New College picks Richard Corcoran as new president

Richard Corcoran
Richard Corcoran speaks to press after addressing the Tiger Bay Club in West Tampa // Chris Young /WMNF News, 9/15/23


Interim president of New College, Richard Corcoran, was voted to fill the permanent president position at the school Tuesday. This comes amidst Governor DeSantis’ conservative transformation of the small honors college.

The Board of Trustees met at New College for the selection.

Richard Corcoran is a former state House speaker and state education commissioner.

He emphasized a business plan during an August interview with trustees outlining sweeping changes at New College. But, the plan was called not financially viable by a University of Florida business school faculty member.

Trustee and student body president Grace Keenan presented survey info at the meeting that showed Corcoran as last on the list of students’ preferred president.

“The top comment was that, despite being the interim president, he had not come to speak to the students to open himself up for conversation about the presidential search his entire time as interim president, yet Dr. Fisher did. I don’t think there’s any excuse for that. And then we had a lot of concerns about communication, lack of trust, the housing situation which I would describe, and I think we would all describe who experienced it, as chaotic, which was unacceptable.”

But Dr. Lance Karp, another trustee, had a more favorable view.

“I think he’s done a great job getting us where we are today. I know things are not perfect where we are, and I know we have a lot of work going forward, but as a trustee prior to this year beginning, I would say that unfortunately, we had some challenges and headwinds facing this school and the campus prior.”

Corcoran was voted for almost unanimously, with trustees Keenan and faculty representative Amy Reid voting for other candidates. Once an employment contract is agreed upon, the full Board of Trustees will meet to review and vote on the contract.


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