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Kanika Tomalin one of nine being interviewed for USF St. Petersburg Regional Chancellor job

A cropped headshot of a woman wearing an orange blazer and pearl earrings.
Eckerd College
Kanika Tomalin, the former St. Petersburg deputy mayor, is one of nine candidates being interviewed to become USF St. Petersburg Regional Chancellor.

The former deputy mayor for the city of St. Petersburg is currently the chief operating officer and vice president of strategy at Eckerd College.

The University of South Florida is interviewing nine candidates as it looks to fill the regional chancellor position at its St. Petersburg campus.

While eight of them are from out-of-state, the one local candidate has lengthy ties to the area.

Kanika Tomalin was deputy mayor of the city of St. Petersburg under Rick Kriseman from 2014 until earlier this year. She's currently the chief operating officer and vice president of strategy at nearby Eckerd College.

Tomalin began her career in St. Petersburg at the St. Petersburg Times before joining Bayfront Medical Center in 2000 as a fundraiser. She later joined the Public Affairs Office at Bayfront and became manager in 2004. She later served in a number of management and executive roles at Bayfront and with the Bayfront Health Network, as well as with Health Management Associates’ 23-hospital Florida Group.

Fifty-six people applied to replacing outgoing USF St. Pete regional chancellor Martin Tadlock, who is stepping down at the end of the semester. Tadlock originally announced plans to leave the regional chancellor position in December 2021, but held off after being asked to following Steven Currall's surprise retirement as USF president in summer 2021.

The other candidates being interviewed virtually Wednesday and Thursday include:

  • Thomas Burns, provost, Belmont University (Nashville, TN)
  • Carl Goodman, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Bowie State University (Bowie, MD). Goodman was an associate provost at Florida A&M University in 2016-20.
  • Melissa Gruys, dean, Doermer School of Business, Purdue University Fort Wayne (IN)
  • Andrew Hamilton, associate vice provost, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
  • Christian Hardigree, dean, school of hospitality, Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Alan Shao, dean, School of Business and VP of corporate partnerships, College of Charleston. Shao was one of five finalists last year to be president at New College in Sarasota and was a visiting assistant professor at USF in 1988-89.
  • Robert Smith, provost and VP for academic affairs, Valdosta State University
  • Bjong (Wolf) Yeigh, former chancellor, University of Washington Bothell

Officials say the search committee will pick two or three finalists who will be interviewed in person and take part in town hall meetings on campus next week.

WUSF reporter Daylina Miller contributed to this report

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