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FIU provost picked as universities chancellor

Associated Press
Published October 27, 2005

TALLAHASSEE - Hurricane Wilma kept Florida International University provost Mark B. Rosenberg incommunicado when the Florida Board of Governors unanimously voted to hire him Wednesday as chancellor of the State University System.

Chairwoman Carolyn Roberts said the battering of South Florida Monday by Hurricane Wilma cut off contact with FIU in Miami. The teleconference meeting went on as scheduled because it had been advertised. Several of the 17 board members also were unable to participate due to telephone outages.

No starting date or salary yet has been set. Board member Peter S. Rummell, CEO of Jacksonville-based St. Joe Co., Florida's largest private landowner, will lead salary negotiations, Roberts said.

Rummell also chaired the selection committee that recommended Rosenberg, a political scientist and expert on Latin America who also knows his way around Florida government, as the top choice from 24 candidates.

"He's going to be engaged very quickly," Roberts later told reporters. "Our top priority will be our relationship with the Legislature."

Rosenberg is the first chancellor picked by the board since it was created through a citizen initiative in 2002. He will succeed Debra Austin, who resigned to become Florida A&M University provost.

The constitutional amendment creating the board was a response to the Legislature's abolition of the Board of Regents, which previously oversaw the State University System. The regents were replaced by boards of trustees for each of 11 public universities. Those boards remain in place under the Board of Governors.

Bob Graham, a former Democratic U.S. senator and governor, led the initiative, contending that the Republican-controlled Legislature abolished the regents because they had opposed lawmakers' desire to create a new medical school and two new law schools in 1999.

"I want to build a relationship so the Legislature is comfortable that we are going to do our role; we are not intending to do theirs," Roberts said.

Rosenberg is a 1971 graduate of Miami University in Ohio and earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1976.

He was an adviser to Rep. Katherine Harris, R-Sarasota, when she was Florida's secretary of state.

[Last modified October 27, 2005, 01:27:13]

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