For the third consecutive time, Pennsylvania’s state university system has turned to Florida for its new leader.
Former Florida Lt. Gov. Frank T. Brogan, head of the State University System of Florida, on Wednesday was named the new chancellor of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education covering 14 universities.
Brogan, 59, of Tallahassee, will start Oct. 1 in the $327,500-a-year job, overseeing the 115,000-student system - only about one-third of the size of Florida’s system.
Brogan is taking a pay cut; he earned $357,000 in his Florida post. In a telephone interview, Brogan - a 35-year-state employee - said he is in Florida’s retirement system and would have had to leave his post in a year.
“I would have had to look for something else in the Sunshine state. This presented me with the opportunity to remain a chancellor,” he said.
Brogan was one of three finalists; the system declined to disclose the others but former Pennsylvania Education Secretary Ron Tomalis reportedly was interviewed.
Brogan will replace John Cavanaugh, who started in 2008 and left in February. Cavanaugh came from the University of West Florida - and the chancellor before him, Judy Hample, was in the same job as Brogan before moving to Pennsylvania.
“We seem to have a pipeline to Florida,” said Steve Hicks, president of Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.
He expressed concern about educational policies in Florida, such as the push to create four-year degree programs that will cost no more than $10,000 in tuition. He wonders how much Brogan is in line with those policies. But he said he’s pleased with Brogan’s experience in both higher education and state government.
In Florida, Brogan dealt with legislators and negotiated for funding, much as he will have to do in Pennsylvania.
An Ohio native, Brogan was the first in his family to attend college, according to the Florida state university web site. He received his bachelor's in education, graduating magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati, and a master's in education from Florida Atlantic University. He does not have a doctorate, though said he twice began work on one and stopped due to work demands.
He started as a classroom teacher in 1978 at Port Salerno Elementary in Martin County, Fla. He rose through the ranks eventually serving as superintendent of the Martin County school system for six years. He then became Florida’s commissioner of education in 1995 and later was appointed lieutenant governor, focusing on education policy under Republian Gov. Jeb Bush.
Brogan became president of Florida Atlantic University in 2003 and then chancellor of the state system in 2009.
Pennsylvania’s board of governors selected Brogan from a wide pool of candidates.
“We received several hundred inquiries from individuals throughout the United States and even some from outside the country,” Board Chair Guido M. Pichini said.
The system’s universities include West Chester, Cheyney, Bloomsburg, California, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg and Slippery Rock.