Richard Corcoran clears the final confirmation to stay New College of Florida president

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

©2023 The News Service of Florida

About nine months after Richard Corcoran took over at New College of Florida, state higher-education officials on Thursday confirmed Corcoran as the Sarasota liberal-arts college’s president.

The New College Board of Trustees last month approved a five-year contract for Corcoran that could see the former state House speaker and state Education Commissioner earn up to $1.3 million per year in salary and benefits.

The state university system’s Board of Governors on Thursday gave Corcoran, who was tapped as interim president earlier this year, the final go-ahead for the presidential post.

Since taking the helm in February, Corcoran has overseen sweeping changes at New College that have included the creation of athletic teams and the elimination of an office that dealt with diversity, equity and inclusion issues.

The changes to New College have been facilitated by the school’s Board of Trustees, which was revamped by Gov. Ron DeSantis in January through a slate of conservative appointees.

In remarks after being confirmed by the Board of Governors Thursday, Corcoran indicated that more work is needed to carry out the remaking of New College that DeSantis set in motion.

“We know we’ve got a heavy hill to climb. We intend to. And hopefully, in short order we will be able to report back the tremendous resurgence of the legacy of New College,” Corcoran said.

Also during Thursday’s meeting, the Board of Governors reappointed University of West Florida President Martha Saunders to continue as head of the Pensacola school through the end of 2024.

Saunders has led UWF since 2017.

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