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FGCU Narrows Presidential Contenders, Rehwinkel Vasilinda Not Among Them

Mark Foley
Florida legisalture

Outgoing Tallahassee State Representative Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda is not in the list of finalists for the Presidency of Florida Gulf Coast University. It was Rehwinkel Vasilinda’s second try at a university presidency.

Rehwinkel Vasilinda, is a tenured professor at Tallahassee Community College. She put her name into the hat two years ago for Florida State University’s vacancy. Vasilinda was among more than 100 applications to FGCU. She was nominated by former FSU President and state House Speaker T.K. Wetherall. Rehwinkel Vasilinda recently switched her party registration from Democrat to no-party affiliation. She came out in support of President Elect Donald Trump.

Vasilinda said in October she has no immediate interest in jumping back into politics.

“I want to rest a little, but not rest and not work. I want to find work that utilizes the experiences I’ve had the knowledge I’ve gained, because we do gain a lot of knowledge," she said.

Rehwinkel Vasilinda is term-limited out of the legislature this year. She's not the first lawmaker to apply for a state university presidency. Outgoing Sen. Don Gaetz (R-Niceville) failed to get the top job at the University of West Florida, yet FSU President John Thrasher is also a former state Senator and University of North Florida President John Delaney is the former mayor of Jacksonville.

FGCU President Wilson Bradshaw plans to step down in June.

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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