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Florida State University

Florida State trustees select firm to conduct presidential search

Jim Smith

The Florida State University Board of Trustees has hired Academic Search Inc. to assist the university in its search for a successor to President T.K. Wetherell who in June announced his resignation.

The university will pay Academic Search $75,000 to conduct the presidential search, which will be led by John Hicks, a senior consultant with the Washington, D.C., firm.

The Presidential Search Planning Committee, chaired by FSU General Counsel Betty Steffens, recommended trustees hire Academic Search after considering eight national search firms. The firm has assisted Florida State in the past with its searches for the deans of the university's colleges of business and medicine.

"They know where to go to find good and qualified candidates," said Joyce Ingram, assistant vice president and chief human resources officer, who also serves on the Presidential Search Planning Committee.

Trustee Chairman Jim Smith also expressed a high comfort level with the firm given its familiarity with the university during today's conference call meeting of the trustees. While the presidential search is expected to get under way in the coming weeks, trustees did not establish a time frame for selecting the next president.

"We're going to take our time," Smith said, explaining that finding the right candidate will dictate the timetable.

The ideal candidate, Smith said, will have outstanding academic credentials and be a proven fund-raiser capable of helping the university succeed in a $1 billion capital campaign. He suggested the search firm first conduct a "sweep" of the Association of American Universities, which is made of the nation's leading research universities, to see if there are any provosts — or perhaps even a president — who would be interested in the FSU job.

Members of the public may email their comments or suggestions for qualifications for potential candidates to Comments and other news related to the presidential search will be posted at

Smith also said a search advisory committee, which will include students, faculty, staff and members of the community, will likely be established before the trustees' next meeting in September.