FGCU Announces Presidential Search Finalists


Gabriella Lopez

Former presidential finalists Dr. Robert Gregerson, Dr. Susana Rivera-Mills and Dr. Tod Laursen.

Hayley Lemery, Assignment & Features Editor

The Presidential Search Advisory Committee has been searching for the university’s fifth president ahead of FGCU’s current president, Dr. Michael Martin’s retirement set for the end of 2022.

On Sept. 26, three presidential finalists were announced to students and staff members and will advance to the FGCU Board of Trustees for hiring consideration.

The finalists are Dr. Robert G. Gregerson, Dr. Tod A. Laursen and Dr. Susana V. Rivera-Mills. FGCU’s website has a presidential finalist webpage where the cover letters and resumes of the finalists are posted.

Public forums for the finalists will be held on Oct. 28, Oct. 30, and Nov. 1. Details about their campus visit will be announced on FGCU’s website.

Dr. Robert G. Gregerson
Dr. Gregerson has been the president of the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg since July 2019 where he is a professor of biology.

Dr. Gergerson got his start in higher education as a research geneticist at the University of Minnesota in the early ‘90s. Serving as an associate professor at Lynn College and department head and a dean at Armstrong Atlantic State University, Dr. Gregerson has had a wide range of appointments during his tenure.

“Promoting the institution and building relationships is a vital aspect of presidential leadership,” Dr. Gregerson wrote in his cover letter. “Making connections, cultivating relationships, and working to promote my institution has been a fundamental aspect of my work.”

He made his way down to FGCU and was the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of biology from 2014 to 2019. He was the acting provost and vice president for academic affairs through Oct. to Dec. in 2017.

Dr. Tod A. Laursen
Dr. Laursen has been the acting president of SUNY Polytechnic Institute, the largest comprehensive state system of higher education in the US, since 2021. With a background in engineering, he emphasized the opportunity for integrated research in his cover letter.

“My instinct has always been toward reaching across disciplinary boundaries in both scholarship and administrative assignments,” Dr. Laursen wrote.

His significant administrative appointments begin in 2003, where he served as the senior associate dean for education at the Pratt School of Engineering at Duke University.

From 2010 to 2017, Dr. Laursen was the founding president of Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

“It is clear to me from the profile that FGCU prides itself on the quality of the student experience,” Dr. Laursen wrote. “This student-centric approach greatly appeals to me, as without question, a major source of satisfaction throughout my career has been the opportunity at multiple institutions to be an active campus community member.”

From 2018 to 2020, he was the provost and senior vice chancellor at State University of New York.

Dr. Susana V. Rivera-Mills
Dr. Rivera-Mills has been the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Ball State University since 2018. With an extensive education and career in language studies dating back to the ‘90s, she has worked with a vast network of minority communities.

“My career has been dedicated to increasing access to higher education and to preparing students to be leaders who live meaningful lives, and are inter-culturally competent and civically engaged,” Dr. Rivera-Mills wrote in her cover letter. “In particular, my work reflects my commitment to promoting and advancing diversity, and to equalizing student access and success through inclusive excellence.”

She was the interim director for student success and diversity advancement in the College of Liberal Arts from 2010 to 2011 and the interim director and founder of the center for latino/a studies and engagement from 2011 to 2013.

From 2011 to 2013, Dr. River-Mills was the associate dean for the College of Liberal Arts and the executive associate dean from 2013 to 2015. She then moved to the Division of Undergraduate Studies as the vice provost and dean for undergraduate studies from 2015 to 2017.

As FGCU approaches the public forums and the final selection, Eagle News will be covering the process. Be sure to visit eaglenews.org for coverage.