University of South Florida


Graphic says, "University of South Florida Presidential Search"

Two candidates for USF president advance to search committee interviews on March 4

Two candidates for the University of South Florida’s presidency have advanced to interviews with the USF Presidential Search Committee. In a meeting Tuesday, the committee decided to move forward with Rhea Law, USF’s interim president, and Jeffrey Talley, a senior executive with military, academic, corporate and government experience. Both Law and Talley are set to participate in in-person interviews 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 (BOT). The BOT will then invite any finalists to participate in town halls on each of USF’s campuses followed by an interview with the BOT. The Board will evaluate any finalists and may then name the next president, subject to confirmation by the Florida Board of Governors.

Below are bios for each candidate:

Rhea Law

Headshot of Rhea Law standing outside

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.

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.

Jeffrey Talley

Headshot of Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley with a bookcase and American flag behind him

Jeffrey 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 and 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.

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). 

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