Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


BOT Chair Piero Bussani announces the new FAU Presidential Search Committee

Almost a year after the Board of Trustees announced the suspension of the presidential search amidst controversy, Bussani announced that a new 15-member search committee, guided by Trustee Sherry Murphy, will begin its search process this summer.
Headshot of Piero Bussani. Courtesy of FAUs website.
Headshot of Piero Bussani. Courtesy of FAU’s website.

On Tuesday, Piero Bussani, Chair of the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Board of Trustees (BOT), announced via email to the FAU community the formation of a new 15-member Presidential Search Committee. This initiative marks the revival of the presidential search process, which had been on hold for nearly a year.

Bussani said the formation of the committee — which includes faculty, students, alumni, trustees and local  business leaders —  emphasizes a commitment to a transparent, diverse and inclusive search process. 

The search was initially suspended by the BOT almost a year ago after Chancellor Ray Rodrigues of the State University System of Florida (SUS) sent a letter to former BOT Chair Brad Levine, highlighting issues with the search process and requesting its suspension.

Amid the ensuing controversy, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody determined on October 30 that FAU’s suspended presidential search violated Sunshine Law by anonymously ranking candidates to a search firm, which then presented the rankings back to the committee.

In Dec., Florida Board of Governors (BOG) Inspector General Julie Leftheris decided that FAU’s presidential search violated state law and failed to meet audit and compliance regulations and Office of the Inspector General staff ultimately recommended that the BOT had to restart the search process. 

When BOT Chair Levine resigned from his position in Feb., the board unanimously appointed Bussani as the new chair. Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed Bussani to the BOT board in 2022. 

According to Bussani, the new search process will begin this summer with initial organizational and working group meetings, consultations with a search firm, and the development of a marketing plan and public events calendar. A web page will also be launched to provide biographical information on committee members and facilitate stakeholder input.

The search committee, chaired by Trustee Sherry Murphy, includes the following members:

  • Craig Mateer, Board of Governors
  • Pablo Paez, FAU Trustee
  • Ernie Ellison, FAU Trustee
  • Kevin Wagner, Ph.D., Professor and Associate Dean, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
  • Stefan Andjelkovic, Student Body President-Elect
  • Brian Poulin, Chair, FAU Foundation Board
  • Roland Valdivieso, FAU Alumnus
  • Jeff Joyner, FAU Alumnus
  • Michelle Hagerty, Philanthropist
  • Scott McClenaghan, Executive Vice President, SE Florida Pro CRE at First Horizon Bank
  • John Tolbert, Senior Vice President, Blackstone Real Estate Hotels & Resorts
  • Robert “Bobby” D’Angelo, FAU Alumnus
  • Stephanie Toothaker, Esq., Chairwoman and Chief Strategist, Toothaker.org
  • Robert Allen, Esq., Founding Partner, Robert Allen Law

Sofia De La Espriella is the Editor-in-Chief of the University Press. Email [email protected] or message her on Instagram @sofidelaespriella for information regarding this or other stories.


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About the Contributor
Sofia De La Espriella
Sofia De La Espriella, Editor-in-Chief
Sofia is a senior double majoring in multimedia journalism and history. She is passionate about governance, foreign relations, and the Latin American region. On a determined path toward graduate school, Sofia aims to specialize in these fields and acquire an in-depth understanding of their intricacies. Ultimately, she aspires to become a respected political journalist.

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