By Marc Levy and Peter Jackson (AP)
HARRISBURG, Pa. — University executive and former Florida lieutenant governor Frank Brogan was named the new chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, which oversees 14 state-owned universities.
The system’s board of governors made the selection of Brogan, who was Florida’s lieutenant governor from 1999-2003 under then-Gov. Jeb Bush, official in a unanimous vote Wednesday.
Brogan has been the chancellor of the State University System of Florida since 2009 and, before that, was president of Florida Atlantic University from 2003-2009. He will be the fourth chancellor to lead the nation’s 13th largest public university system, enrolling about 115,000 students.
UF President Bernie Machen provided a written statement Wednesday afternoon about Brogan’s tenure in Florida: “Frank has been a tireless higher education leader in Florida and I wish him the very best of luck in his new endeavor.”
The position is the highest-paid job in state government. The previous chancellor, John Cavanaugh, was earning $327,500 when he stepped down in February, the same amount Brogan will be paid.
Peter Garland, a former executive vice chancellor of the Pennsylvania system, has served as acting chancellor since Cavanaugh resigned after five years to head the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area.
Brogan’s selection came after a secretive search process.
The system’s board of governors, most of whom are appointed by the governor, voted unanimously in January to keep the search process secret for the first time in the system’s 31 years. Such secrecy is increasingly sought by higher-education executives out fear of reprisal if their current employers discover they were job hunting.
Ronald Tomalis, Gov. Tom Corbett’s education secretary at the time of the decision, was among the board members voting for the policy.
Tomalis stepped aside under mysterious circumstances to take a new job in May as Corbett’s higher education adviser, while keeping his nearly $150,000 salary. Corbett did not explain the reason for the change but appointed William Harner to succeed him as the state’s top education official.
The state system comprises the universities at Bloomsburg, California, Cheyney, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, Slippery Rock and West Chester.
It doesn’t include Penn State, Temple University, the University of Pittsburgh or Lincoln University, which receive some state funding but are not under direct state control.
Leanna Scachetti contributed reporting.