Head of class: Marshall Criser III takes on new role

From boardroom to education board. That’s the course Marshall Criser III took in his new role as chancellor of Florida’s state university system as of Jan. 6.

In business, Criser was in charge of overseeing nearly 15,000 AT&T Florida employees. He had worked for either AT&T or one of its predecessor companies his entire career. Now at the Board of Governors, he leads a staff of less than 60—but has indirect control of the state’s 12 public universities. He will work with the leadership at each university and represent their interests to the governor and state lawmakers. Additionally, he served on the state’s Higher Education Coordinating Council, and was a member of the Scripps Research Institute board, the Florida Council of 100, the Chamber of Commerce board and the Miami Dade College Foundation board. Also, he had been vice chairman of his alma mater University of Florida’s Board of Trustees, a position he vacated.

Criser plans to hold universities responsible for achieving new benchmarks and goals. He doesn’t have an advanced degree and has never worked in education but does have the confidence of Gov. Rick Scott.

“During Marshall’s time as president of AT&T Florida, he demonstrated leadership that will help our students succeed as we work to increase the value in our higher education system,” said Scott in a media release. “Marshall’s background of job creation will provide the vision needed in enhancing our universities’ effectiveness in preparing our students for great careers.”