Former St. Petersburg Deputy Mayor and City Administrator Kanika Tomalin Thursday was named one of four finalists to replace Martin Tadlock as regional chancellor of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.
Tadlock planned to step down at the end of 2021, but was asked to stay on by new President Rhea Law. The regional chancellor serves as the CEO of the campus and would report directly to Law.
The university received 56 applications for the post, 36 more than it did when searching for a new president. Nine were shortlisted and four selected after a series of interviews held Wednesday and Thursday. Tomlin is joined by Melissa L. Gruys, dean of the School of Business at Purdue University Fort Wayne; Christian Hardigree, founding dean of the School of Hospitality at Metropolitan State University in Denver; and Bjong Yeigh, former chancellor of the University of Washington Bothel.
Tomalin is the only local candidate left in the pool. She spent seven years as Deputy Mayor and City Administrator under Rick Kriseman. Most recently, she served as vice president for strategy and chief operating officer at Eckerd College. Tomalin got her bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, a master’s in business administration from the University of Miami and a doctorate in law and policy from Northeastern University.
Each candidate will visit USF St. Pete next week to participate in town halls in the University Student Center ballroom and meet with university and community leadership. The town halls are scheduled for next Monday and Tuesday and will be livestreamed over Microsoft Teams. More information on candidates and the search process can be found at USF’s Regional Chancellor search site.
Law will make a selection after interviewing the candidates and getting feedback from the USF community.
USF St. Pete was founded as a satellite campus in 1965 and consolidated with the Tampa and Manatee campuses in 2020. It’s currently the only public university in Pinellas County.