John Thrasher receives key support in bid to be next FSU president

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Republican Sen. John Thrasher channeled millions of state dollars to Florida State University and serves as chair of Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election effort. Now he has a high-profile supporter in his possible bid to become the next FSU president.

Former FSU president Talbot “Sandy” D’Alemberte, who led the university from 1994 to 2003, issued a letter on Monday recommending Thrasher.

“During my time as president of the university,” D’Alemberte wrote, “John repeatedly was the legislator who understood the need to support higher education and he always took a direct interest in the issues that related to FSU.”

“But for John Thrasher,” he added, “there would be no medical school here at Florida State University.”

The FSU Presidential Search Advisory Committee, chaired by Trustee Ed Burr, expects to receive a status report on Wednesday from search consultant R. William Funk & Associates.

FSU trustees want the institution’s next president to have a similar academic qualification as former President Eric Barron, who took the same role at Penn State University.

However, the ability to raise money should be an important factor in the selection process, D’Alemberte noted, especially in light of the loss of resources at Florida schools in recent years.

“Indeed, my admiration for my successors is huge when I consider the cutback in state funding and in state programs such as the matching gift program,” he added. “Our priority now is getting that base funding restored.

“John Thrasher is the best person to accomplish this.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.