New College’s new trustees hand interim president pretty purse

The school's DeSantis-appointed board voted almost unanimously to double the interim president's salary over Patricia Okker, the school's previous president they terminated.

New College of Florida’s interim president will be making double the salary of his predecessor, the school’s board of trustees voted this week.

Richard Corcoran will receive a $699,000 base salary plus an annual housing stipend of $84,000. The school’s recently fired president Patricia Okker had a base salary of $305,000 and a $40,000 housing stipend.

The approved salary is the most recent move made by the board’s newly conservative majority, which swiftly voted to oust Okker less than a month ago in what she passionately described as a “hostile takeover.”

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who appointed the six new trustees, identified New College as a school plagued by critical race theory and an unhealthy pledge to diversity, equity, and inclusion, which is a much broader war he promises to wage across the rest of the state.

With Corcoran’s experience as Florida’s education commissioner and House speaker, DeSantis appointee and board chair Debra Jenks believes he is the perfect person to remedy the school’s issues.

“Richard Corcoran has a background in education, in higher education. He also has political ties to help us secure necessary funding for the school,” she said. “He will be the person who can take us from where we are now to where we need to be.”

Student trustee Grace Keenan was the only one to not vote in favor for the salary hike. She cited the salary’s potential financial burden on the school, considering that it will be almost half a million dollars more than New College’s next highest-paid employee.

Corcoran looked into the president job at Florida State University in 2021 but didn’t make it past the first round of interviews. He was most recently on Florida’s board of governors before resigning to take the interim presidency at New College.

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Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel
Alcino Donadel is a UB staff writer and Florida Gator alumnus. A graduate in journalism and communications, his beats have ranged from Gainesville's city development, music scene, and regional little league sports divisions. He has triple citizenship from the U.S., Ecuador, and Brazil.

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