FGCU narrows down presidential search to top 3

Published: November 2, 2022 8:29 PM EDT
Updated: November 2, 2022 8:30 PM EDT

One of the biggest schools in the Sunshine State is looking for a new president.

On Wednesday, a board in charge of picking the new president at FGCU interviewed three finalists: Robert Gregerson, Tod Laursen and Susana Rivera-Mills.

The next president of Florida Gulf Coast University is set to be chosen in two weeks.

Three finalists beat out 125 other candidates.

“I have the deepest regard for this institution; I was here for 5 years,” said Gregerson, presidential candidate. “They were some of the absolute best and most creative, I think, years of my professional life. When I learned that Dr. Martin was going to retire, immediately the gears in the head started turning.”

Gregerson is the president at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg.

Like every other finalist, he talked about Hurricane Ian and its impact on the community.

“Regardless of what your program of study, what your major is, is that you infuse career-readiness into every type of major regardless of what it is,” Gregerson said.

Laursen is acting president at SUNY Polytechnic Institute.

He said he wants to leverage what FGCU has started and take it to the next level.

“My goal would be to have multiple academic programs, probably don’t know the place well enough yet to know where those are, that are without question considered best in class nationally,” Laursen said.

He worked at Duke University as a professor of mechanical engineering and said his background will help keep FGCU sports growing.

Rivera-Mills is executive vice president for academic affairs at Ball State University. She made it a point to talk about the importance of student success.

“Every individual that comes to the institution has a hope for what they want to achieve,” Rivera-Mills said. “They have their own definition of what student success looks like.”

She said she values diversity.

“I am not applying to ten different universities. I have applied to one, FGCU and I thought very long and hard about what this meant for me, for my family and for the lifestyle change that this implies,” Rivera-Mills said.

In the end, every finalist agreed on one thing: There’s something special about FGCU.

They admire the university and want to be part of it.

The decision to choose a president on Wednesday was deferred after a trustee member ordered to convene a special meeting in two weeks where they will vote for the president.

For more information on the presidential search, visit here.