The rumor du jour in Tallahassee is that state Senator John Thrasher realllyyy wants to be the next president of Florida State University. And why not? The FSU presidency is one of the best gigs in the state.
FSU’s Board of Trustees must decide if it wants an academician or a politician in the top spot. If it goes in the direction of a politician, Thrasher makes sense. He’s a former Speaker of the House and a former chairman of FSU’s Board of Trustees. He’s one of, if not the, most prominent FSU boosters in the Legislature. In fact, he practically built FSU’s medical school while serving in the House.
No, Thrasher’s not a statewide figure, but he’s as close as you can get without ever having run for statewide office. And in his past work as a lobbyist is a plus in the situation, as opposed to when it was perceived to be a negative when Thrasher was under consideration to be Rick Scott’s lieutenant governor.
However, as Jeff Atwater’s escapade with Florida Atlantic University proved, the trend may be moving away from making politicians into university presidents. If Thrasher does indeed want to be president of FSU, he should not burn his ships at the shore, as Atwater was prepared to do. Dare I say, Thrasher needs to be more like the maneuvering George LeMieux than the ambitious Atwater.