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Business Observer Tuesday, Mar. 29, 2022 4 months ago

State education board to consider university’s choice for next president

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University of South Florida Interim President Rhea has been tapped to lead the institution on a permanent basis.

TAMPA — The Florida Board of Governors, the organization that oversees the state university system, will vote this week on whether to confirm Rhea Law as the University of South Florida’s next president.

Law, a prominent Tampa attorney and business leader, has been serving as USF’s interim president since August, when she filled the vacancy created by former President Steve Currall’s unexpected retirement. Last week, the USF Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of her taking the job on a full-time, permanent basis. The other finalist for the post was Jeffrey Talley, a former U.S. Army lieutenant general who transitioned to a career in management consulting after he retired from the military in 2016.

Rhea law is the USF Board of Trustees' pick to be the university's next president. She's held the job on an interim basis since August 2021. (Courtesy photo)

If confirmed, Law will be the first USF alumnus to serve as president of the university.

“Over the last seven months serving as interim president, I have been inspired and energized by the unwavering commitment of our University of South Florida community,” Law states in a news release. “Our faculty, staff, students and supporters have a passion for making a difference and changing the world, and it is this passion that will take USF to its greatest chapter yet.”

Law was the CEO and chair of law firm Fowler White Boggs and helped lead its merger with Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in 2014. In addition to her distinguished legal career, she has held top leadership positions with the Florida Council of 100, Tampa Bay Partnership, Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, USF and Stetson University College of Law, among other organizations.

USF Board of Trustees Vice Chair Will Weatherford, managing partner of Tampa-based investment firm Weatherford Capital and a former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, praised the selection of Law as USF’s next leader.

“Rhea Law is the right leader at the right time for the University of South Florida,” Weatherford states in the release. “From her time as a student, to becoming a staff member, to later serving as chair of the board of trustees, she has contributed to the university’s success from nearly every vantage point, and brings an unrivaled, comprehensive perspective on USF’s trajectory. It would be hard to find anyone with a deeper passion and love for USF than Rhea Law.”

At its meeting in Jacksonville on Wednesday, the Florida Board of Governors will interview Law and hold a confirmation vote.

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