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FSU president-elect preparing to lead

Richard McCullough would serve as university’s 16th president
Posted at 5:29 PM, May 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-28 08:06:02-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Dr. Richard McCullough's said he’s incredibly excited and a little stunned at being chosen as Florida State University’s next president.

The University's Board of Trustees voted for him Monday. McCullough was chosen to replace John Thrasher. Thrasher is retiring.

“I just can't wait to get there and get to work. Although, I am working already,” McCullough told ABC 27 in a one-on-one interview Thursday.

The full interview can be found below:


Before he was chosen, some people raised concerns about transparency in the process of selecting candidates for the job. We asked McCullough if he thought the process was open and transparent enough. “I don't see how it could've been more open. Everything that I ever said was on video for everyone to see,” he said.

McCullough is vice provost for research at Harvard University. Throughout his career, he's worked to create a diverse pipeline of black academics. He founded the Diverse Leaders of Tomorrow, an annual workshop that helps diverse postdoctoral fellows and students get academic jobs.

When it comes to bringing more diversity to FSU, he said, “they graduate in the top number of black Ph.D. students in engineering. I see that as a great possibility. I talked with the FAMU president. I think that's an area where we could be top five in the nation.”

He also talked about plans to build on the legacy the current president, Thrasher, has built over the years. He said he hopes to continue to improve, recruit and retain the best faculty they can get at FSU.

Now he's ready to invest in the university as much as the school and city are preparing to invest in him.

“I was educated in public universities and grew up in modest means,” McCullough shared. “Without public universities, I wouldn't have been able to get to where I am today.”

When it comes to Noles athletics, he added, “it's going to be a great year for the football team. The men's baseball team has a lot of momentum, and then the women's programs. There's almost a national championship in every sport.”

McCullough still needs final approval from the Florida Board of Governors, which meets on June 23.