Florida State University’s Presidential Search Committee has narrowed its pool down to three candidates, the group announced Saturday afternoon after a two-day stretch of interviews involving nine candidates.
The finalists: University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill executive vice chancellor and Provost Robert Blouin, Havard University Vice President for Research Richard McCullough and Tulane University Vice President for research Giovanni Piedimonte.
The three candidates will participate in open forums with students, faculty, staff and the community next week, although the search committee has not yet provided a schedule.
The choice of finalists shows a move by the search committee to prioritize those with careers in academia, turning away from applicants with ties to the Florida political sphere or the university itself.
Those who did not make the final cut include state Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, whose application brought up questions of a potential conflict of interest because of his membership on the state university system’s Board of Governors. However, Corcoran did receive broad support from lawmakers, alumni and union heads in his candidacy.
Sean Pittman, a Tallahassee lobbyist and CEO of Pittman Law Group, also did not make the cut, along with FSU Vice President and director of intercollegiate athletics David Coburn and FSU-Panama City dean and CEO Randy Hanna.
Mary Ann Rankin, former senior vice president and provost of the University of Maryland-College Park, and Michael Young, president emeritus and professor of law at Texas A&M University, also faced the chopping block.
The candidate chosen to lead the university will replace FSU President John Thrasher, who has served as the university’s 15th president since November 2014. Thrasher announced his retirement in September.
Thrasher’s tenure has been largely positive, with state funding and donations to the university on the rise. Thrasher, a former House Speaker and former state Senator, advanced FSU to a spot in the Top 20 national public university ranking.