Meet the seven academics and two politicians vying to be FAU’s seventh president

Lulu Ramadan

Sixty two candidates applied. Ten were selected for interviews. Nine showed up, but only one will be the next president of FAU.

The presidential search committee responsible for choosing our next university president met with five of the nine candidates for personal interviews on Jan. 9. The remainder of the candidates are scheduled for interviews on Jan. 10.

The position was vacated last May when former FAU President Mary Jane Saunders resigned three years into a five-year term. She returned to the  faculty in the College of Science to focus on creating a physician’s assistant program. Of the 62 original applicants (see full list below) for her old job, 10 were nominated  on Jan. 6 for interviews with the 15-member committee. (One candidate, Ronald Vogel, withdrew his application for the position before the interview process.)

Here’s our write up from the first five candidates interviewed earlier today:

Larry Lemanski, Professor and Chair of the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences at Texas A&M University
  • What are specific goals you hope to achieve at FAU? To expand research at FAU, make the College of Medicine one of the top programs in the country, establish a university affiliated hospital and win a national football program

  • How do you plan to deal with limited funds and budget cuts? Instead of slashing budgets immediately, Lemanski hopes to reprioritize spending and gain consensus from faculty and staff before making decisions

  • What are your plans to enhance campus life? Create internships through connections to local private businesses, hold lecture series, concerts and political debates on campus, and expand Greek life on-campus

  • How do you plan to deal with controversy on campus? Deal with the media by “not saying much” about the controversies that arise.

John W. Kelly, Vice President of Clemson University
  • What are specific goals you hope to achieve at FAU? Raise money for biomedical, marine technology and environmental sciences, among other programs. Expand the football program to expand student enrollment and “brand the university”

  • How do you plan to deal with limited funds and budget cuts? “Have a strong plan” and carry it through. When the state cut the budget at Clemson from 38% to 9%, they managed to grow the budget through tuition increases, according to Kelly

  • How do you plan to deal with controversy on campus? Mitigate the controversy early and discuss potential solutions with administrative team

Mary Holz-Clause, Vice President for Economic Development at University of Connecticut
  • What are specific goals you hope to achieve at FAU? Increase internships, increase graduation rate within five years by focusing on academic advising, and host more academic research for undergraduates

  • How do you plan to deal with limited funds and budget cuts? Openness and involving the faculty and staff in the decision about how to deal with budget cuts

  • What are your plans to enhance campus life? Establish tutoring systems, encourage clubs and organizations

Donald (Don) Siegel, Dean of School of Business and Professor of Management at University of Albany
  • What are specific goals you hope to achieve at FAU? Have athletics complement academics, enhance the quality of student experience and continue support of athletics

  • How do you plan to deal with limited funds and budget cuts? Not just “slash and burn” budget, but get faculty support and cancel plans to hire new employees

  • How do you plan to deal with controversy on campus? Maintain transparency in critical situations, and under “media fire,” and address the situation immediately

David Brennen, Dean and Professor of Law at University of Kentucky
  • What are specific goals you hope to achieve at FAU? Grow as an institution, expand lifelong learning programs and grow athletic department to draw funds to FAU

  • How do you plan to deal with limited funds and budget cuts? Increase funds by replacing public funds with private funds and encourage alumni from FAU to donate through private fundraising

  • What are your plans to enhance campus life? Communicate with students because they “aren’t credited with knowing what’s best for the university” and implement student funding policy so student groups can request funding  from Dean’s office for organizations and events

  • How do you plan to deal with controversy on campus? Talk to fellow administrators and come up with a solution

For more information on the final four candidates, check back after interviews take place Jan. 10.

[Kathryn Wohlpart contributed reporting to this story.]

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Here’s the total list of 62 applicants for president of FAU:
  1. Donna Elam, Ed.D (Director of Tampa Bay Educational Leadership)

  2. Rex E. Thompson (Former Chief Operating Officer of Pepsi-Cola Bottling)

  3. Chee K. Piong, Ph.D. (Former Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Research, Assessment and Planning at Everglades University)

  4. Leslie Hannah, Ph.D. (Director of Cherokee Programs at Northeastern State University)

  5. Gary B. Vonk, DBA (President of Southeastern College)

  6. Alan T. Shao, Ph.D. (Dean of College of Charleston)

  7. Carl A. Stockton, Ph.D. (Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Houston-Clear Lake)

  8. Kamal Parhizgar, Ph.D. (Professor of Management and Business Ethics at Texas A&M University System)

  9. Ronald E. Vogel, Ed.D. (Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at California State University System)

  10. Bruce Rafert, Ph.D. (Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at North Dakota State University)

  11. Faye Ran, Ph.D. (Gallery Director at Metropolitan College of New York)

  12. Edward W. Daly, DBA (Manager of Database Services at Community College of Rhode Island)

  13. John Omachonu, Ph.D. (Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Middle Tennessee State University)

  14. John A. Williams, Ph.D. (Dean of University of New Orleans)

  15. John Cunningham, Ph.D. (Interim CEO at UMass Online)

  16. Thomas A. Cruz-Soto, Jr. (Associate Dean of Multicultural Affairs at Colgate University)

  1. Ronald Nykiel, Ph.D. (Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at University of Maryland Eastern Shore)

  2. Donnovan S. Essen, DDS (Director of Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry at Essen Dentistry)

  3. Martin M. Shapiro, Ph.D. (Professor of Marketing, Management, and International Business at Berkley College New York and New Jersey)

