FAMU, University of West Florida leaders confirmed


BOCA RATON, Fla. – The state university system's Board of Governors on Thursday unanimously confirmed new presidents for Florida A&M University and the University of West Florida.

The board endorsed Larry Robinson's elevation from his faculty position as a "distinguished" professor to become Florida A&M's interim president.

The FAMU trustees, after refusing to extend Elmira Mangum's contract as the president in September, selected Robinson to serve as the interim leader, with his one-year contract running through September 2017.

Robinson, who has doctorate in nuclear chemistry, previously served as FAMU's interim president from 2012 to 2014 as well as in 2007. Robinson will earn a base salary of $385,000 with a monthly housing and car allowance of $4,700.

The Board of Governors, which met in Boca Raton, also confirmed Martha Saunders, provost of the University of West Florida, as the Pensacola school's president.

On Jan. 1, Saunders, who previously served as president of the University of Southern Mississippi, will replace outgoing President Judy Bense. Saunders, who has a doctorate in communications theory, will be paid a base salary of $331,000 under the three-year contract, with $38,000 for an annual housing and car allowance. Saunders will also receive $63,000 in deferred compensation each year and will be eligible for up to a $67,000 annual bonus linked to improvements in the university's performance.

A majority of the university's board of trustees selected Saunders as the school's sixth president in September, with other trustees favoring former Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.

Florida Gulf Coast University is in the process of selecting a new president, with the school's board of trustees expected to pick a new leader before the end of the year.