Florida Board of Governors approves McCullough for FSU President

Florida Board of Governors approves McCullough for FSU President
Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 12:11 PM EDT
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WCTV) – Florida’s Board of Governors Wednesday approved Richard McCullough by unanimous vote as the 16th President of Florida State University.

“He’s an experienced academic, strategic administrator, and entrepreneur,” FSU Board Chair Ed Burr told the Board of Governors as he introduced McCullough prior to the vote, “We saw Rick embrace the dreams and aspirations of FSU and the people who make it so unique.”

“The more I learned about all the amazing things (at FSU) to make it such an amazing place on a fast rise, I became very interested in the possibility,” McCullough said to the board, talking about the welcoming culture at FSU that he said feels like a family.

“I want this job. I really want to be a part of this,” he told the board, which was meeting at the University of South Florida in St. Petersburg.

McCullough outlined the priorities he’ll focus on as he takes over at Florida State,, including keeping public education affordable, recruiting the best faculty, and engaging with students. He also reiterated his background in research, a priority for growth at FSU as the university sets a goal of climbing into the top 10 public universities nationwide.

“There’s work to be done providing the infrastructure for faculty to be as successful as they can,” said McCullough, “Florida State is really poised to make the next jump,” he told the board.

The incoming university president noted his first day on campus will be August 16.

McCullough comes to FSU after serving as the Vice Provost for Research and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Harvard University since 2012.

Prior to his time at Harvard, he spent 31 years at Carnegie Mellon University, starting as an assistant chemistry professor in 1990 and leaving the university after spending five years as CMU’s Vice President for Research.

McCullough will replace John Thrasher, the former Florida lawmaker who became FSU President in 2014 and “set a high bar” for the position, according to board members. The Board of Governors thanked Thrasher for his service, applauded him for the advancements at FSU, and wished him well in his retirement.

Below, you’ll find information regarding McCullough’s contract with FSU:

  • 5-year employment contract term beginning August 16, 2021
  • Proposed base salary of $700,000
  • Car allowance of $1,000 per month
  • Startup package and signing bonus for moving expenses
  • Standard University benefits (health, disability, life, retirement)
  • 25% of base salary for retirement/deferred compensation
  • Requirement to reside in the University-owned President’s house
  • Provides for annual performance bonus up to $150,000
  • Provides for retention payment of $500,000 after completion of 5 years
  • Allows for termination with or without cause
  • Requires 90 days’ notice of resignation
  • Appointment as Full Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences


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