Richard Corcoran in line to become New College President
Richard Corcoran

Trustees meet today and will discuss current President Patricia Okker's employment.

A new board of trustees at New College of Florida intends to name Richard Corcoran as its next President.

Corcoran, a former House Speaker, served as Gov. Ron DeSantis’ first Education Commissioner.

Carlos Trujillo, president and founder of Continental Strategy, revealed the plans in a letter to clients and colleges.

“We are beyond excited to announce that one of our Partners, former Department of Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, will be returning to higher education to serve as the Interim — and hopeful permanent — President of the New College of Florida, in Sarasota,” Trujillo wrote.

“This move comes as part of Gov. DeSantis’ ongoing work to refocus the university on providing the most value to its students and their parents.”

Corcoran was a founding partner for the consulting firm.

The news comes hours before the first board meeting since DeSantis appointed six new trustees to the 13-member board. The State University System Board of Governors also appointed a new trustee with a similar conservative think tank background.

Of note, work of Corcoran’s apparent hire comes before any news of current President Patricia Okker’s future with the school. Eddie Speir, co-founder of Inspiration Academy, wrote a blog post this weekend promising to call for Okker to be renamed as interim President and to terminate all faculty and staff before deciding who still fit in the new vision for the college.

While Florida’s Sunshine Law requires all decisions by the board to be made in publicly noticed meetings, Trujillo treats the matter like a done deal.

“The selection of Richard distinguishes our firm as a leader in innovation and strategic solutions for the clients we serve. We look forward to finding new synergies that can better serve our current clients and ensure their goals are made a reality,” his letter reads.

“We are proud of Richard’s record of service to the state, his commitment to taking on tough but worthy causes, and his ability to succeed. There is no doubt Richard helped to shape our firm and the clients we serve. We look forward to inviting you all to a celebration soon to honor Richard in his new role and introduce you to any of the amazing Continental Strategy team members here that you may not already know.”

Trustees meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday in Sarasota.

Corcoran has expressed interest in serving as a university President before. He applied in mid-2021 to become President of Florida State University. But the job instead went to Richard McCullough, previously Harvard University’s vice provost for research.

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].


  • Caitlyn Sanderson

    January 31, 2023 at 2:49 pm

    I’m glad they had the gall to announce it before the meeting. Nakedly political ploy indeed.

  • SteveHC

    January 31, 2023 at 2:51 pm

    Oh yeah, just what *every* college and university needs – aprofessiinal, career POLITICIAN as its president! 🤮

  • Jim Cline

    January 31, 2023 at 2:54 pm

    “I know I’m a nonacademic” said Richard Corcoran, whose appointment as New College President appears to have been rushed through without even the appearance of Sunshine State adherence.

  • SteveHC

    January 31, 2023 at 2:57 pm

    Ah, but this is how true banana republic dictatorships operate!

  • He is

    January 31, 2023 at 3:06 pm

    Stares at a roof.
    You know he’s as dumb as he looks lol

  • Ocean Joe

    January 31, 2023 at 4:16 pm

    Can’t tell.
    Is the story about a group of influence peddlers monetizing their connection to the governor, or is it about the conversion of New College, its’ faculty, and students through a shabby, Florida GOP version of the Inquisition?
    Either way, Corcoran will be perfect, and no doubt insist on a large pay increase since these guys are always about saving tax dollars.

  • tom palmer

    January 31, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    At least the most value for the Florida Republican Party. It certainly leads one to wonder whether the purpose is simply to make the atmosphere so repressive that students and faculty wil leave en masse and there will no longer be a college in Florida where free inquiry is valued.

    • Melinda

      February 6, 2023 at 8:29 am

      It doesn’t make me wonder. It’s obvious their vitriol is being directed at this prestigious liberal arts school, and that this is a political hit. Within days of this article, there were then public statements by them to fire all faculty & staff. The organized effort to use loopholes to siphon public tax money into private schools is on full blast, now set up in at least 19 states. Hope people start connecting these dots.

  • Mother of our future

    January 31, 2023 at 6:55 pm

    This is a sad day for this beautiful college. It’s produced some amazing highly intelligent graduates who have gone on to do great things in our state and in our country. I have a white, heterosexual, Christian son that goes to the New College. Guess what? That’s not the only kind of person that should be attending school there. Diversity makes us all better. I just can’t believe this is what DeSantis is focusing his energy on. I mean…aren’t there more illegal immigrants in Texas he can spend 1.5 million dollars on by sending them to DC to prove his point? Why are you messing with our future?

  • Cheryl Soehl

    February 3, 2023 at 2:00 pm

    DeSantis and his cronies’ scorched earth approach to reforming New College on the Hillsdale College model will only succeed in aligning every thinking Floridian against him and activating political will to stop his advance to the U.S. presidency, which is his primary goal and inspiration for this campaign. He erroneously believes that his electorate is uneducated, unintelligent and gullible. When the aspirations of the sons and daughters of working and middle class parents to better themselves by attending first class institutions of higher learning are crushed by his dismantling of the state university system, he will learn, to his dismay, the consequences of sending his barbarians to assault the pillars of civilization.

Comments are closed.


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