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Front Page » Top Stories » Pool Of 80 Shrinks To 3 Candidates For Florida Memorial University Presidency

Pool Of 80 Shrinks To 3 Candidates For Florida Memorial University Presidency

Written by on May 13, 2010

By Jacquelyn Weiner
Out of a pool of 80, it’s down to three candidates for Florida Memorial University’s next president.

Drs. Lawrence Davenport, Stacey Franklin Jones and Lester C. Newman remain in the running — all from out of state.

Florida Memorial’s Board of Trustees is to name its selection in June.

The three remaining candidates for the private, historically Black school’s presidency were deemed "the most qualified" by a presidential search committee, Charles W. George, chairman of the school’s trustees, wrote in an e-mail.

"We’re looking for great leadership and someone with the right vision," he wrote.

Qualities sought include fundraising and strategic-planning experience, an academic background, "someone who can work well with a diverse community and someone with great fiscal integrity," he wrote.

The search for a president began after former head Dr. Karl S. Wright left in August 2009. He’d been with the university since July 2006.

Provost Sandra T. Thompson has been interim president.

Executive search firm Ayers & Associates was hired in December to list potential candidates, according to a news release.

From that list, a search committee appointed by the board of trustees narrowed the list to top prospects for on-campus visits.

The three remaining candidates all have education backgrounds and 24-and-up years of professional experience, although none currently heads a university.

Dr. Davenport is executive vice president of Neher & Associates, an executive search firm in Sacramento, CA.

His more than 30 years of administrative experience in education include serving as chief operating officer at Florida Atlantic University and assistant secretary for elementary and secondary education for the US Department of Education in Washington.

Dr. Franklin Jones is a senior vice president at Benedict College in South Carolina. Her 24 years in the corporate and education fields include serving as director of engineering at Futron Corp. and adjunct research faculty at Johns Hopkins University’s computer science department.

Dr. Newman, vice president for academic affairs at Lane College in Tennessee, has more than 30 years in higher education. He has served as a university president nine years, a higher education consultant and vice president for academic affairs at Johnson C. Smith University in North Carolina and at Shelby State Community College in Tennessee.

Located in Miami Gardens, Florida Memorial University was founded in 1879. The school is a product of a 1941 merger between the Florida Baptist Institute, established in Live Oak in 1879, according to Florida Memorial’s Web site, and the Florida Baptist Academy, established in Jacksonville in 1892.

The institution moved to its current home in 1968 under the name Florida Memorial College and became Florida Memorial University in 2006, today offering 41 undergraduate degree programs.

More than 1,900 undergraduate students attend the school, according to