FSU prez candidate: 'If I get here, I will hit the ground walking'
Boston College vice provost for research Kevin Bedell just wrapped up his interview with the search committee seeking a new president for Florida State University. He is the first of three applicants to be interviewed between today and Friday for the job now held by T.K. Wetherell, who is retiring.
Bedell, a physics professor, called FSU "a great place that wants to get better,” and he answered a range of questions about recruitment, graduation rates, fundraising and even athletics.
On faculty: "I want to bring in the best faculty. And when you’re investing in faculty and getting the best students, you’re marketing yourself in a better way and you can go out and secure funding.”
On recruiting students, and diversity: “There’s a whole population of students out there who aren’t going to college, and I’d go after them. I’d look internationally as well.”
On the importance of athletics: “It’s important, and Boston College to me has done a great job with its athletic program. I think having a great legend like Bobby Bowden, this is great for the school. It helps with fundraising, and I’ve seen it. For me, having the game allows us to show off the rest of the college at halftime."
On his anticipated interaction with students: “Well, with university presidents out there raising $1 billion, the chances of actually seeing them float around among students are pretty slim. But I always say if I get here, I will hit the ground walking. Because I can’t go out there and try to raise money unless I know and see what’s going on. I need to understand, and that means talking to students and being out there. So I would be out there, but it would slowly disappear because eventually people would get after me for not raising money.”
On fundraising: He said at Boston College, he lobbied for $10 million in federal funds from D.C. "To me, if you put me in front of someone with $1 million or $10 million, it’s just another zero. They’re all basically the same: they want to see you do something with that, even if it's $50,000 or whatever. You have to respect that.”
Next up: FSU graduate Eric J. Barron, director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The committee interviews him tomorrow at 8 a.m.