Earlier this week, the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) officially tapped Harvard Vice Provost for Research, Richard McCullough, as the next president at Florida State University (FSU).
He was confirmed by the board to succeed outgoing president John Thrasher and will be starting with a base salary of $700,000 per year with a car allowance up to $1,000 per month.
“The more I learned about all the amazing things (at FSU) to make it such an amazing place on a fast rise, I became very interested in the possibility,” McCullough said to the board. “I want this job. I really want to be a part of this.”
He also previously served as vice president for research at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. where he launched two companies in connection with the university’s research arm.
“He’s an experienced academic, strategic administrator, and entrepreneur,” FSU Board Chair Ed Burr told the Board of Governors. “We saw Rick embrace the dreams and aspirations of FSU and the people who make it so unique.”
McCullough spent time talking about his upbringing in Texas, starting at a community college and then leading to a doctorate from Johns Hopkins and then his current post at Harvard.
During the time for questions, McCullough was asked about his stance on free speech issues on college campuses by Florida Senate President Wilton Simpson (R-10) who called colleges and universities “socialism factories.”
“I think the purpose of universities is to hear all sides of a debate and learn,” McCullough said in response.
The search for Thrasher’s replacement had a heightened media attention due to one of the final nine candidates including former Florida lawmaker and current Florida education commissioner Richard Corcoran. Him not being included in the eventual final three was viewed as politically motivated, due to Corcoran being a Republican and outspoken conservative working with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration.
However, the reason for Corcoran’s removal from further consideration was due to his position on the BOG, which has the final vote of confirmation, and it would appear as a conflict of interest.
McCullough concluded his comments to the board by saying he is looking forward to getting started in Tallahassee.
“There’s work to be done providing the infrastructure for faculty to be as successful as they can,” said McCullough. “Florida State is really poised to make the next jump.”
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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.