FSU president candidates include several FL names, but so far only one woman in the running

By: - May 13, 2021 4:21 pm

Florida State University. Source: Wikimedia Commons

With FSU president John Thrasher stepping down soon, Florida State University is looking at nine candidates for its next president, a mixture of Floridians and out-of-state candidates but only one woman in the running.

It also appears that only one Black male is in the mix.

Some candidates have well-known Florida names in Tallahassee, including Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, a former state House Speaker, and David Coburn, vice president to Thrasher and athletics director for FSU. Both men have legal backgrounds. Corcoran is a member of the Florida Bar; Coburn has a law school degree from FSU’s College of Law.

First-round interviews of the candidates are scheduled for Friday and Saturday.

Here’s some bio material of the candidates, in the Friday and Saturday interviews:

/Florida attorney Sean Pittman. His law firm specializes in government, administrative, and corporate law, according to the firm’s website, and he was a student body president when he attended FSU. The website also notes that Pittman, who is Black, served as the finance chair for Democrat Andrew Gillum’s 2018 gubernatorial campaign against Republican Ron DeSantis.

/Robert Blouin. He serves as executive vice chancellor and provost of  University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He previously served as a dean for the university’s School of Pharmacy. He also served in several administration and faculty roles at the University of Kentucky.

/Richard McCullough. He serves as vice provost for research at Harvard and also teaches as a professor of materials science and engineering.

/Michael Young. He retired last year from his post as president of Texas A&M University, but continues to serve at the university’s law school as a tenured faculty member, according to the Texas Tribune.

/Mary Ann Rankin. She previously served as provost of the University of Maryland before stepping down from the position in January. Prior to her time with the University of Maryland, she worked as a faculty member in zoology. In addition, she was dean of the College of Natural Sciences for almost 17 years at Texas A&M University, according to her application.

Rankin is the only woman out of nine candidates. It appears that only four out of the initial 22 applicants were women.

/Randy Hanna. He is dean and chief executive officer of the Panama City campus of FSU. He earned a doctorate of education from the University of Pennsylvania, and previously served as a chancellor of the Florida College System of community colleges across Florida, according to the FSU Panama City website.

/Richard Corcoran. He is the Florida Commissioner of Education under  Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration. He was appointed for  Education Commissioner and began that role in 2019. He is Republican and an attorney and previously served as a Florida Speaker of the House.

/Giovanni Piedimonte. He is vice president for research and institutional official of Tulane University in Louisiana and has a hefty medical background. He received a degree in medicine from the University of Rome School of Medicine in Italy and completed his residency training in pediatrics at the University of California San Francisco, according to his application.

/David Coburn. He is vice president to Thrasher and athletics director for FSU. Before his time at FSU, he worked within Florida’s legislative process, with experience serving as the chief of staff for both the Florida House and Senate chambers.

The meeting and all interviews will be livestreamed at presidentialsearch.fsu.edu., according to FSU.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Danielle J. Brown
Danielle J. Brown

Danielle J. Brown is a 2018 graduate of Florida State University. She has served as an editorial intern for International Program’s annual magazine and Rowland Publishing. She was born and raised in Tallahassee and reviews community theater productions for the Tallahassee Democrat.