  4. Jonathan Fichman, MBA (Senior Vice President Strategy and Execution – International Wealth and Investment Management at Bank of America Merrill Lynch)

  5. Kia Makki, Ph.D. (Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Technological University of America)

  6. Chiquita Dingle, MBA (Chief Executive Officer at Retro Grooves LLC)

  7. Hadi Salavitabar, Ph.D. (Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at The College of Saint Rose)

  8. Karla Leeper, Ph.D. (Chief Compliance Officer at Baylor University)

  9. Irma Becerra-Fernandez, Ph.D. (Interim Vice President for Engagement at Florida International University)

  10. Jemal E. Alston, DBA (Onsite Dean at Strayer University)

  11. Jose Carlos L. Quadrado, Ph.D. (President at Instituto Superior de Engenharia de Lisboa)

  12. Donald Siegel, Ph.D. (Dean and Professor of Management at University at Albany, State University of New York)

  13. Christopher Earley, Ph.D. (Dean at Purdue University)

  14. Edward Trapido, Sc.D. (Associate Dean of Research at Louisiana State University)

  15. Jason J. Rosenberg, MD (Plastic Surgeon at Dr. Rosenberg, MD)

  16. George S. LeMieux (Chairman of the Board at Gunster Law Firm)

  17. Jeremy Ring (Florida State Senator)

  18. Jeff Atwater (Chief Financial Officer, State of Florida)

  19. John W. Kelly, Ph.D. (Vice President of Public Service and Agriculture at Clemson University)

  20. Craig Agranoff (Director of Digital Media and Interactive Marketing at GRIPD)

  21. Neale Poller, JD (Attorney at Law Offices of Neale Poller)

  22. Mary Holz-Clause (Vice President for Economic Development at University of Connecticut)

  23. Thomas J. Minar, Ph.D. (Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations)

  24. Ronald Johnson (Dean of Jesse H. Jones School of Business at Texas Southern University)

  25. Gordon Baylis, Ph.D. (Vice President for Research and Professor at Western Kentucky University)

  26. Dennis Black, J.D. (Vice President for University Life and Services at University of Buffalo)

  27. Charles C. Canver, M.D. (Vice President of Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at Presence United Samaritans Medical Center)

  28. John Antel, Ph.D. (Former Senior Vice President/Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Provost (December 2012) at The University of Houston)

  29. David W. Persky, Ph.D. and J.D. (Professor of Criminal Justice/Chair of Undergraduate Criminal Justice and Pre-Law Advisor at Saint Leo University)

  30. David Ashley, Ph.D. (Former President (2009) and current Professor of Engineering at University of Nevada, Las Vegas)

  31. Rajiv Grover, Ph.D. (Chair of Excellence, Sales and Marketing at University of Memphis)

  32. Tony Atwater, Ph.D. (Former President (2013) at Norfolk University)

  33. Lesley Marion, Ph.D. (Former President and Vice-Chancellor at Nipissing University)

  34. Todd Diacon, Ph.D. (Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost at Kent State University)

  35. Steven Goodman, Ph.D. (Professor of Biochemistry and Former Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, Vice President for Research at State University of New York Upstate Medical University)

  36. Larry Lemanski, Ph.D. (Distinguished Research Professor at Texas A&M University-Commerce)

  37. Jay S. Skyler, MD (Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics and Psychology at University of Miami School of Medicine)

  38. Rodney Smolla, J.D. (Former President at Furman University)

  39. Cheng-i Wei, Ph.D. (Dean at University of Maryland, College Park)

  40. Jorge Haddock, Ph.D. (Former Dean at George Mason University)

  41. Hamid Shivani, Ph.D. (Outgoing Chancellor (January 2014) and Professor of Architectural Engineering at North Dakota University System

  42. Art Johnson, Ph.D. (Executive Director at Palm Beach County Administrator’s Association)

  43. David Brennen (Dean and Professor of Law at University of Kentucky)

  44. Robert Wilhelm (Vice Chancellor for Research and Economic Development at University of North Carolina, Charlotte)

  45. Gayle Ormiston, Ph.D. (Senior Vice President and Provost at Marshall University)

  46. George Tsetsekos, Ph.D. (Former Dean at Drexel University)