blouin, executive vice chancellor and provost, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Frank Brogan, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education, former Florida Education Commissioner, Lieutenant Governor under Jeb Bush.

Robert L. Clark Jr., provost and senior vice president for research, University of Rochester.

David Coburn, vice president and director of intercollegiate athletics, Florida State University.

Richard Corcoran, Florida Education Commissioner, former Florida House Speaker.

Randy Hanna, dean and CEO, Florida State University, Panama City campus; dean, College of Applied Sciences

Erick C. Jones, President, International Supply Chain Education Alliance International Standards Board.

Jeff Kottkamp, Tallahassee lobbyist, Lieutenant Governor under Charlie Crist.

Richard Smith Larson, executive vice chancellor for research, University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center.

Lyrissa Barnett Lidsky, professor of law, University of Missouri School of Law.

Richard D. McCullough, vice provost for research, Harvard University.

Myrna Amelia Mesa, attorney and counselor at law.

Romain Murenzi, executive director, The World Academy of Sciences.

Giovanni Piedimonte, M.D., vice president for research at Tulane University, and professor of pediatrics, biochemistry & molecular biology, Tulane School of Medicine.

Sean Pittman, CEO of Pittman Law Group.

Mary Ann Rankin, Ph.D., senior vice president and provost, University of Maryland, College Park.

Peter B. Rutledge, dean of University of Georgia School of Law.

James Weyhenmeyer, Ph.D., professor and vice president for research and economic development, Auburn University and president of Auburn University research and technology foundation.

Gregory H. Williams, Ph.D., J.D., M.B.A., former president of the University of Cincinnati and City College of New York.

Cynthia Y. Young, founding dean of the College of Science and professor of mathematical and statistical sciences, both at Clemson University.

Michael K. Young, president emeritus and professor of law and professor of public policy, The Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University.

Haley Brown

Haley Brown covers state government for FloridaPolitics.com. Previously, Haley covered the West Virginia Legislature and anchored weekend newscasts for WVVA in Bluefield, W.Va. Haley is a Florida native and a graduate of the University of Florida. You can reach her at [email protected]


One comment

  • Frankie M.

    May 11, 2021 at 5:28 pm

    Really scraping the bottom of the barrel with Corcoran. Then again this guy hates public(read: not charter) schools and teacher unions so he would fit right in succeeding Trasher. Plus he wouldn’t even have to move. Corcoran isn’t even qualified for his current position let alone the one he’s applying for but when has that ever stopped him before?

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