Finalist to be USF St. Pete's leader drops out
Updated 11:50 a.m.
One of three finalists to be chancellor of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg accepted a job offer in Texas after weeks of radio silence from USFSP, he told Gradebook.
"I hadn't heard from them so I thought they were no longer interested," Ronald Brown, the current provost of Wayne State University, said in a phone interview.
It's unclear if someone else has been offered the top job at St. Pete. Of the remaining two finalists, one said Thursday he hadn't heard anything from the university, either. But the third candidate, Penn State Brandywhine Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska, declined an interview Wednesday evening after initially agreeing to one on Monday.
Brown told Gradebook that he has accepted an offer to be the president of the University of North Texas at Dallas. The offer was first reported by Texas newspapers in late February. Brown said he did not tell USFSP that he had decided to accept the offer.
"The South Florida [situation], I just didn't know what was going on there," said Brown, adding that he had not heard from USFSP officials since his February campus visit. "It was an interesting place and I think it has a lot of potential but I just didn't know what was going on there. Who knows?"
Tom Scherberger, a spokesman for USFSP, did not return phone calls or respond to emails Thursday. Earlier in the week, he said he was unaware as to whether an offer had been made. He had also been unaware that Brown had accepted an offer elsewhere.
Brown's bow-out leaves two finalists as USF President Judy Genshaft weighs the final decision, although she's not obligated to pick either one of them.
Ralph Rogers, the vice chancellor for academic affairs and a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University Calumet, told Gradebook that he also had heard nothing from USFSP since his campus visit.
On Wednesday evening, Wisniewska declined an interview with the Gradebook. "I cannot grant you a request for an interview now," she wrote in an email. "I do look forward to speaking with you in the near future."
We'll update this post if more information becomes available.