University of South Florida


USF Presidential Search Update

Dear USF community,

I want to again thank you for your enthusiasm and trust as we search for USF’s next president. This decision is incredibly important to the future of our university, and we appreciate how much engagement we’ve had with our community over the last seven months, including many of you. From the beginning, your input has been foundational to our search, and it’s the reason we’ve reached an important milestone in the process. 

Today, our search committee met to review our candidate pool and decide which candidates to advance to an interview stage. I am pleased to report that after a review of a diverse candidate pool, our committee selected two qualified individuals to advance to an interview round at the end of this week: Interim President Rhea Law and Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley (U.S. Army, Ret.)

I would like to share a little more information about each of these candidates, as well as share our next steps in the process.

Rhea Law

Rhea Law’s leadership experiences and qualifications are numerous and diverse. A USF alumna, she is the former chief executive officer and chair of the board of Fowler White Boggs, a Florida law firm. She led the merger of Fowler with a national firm, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, in 2014. She is one of the founding members of the USF Board of Trustees, where she spent five years as vice chair and four years as the first and only female chair.

She is also a founding member of the Board of Directors of the USF Law Alumni Society, served as a member of the USF Research Foundation Board and was named a 2018 Distinguished Alumna by the USF Alumni Association. She chaired the Board of Directors for the Health Professions Conferencing Corporation with the USF Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS). In 2018 she was inducted as an honorary member of the USF Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors in recognition of her support of research and innovation at USF. In 2013, she was granted an Honorary Doctor of Medicine Degree from the USF Morsani College of Medicine. She formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Tampa Bay Technology Forum and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute Board of Directors and currently serves on Moffitt’s National Advisory Board.  

Interim President Law earned her undergraduate degree in management from USF, putting herself through school while working as the university research project administrator for the Office of Sponsored Research. She then earned her terminal degree in law at Stetson University College of Law, where she later served as chair of their Board of Overseers, helping to select both a dean of the College of Law and president of the university.

While she initially agreed not to apply for the permanent position, two weeks ago she was invited to do so by our search firm consultant, Alberto Pimentel, following a number of nominations for her candidacy among stakeholders both within the university and across the Tampa Bay region.

Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley (U.S. Army, Ret.)

Lt. Gen. Talley is a senior executive with experience in military, academic, corporate and government positions. He has experience in large-scale organizations, public-private partnerships, national and cybersecurity, environmental and energy sustainability, disaster emergency management, infrastructure resilience, data analytics and technology, R&D and higher education.  

He currently serves as a member of the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition based in Washington D.C., an organization that works to strengthen tools of national security. He also serves as president and CEO of The Public Private Partnership Initiatives (P3i) Group, a management consulting firm for government, business, not-for-profit and academia. His military career included duty in the United States, Korea, Kuwait and Iraq. His service culminated in 2012 when he was appointed to the rank of lieutenant general and to a four-year term as the 32nd chief of Army Reserve & seventh commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve Command – an organization of over 215,000 soldiers and civilians and 134 general officers and executives, with an annual operating budget of $9 billion, and activities in over 30 countries, including all states and territories. He has received numerous medals and awards, including two Army Distinguished Medals and three Bronze Star Medals. He retired from the military in 2016 and was recognized by the U.S. Senate on June 28, 2016, with "Tribute to Lieutenant General Jeffrey W. Talley", as reflected in the congressional record.

Lt. Gen. Talley holds a Ph.D. (Civil and Environmental Engineering) from Carnegie Mellon University, an Executive M.B.A. from the University of Oxford, an M.S.E. (Environmental Engineering and Science) from The Johns Hopkins University, an M.L.A. (Liberal Arts – History/Philosophy) from Washington University in St. Louis, an M.S.S. (Strategic Studies) from the U.S. Army War College, an M.A. (Religious Studies) from Assumption College, and a B.S. (Forestry - Natural Resource Management) from Louisiana State University. He is a registered Professional Engineer (P.E.), a Board-Certified Environmental Engineer (BCEE) in Sustainability, and a Diplomate, Water Resources Engineer (D.WRE).

The Search Committee will interview each of these candidates on Friday, March 4, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. in Traditions Hall, at the Gibbons Alumni Center on the Tampa campus. The interviews will be available via livestream at the USF Presidential Search website.

Following the interviews, the Search Committee will evaluate each candidate and may recommend candidates for further evaluation and interview by the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees will then invite any finalists to participate in town halls on each of our campuses followed by an interview with the Board of Trustees. The Board will evaluate any finalists and may then name the next president, subject to confirmation by the Florida Board of Governors.

As we have done throughout the search process, we will continue to keep you updated. We are deeply grateful for your trust, support and participation.

Thank you, and GO BULLS!


Mike Griffin
Chair, USF Presidential Search Committee
Vice Chair, USF Board of Trustees

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