Former FDOE Senior Chancellor to be Broward College Acting President

Henry-Mack- copy
The move comes 1 week after its leader for 5 years abruptly left amid reports of tension with Gov. DeSantis-appointed college trustees.

A prominent Tallahassee lobbyist and former Senior Chancellor at the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) is Broward College’s new chief — and the third recent ally of Gov. Ron DeSantis to ascend to lead a state higher learning institution.

Henry Mack III was chosen from a field of three candidates to become the Acting President of the 55,000-student school of three campuses. The opening at the top was announced last week upon the departure of Gregory Haile, who had led the school for the last five years.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be selected to serve in the acting President role at Broward College, where I began my career,” Mack said, according to a prepared statement from the college.

The college’s board of trustees interviewed all three candidates Tuesday and chose Mack, who had been a finalist to lead Florida Gulf Coast University earlier this year. Candidates were required to have a previous affiliation with the institution

Mack highlighted his Tallahassee experience at Tuesday’s interview session, the Sun-Sentinel’s Scott Travis reported.

“Thankfully I come ready-made with the necessary relationships to make the college successful,” he told college trustees.

Mack, currently a partner at The Southern Group since the start of this year, was an associate vice president at Broward College until the DeSantis administration tapped him to become a Chancellor at the FDOE.

His Tallahassee connections earned hearty praise from members on the board of trustees, Travis reported.

“The knowledge you get from working with the capital is something you can’t learn remotely,” Trustees Chairwoman Alexis Yarbrough said.

Originally, Mack oversaw FDOE’s Division of Career and Adult Education, from 2019 to 2021. In 2021, he was promoted to Senior Chancellor at FDOE. From that position, which he held until this year, he oversaw Florida’s public and private higher learning institutions. Working with the Governor’s Office, he was responsible for all higher education and workforce education legislative priorities, according to his résumé.

That might seem a red flag to some, as DeSantis has made it a priority to remake state-run universities and colleges, inciting much controversy. The past two Sessions have included banning “woke” instruction — legislation currently being litigated in federal appeals court — and stripping out state-run higher education institutions of diversity, equity and inclusion offices and initiatives.

Haile’s term as Broward College President came to an abrupt end when tensions erupted with DeSantis’ appointees to the Broward College board of trustees, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Mack served at FDOE when Richard Corcoran was state Education Commissioner. On Tuesday, the board of trustees at New College of Florida named Corcoran the new permanent head of the college.

Another DeSantis ally, Rep. Fred Hawkins, in June was named President of South Florida State College in Avon Park. He had no higher education experience before being named to the post, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

The presidential search at Florida Atlantic University has been suspended. And some attribute that to another DeSantis ally, Brevard County Republican Rep. Randy Fine, failing to make the list of finalists for the job.

Mack, who grew up in South Florida, according to his cover letter, outlined three goals for Broward College: grow technology, advanced manufacturing and health care related training opportunities; increase faculty pay; and restore a “culture of trust.”

“To achieve all Broward College is capable of will require capitalizing on my connections in Tallahassee, but also finding the resources to increase Broward College’s margin,” he wrote. “I look forward to shoring up, immediately, the College’s finances and fundraising efforts, relying on my experience in grant solicitation and resource advocacy.”

Mack received a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Miami along with a licentiate in philosophy and a master’s in sacred theology from Catholic University of America in Washington.

Trustees selected him over Barbara Bryan, who had been an administrator at Broward College, starting in 1987, ultimately becoming a campus president and Vice President of Strategic Initiatives by the time of her departure in 2013. Another candidate, Cesar Florian, most recently worked as an immigration lawyer and a business consultant. His résumé also listed a stint as a professor at Keiser University up until January 2023.

Mack could apply to become the permanent President of Broward College, the Sun-Sentinel reported.

Broward College is the third-largest of the 28 colleges in the Florida College System, behind Miami-Dade College and Valencia College, according to the Florida Department of Education 2022 FactBook.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


  • My Take

    October 3, 2023 at 6:24 pm

    So WHAT were the “”tensions” ????

    And the goal is almost a trade school?

  • Rick Whitaker

    October 3, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    ” might seem like a red flag to some”. more like a screaming siren with red flashing lights. desantis’ actions are clear, he’s mixing religion and maga cult values to ruin the education system of florida. much like the taliban does to their system. profit from private schools and repressive dogma is his thing. hiring lobbyist and people with degrees in ” sacred theology” ( mack ) is a giveaway. why are the voters putting up with such fascism. religion as he uses it is a christian white supremacy tactic. someone needs to do something about this crap

    • My Take

      October 3, 2023 at 8:51 pm

      MAGA is too mainstream.
      OPUS DEI !!

Comments are closed.


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