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FGCU's presidential search committee restarts efforts to find the university's fifth leader

Florida Gulf Coast University

Three search firms will be interviewed; Search committee to clarify if a candidate found independent of a firm could be acceptable.

The search for Florida Gulf Coast University’s fifth president was renewed Friday with a decision to see which of three search firms might be best suited to the task.

The university's search committee met in the Cohen Student Union Ballroom in an ongoing effort to find a replacement for outgoing FGCU President Mike Martin. Martin, who said he was willing to extend his time at FGCU, has been granted an extension of his contract to June 2023.

The selection of a new president came to an unexpected halt at the Nov. 2 trustees meeting that was originally supposed to produce the FGCU leader. Instead, trustees returned from a lunch break and found that due to a upcoming state Board of Governors meeting the process was forced into a two-week delay, when two of the three candidates withdrew.

"I thank you all for your patience as we had a little bit of A hiccup a few weeks ago," trustees member and chairman Blake Gable told the other members at that time. "I apologize and as chair I take responsibility for that. I thought we were in a position to be able to move forward. We clearly we were not and the unintended consequences of that are a few of our candidates have dropped out."

The trustees decided to restart the search process, and the third candidate ultimately also withdrew.

Friday the search committee, after discussion, decided to invite three search firms, including the firm that handled the initial search this time, AGB, as well as Greenwood Asher & Associates and WittKiefer. The latter two firms also have experience in state university searches.

Additionally, the committee asked to get a clarification from the state Board of Governors if the selection committee could work outside of a search firm if an overwhelmingly suitable candidate was found independently.

"Let's get the answer to the question. And then we can deal with it if it's doable and the Board of Governors would support it," committee chairman Edward Morton said. "It's an alternative track B. If not, we're we're back to pretty much a traditional approach."

Consensus at the meeting was that the search will likely run into June or July.

The committee also welcomed two new members, Joseph G. Fogg III from the FGCU Board of Trustees, and Shelton Weeks, director of FGCU’s Lucas Institute for Real Estate Development & Finance, replacing two former members, Arie van Duijn and Ashley Coone, who were no longer able to participate on the committee.

A next meeting for the search committee has not yet been scheduled.

Copyright 2023 WGCU. To see more, visit WGCU.

Michael Braun