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Harvard vice provost to be next FSU president

Richard McCullough (Courtesy FSU)

The school with longtime ties to the Seminole Tribe has chosen a new president. Richard McCullough was unanimously picked to replace retiring Florida State University president John Thrasher by the FSU Board of Trustees.

The school announced the decision May 24. Thrasher has been president of the Tallahassee school since 2014.

McCullough, a Harvard University vice provost for research since 2012, was among three finalists vying for the position. He is also a professor of materials science and engineering at Harvard. McCullough previously earned a Ph.D. in engineering from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and served as vice president for research at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. He also is cofounder and chairman of Liquid X, a company that produces particle-free ink formulas.

The other two finalists were Robert Blouin, executive vice chancellor and provost at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and Giovanni Piedimonte, vice president for research at Tulane University.

McCullough’s appointment still needs to be approved by the state university system’s Board of Governors, which is scheduled to meet June 23.

“Public universities are amazing engines of social change and mobility, and FSU is leading the way in that effort,” McCullough said in a statement.

McCullough is from Mesquite, Texas. He’ll be joined in Florida by his wife, Jai Vartikar, and two children, Jason and Dylan.

Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at