USF Interim President Rhea Law and retired U.S. Army Lt. General Jeffrey Talley sat before the presidential search committee on Friday to make their case for the position.
The comparison in future leadership became a conversation among board members of what could be versus what they already have.
In a unanimous decision, Law proceeded to the next round in the selection process under the board’s confidence of what she has already done in the past seven months as interim president.
Not so convincingly, Talley pulled through alongside Law with a simple majority, leaving some board members skeptical of his ability to connect with the USF community.
Both candidates in the next phase will visit the campuses and interview with the Board of Trustees. Read more on how each of their interviews went below.
Interim President Rhea Law made it clear in her Friday interview with the presidential search committee that her qualification for the office is founded upon the construction and momentum she has already generated to execute the goals of the university’s five-year strategic plan.
The plan was a product of a hand-picked committee curated by Law and was approved in December.
“I came in [as interim president], put together a committee and they worked so hard and came up with what I think is the roadmap to the future,” Law said.
“That’s the bedrock where we are as an educational institution, it’s our job to make sure that we get students what they need, tools, the education, the support, the encouragement across support, the connections and networking all those things are important for them to be successful.”
In hopes of winning over the Presidential Search Committee members, retired U.S. Army Lt. General Jeffrey Talley demonstrated his qualifications for the USF presidential position through anecdotes and examples from his career.
An overarching theme in his responses reflected what he has accomplished as a leader in varying sectors, including business and education. Talley referenced times of collaboration and leadership, such as the groups he led as a general, to emphasize the importance of partnerships.
He outlined that he was always working with members of Congress as well as local government leaders, but Talley said the powerful influences he saw were the Army Reserve soldiers who lived and worked in their communities.
“What makes them powerful to America was … that they were a business leader, an academic, community civic leader and so it was expected and I think appropriate that I engaged directly with … about 10,000 soldiers,” he said.