Among the college presidents to come and go in the past two weeks, two positions were indirectly decided by Gov. Ron DeSantis and his plan to re-envision education in Florida. Among the slate of presidents to announce their plans to retire in the next year, all three double as school alumni.
Richard Corcoran – New College of Florida
Richard Corcoran has officially become the permanent president of New College of Florida after serving as interim president since January. He came into power at the small liberal arts school after a DeSantis-backed overhaul of the Board of Trustees ousted former President Patricia Okker.
New College cannot escape a litany of controversy since the newly formed leadership took over. The leadership’s conservative approach axed its DEI office and has flooded the school with intercollegiate athletics, displacing legacy upperclassmen. Faculty trustee Amy Reid reported that 40% of its faculty have left this year.
Despite the abrupt upheaval and its ramifications, Reid and student body president Grace Keenan were the only trustees to vote against Corcoran’s permanent hire. Corcoran won out against two other presidential prospects with extensive experience in academia.
“The reason that I would lean toward … Interim President Corcoran is because of the special circumstances here, the external issues, the political issues, the contacts in Tallahassee,” board member Mark Bauerlein said, according to Axios.
Melissa Gilliam – Boston University (Mass.)
Beginning July 2024, Melissa Gilliam will become Boston University’s first Black and female president as she reaches a new milestone in her career in higher education, championing student support and diversity.
Gilliam currently serves as the executive vice president and provost at The Ohio State University, an institution whose student population doubles that of BU. She’s held her position there for the last two years.
The bulk of her career in higher education comes from her 16 years at the University of Chicago. Beginning as a professor of obstetrics and gynecology, she then went on to become the associate dean of diversity and inclusion for BU’s biological sciences division. Her knack for leadership truly shined as she founded and led its Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health.
As a champion of diversity in the STEM space, Gilliam’s education proves she is well-grounded in the liberal arts thanks to her upbringing, according to BU. She studied English literature at Yale and got her Master of Arts in philosophy and politics from the University of Oxford.
Kim Mooney – Franklin Pierce University (N.H.)
Kim Mooney will be stepping down from the top of the ladder of Franklin Pierce University’s leadership after spending a significant portion of her life dedicated to the private New Hampshire university.
Mooney is the first alumna and woman to have ever become the school’s president, a position she held for eight years. She had spent 16 years at the school, also serving as provost and vice president for academic affairs.
She will be credited for tripling the university’s endowment, establishing a diversity, equity and inclusion office and forming a comprehensive internal communications team.
Deborah Curtis – Indiana State University
Indiana State University’s Deborah Curtis announced she is stepping down from the presidency in 2024, a year before her contract expires in 2018. Her current tenure sits at five years.
Curtis, who also gained her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Indiana State, oversaw the university’s largest state-funded capital project with building renovations totaling $100, Inside Indiana Business reports. She also helped the school achieve a historic fundraising milestone with its 2025 Be So BOLD campaign.
Curtis has also been challenged with making difficult decisions amid enrollment declines and declining tuition revenue, including $12 million in budget cuts last year.
Harold L. Martin, Sr. – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
After serving as president of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T) for 14 years and working for the school for 35 years, Harold L. Martin, Sr. is calling it a job well done.
Not only did Martin begin his lengthy career at N.C. A&T as an engineering professor, he is also the first school alum to lead the university, exemplifying his deep ties to the university.
His loyalty to the N.C. A&T’s mission proved decisive in its subsequent growth; it is the leading producer of Black STEM graduates and its reputation as one of the fastest-growing HBCUs in the nation has led to it becoming one of the most prominent historically Black universities as well.
Gregory Haile – Broward College (Fla.)
Despite initially refusing it, Broward College’s Board of Trustees has finally accepted the letter of resignation of Gregory Haile.
Catalyzing Haile’s decision to resign was the three Gov. DeSantis’-backed trustees appointed among the board’s five spots. He said the “time is now” for a transition in leadership in his letter of resignation.
Broward College has experienced a turbulent interim president selection process in the wake of Haile’s resignation.
Glenn Sulmasy – Nichols College (Mass.)
Nicholas College President Glenn Sulmasy has decided to step down amid an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations from his time teaching at the Coast Guard Academy a decade ago.
CNN revealed that Sulmasy, a retired Coast Guard captain, had been accused of engaging in “flirtatious” and “inappropriate” communications with a former cadet in 2013 and verbally harassed another in 2011.