The Florida Board of Governors unanimously voted to appoint Ray Rodrigues as the chancellor of the State University System of Florida. The move means a political ally of Republican governor Ron DeSantis is now at the helm of the public system comprised of 12 universities.
The hire, made official by a board vote Wednesday, elevates Rodrigues to the top of the state system after a career split between the corporate world and higher education. Rodrigues spent 16 years at Florida Gulf Coast University, most recently as director of interagency partnerships.
Rodrigues, a Republican, also spent 10 years in the Florida House and Senate, where he sponsored legislation to require surveys about intellectual freedom and viewpoint diversity, and to reshape tenure in the state. Those plans, though hailed by DeSantis, have been controversial among Florida academics.
Rodrigues will replace the retiring chancellor, Marshall Criser.