Charlie Reed, outspoken higher education leader, is dead at 75
Charlie Reed, an outspoken leader of Florida's higher education system who left for a similar post in California in 1998 and returned to Tallahassee, has died. He was 75 and was one of the nation's most widely respected educational leaders.
When Reed retired in California four years ago, the Los Angeles Times offered an assessment of what it called a mixed legacy of an educator who acknowledged he could be blunt, bullheaded and a workaholic. After enduring massive higher education spending cuts during the Great Recession of 2008-09, Reed said: "What I've seen is a lack of political will and a lack of political leadership in California."
Reed had similar sentiments about the Florida Legislature under both Democratic and Republican leadership. He delivered a memorable speech five years ago to the Council of 100 in which he criticized Florida's system as "splintered," and he excoriated political leaders for creating Florida Poiytechnic University in Lakeland.
In 2007, Reed addressed the LeRoy Collins Institute in Tallahassee and offered a critique of what he said was a grossly underfunded university system. "Florida has a motto: We're cheap and we're proud of it," Reed said.
A Pennsylvania native, Reed served as chief of staff to Democratic Gov. Bob Graham in 1984-85 before he took command of the Florida university system.
The Orange County Register has more on Reed's record as chancellor in California, which was marked by a major expansion of the system, tuition increases and a series of budget problems that preceded the recall of former Gov. Gray Davis.