Gov. DeSantis to recommend Ray Rodrigues to lead State University System
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 4/20/22-Sen. Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, speaks in favor of the congressional redistricting map the Senate later approved, Wednesday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

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Marshall Criser announced to the Board of Governors he is retiring from the job.

Gov. Ron DeSantis will recommend Sen. Ray Rodrigues to be the new Chancellor for the Florida University System.

At a Thursday meeting of the Board of Governors, current Chancellor Marshall Criser announced he will retire after eight years on the job. City & State Florida editor Jim Rosica first reported the news.

The Governor on Thursday had a press conference in Sanford scheduled the same day the Board of Governors met in Sanford. But he did not formally announce any news about who should succeed Criser.

Rodrigues, an Estero Republican and longtime budget manager for Florida Gulf Coast University, chose not to run for re-election after serving just two years in the Senate. Halfway through the qualification week, news broke Rodrigues would instead likely take a position within DeSantis’ administration. Lee County Republican Party Chair Jonathan Martin filed to succeed Rodrigues in the Senate and faces only write-in opposition.

Before his election to the Senate, Rodrigues served eight years in the House, and often tackled issues in the higher education arena. He sponsored legislation for years requiring a philosophical diversity survey for faculty at Florida public universities, which DeSantis signed last year.

Criser took office as Chancellor in 2014 under Gov. Rick Scott. The former AT&T Florida President had been unanimously selected by the Board of Governors in 2015. He also serves on the Florida Council of 100, which he previously chaired.

Board of Governors Chair Brian Lamb praised Criser in a statement.

“The impressive achievements across the system largely evidence Marshall’s extensive efforts during his tenure over the last eight years,” he said.

While Criser moved into his position from the business world, he succeeded Frank Brogan, previously Lt. Governor under former Gov. Jeb Bush, so there’s precedent for moving from the political world to the leadership post within the Florida university system.

While DeSantis doesn’t have final say on who will be hired by the Board of Governors, the majority of members were appointed to their seats by the Governor.

As Chancellor, Rodrigues would oversee the statewide operation of Florida’s public 12 universities. That includes FGCU, his current employer.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


One comment

  • Jess

    July 1, 2022 at 9:53 am

    This article infers he was a budget manager for the whole University. This is false- he was the budget manager for one of the colleges within the University. This is a totally unqualified appointment.

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