A search committee is recommending Sen. Ray Rodrigues to serve as the next Chancellor for the Florida State University System.
In a unanimous recommendation, the search committee made its desire known after interviewing Rodrigues and Dr. Lori Cromwell, Chief Business Officer for Emory University’s Candler School of Theology.
A final decision on who will succeed Marshall Criser in the role of Chancellor will be made by the Board of Governors for the state system at a meeting scheduled for Sept. 14 at the University of West Florida in Pensacola.
“I am gratified that we had two highly qualified candidates to engage with today. The conversation was robust, the candidates well prepared,” said Brian Lamb, Board of Governors Chair. “I am excited to advance Mr. Rodrigues to the next phase of this process. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Florida’s higher education system that I believe will serve our students, faculty, staff, and institutions well.”
Rodrigues earlier this year made the surprise decision not to seek a second term in the Florida Senate. The choice was announced as Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed Lee County Republican Party Chair Jonathan Martin to run for Rodrigues’ seat. Martin faces only write-in opposition.
Rodrigues was widely believed to be the Governor’s preference to fill the Chancellor position, though DeSantis ultimately does not have the say on who gets the job.
As for Rodrigues, he acknowledged to Florida Politics he hoped for the appointment as Chancellor when he made the decision not to seek another term in the Legislature. The Estero Republican works now as Florida Gulf Coast University’s (FGCU) director of interagency partnerships.
He feels confident his background both as a policymaker involved in higher education issues and a longtime employee of a state university would prepare him for the job.
“I would start by acknowledging I have spent the last 16 years working in the Florida State University System,” he said.
“I have worked at FGCU since 2006. I would say I’m intricately familiar with our State University System. And if you look at my legislative record when I served in the House and Senate, I carried a number of higher education bills. During that process, I worked with the Board of Governors and past leaders of the Board of Governors to get their priorities put into legislation and passed.”