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Rhea Law applies to become USF president on a permanent basis

woman wearing glasses stands in front of foam-covered wall
Mark Schreiner
WUSF Public Media
Rhea Law, who has served as USF's interim president since July 2021, has applied to take the job on a permanent basis.

Law joins at least 11 other candidates who have already applied to succeed Steven Currall.

In a reversal of earlier plans, University of South Florida interim President Rhea Law now wants to take on the position permanently.

The Tampa Bay Times and the Tampa Bay Business Journalreport that Law submitted documents indicating her interest in the job Wednesday.

When Law was named interim president last summer, she informed Board of Trustees chair Will Weatherford that she did not want the position on a permanent basis.

"(Trustees) are not looking for an interim that is interested in the permanent job," she told WUSF News. "They want to make sure that the interim is focused on making sure that the university is in good hands and ready for the new person to come in and I am not applying for the permanent job."

But since she took the position, the Tampa attorney has earned praise for her performance. She supervised the completion of USF's strategic plan, advanced strategies for a long-anticipated on-campus football stadium, and put a stop to contentious discussions over developing the USF Forest Preserve north of the Tampa campus.

Law, 72, is a USF graduate who previously served as chair of the university’s board of trustees.

At least 11 other people have applied for the president job.

Earlier this month, the Presidential Search Committee moved its timeline to name a successor for Steven Currall back from the first quarter to "hopefully" by the end of the school year.

The committee meets again March 1.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.