Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Big-Man-on-Campus Title Attracts Politicians

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Big-Man-on-Campus Title Attracts Politicians

Article excerpt

Jacksonville Mayor John Delaney isn't the only Florida politico looking at the possibility of becoming a university president.

Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan said this week he is interested in the top job at Florida Atlantic University, while former House Speaker T.K. Wetherell made the short list of candidates to become president of Florida State University.

Brogan's acknowledgment that he is interested in the FAU job caused a stir in the Capitol, as Gov. Jeb Bush gets ready to start his second term in January. Brogan earned a master's degree from the Boca Raton-based school and was a career educator, including serving as state education commissioner, before getting elected with Bush in 1998.

"What makes this presidency attractive at all is that it's Florida Atlantic University," Brogan said. "I'm an alum, it is home for me, it is an incredibly dynamic university."

FAU originally was scheduled to announce the hiring of its new president Thursday but delayed the decision on a successor for Anthony Catanese until at least January. Brogan makes $117,990 as lieutenant governor, but FAU's new president could be offered a five-year contract with a salary averaging $370,000 a year, plus benefits and perks worth an average of $150,000 a year.

Delaney said last month he was exploring the idea of pursuing the presidency of the University of North Florida, a job that opened when Anne Hopkins resigned because of health problems. Delaney will leave the mayor's office June 30 because he is limited to two terms.

Wetherell, meanwhile, could find out whether he gets the Florida State job this month. Wetherell, who served as House speaker from 1990 to 1992 and later worked as president of Tallahassee Community College, is one of five candidates who will be interviewed by a search committee Monday and Tuesday.

With Bush-appointed university trustees running the searches, Brogan, Delaney and Wetherell have political connections that could help them land the presidencies. Though Wetherell has been out of office for a decade, he is a former lobbying partner of John Thrasher, chairman of the Florida State trustees and leader of its search committee. …

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