Charles B. Reed, the former chancellor of the Florida university system and chief of staff, died Tuesday at age of 75.
Reed was a football-playing Pennsylvania native before he went on to receive his doctorate in education from George Washington University. In 1984, he became former Governor Bob Graham’s chief of staff, contrasting Graham with his blunt personal style.
With Graham’s help, Reed became the chancellor of the Florida university system in 1985 and continued to serve as chancellor for 13 years.
He was a critic of the Bright Futures scholarship program because he thought it gave merit-based aid to too many Florida families, overlooking those who needed more aid. He said Florida lacked a centralized authority for the university system that made decisions based on statewide benefits.
Reed praised Florida effort to increase online education, a goal Florida has continued to work on.
In 1998, he moved to California and led the California State University system, the largest university system in the United States. The system reached its peak budget of $5 billion under Reed. He later retired in 2012 and moved back to Tallahassee.
“Charlie will always be remembered as a formative figure in our university’s history and as a tenacious, passionate champion of public higher education,” said Timothy P. White, chancellor of the California State University system.
Reed is survived by his wife, Catherine Reed, two children and five grandchildren.