University of South Carolina Provost Michael Amiridis, the No. 2 official at the state flagship school, has applied to become president at Florida State University.
Amiridis’ said in a letter submitted to Florida State’s search committee that a consultant hired by the school approached him about applying to succeed Eric Barron. He is one of 39 applicants, according to Florida State’s presidential search web page. Amiridis submitted his resume Tuesday, which was the last day applications were due.
Amiridis declined comment Wednesday. However, he said in the letter to Florida State that after five years in USC’s provost office that he collected experiences to lead a school like Florida State -- even remarking “it is very difficult for me to imagine a complete campus experience without a vibrant athletics program.”
“I ... believe that the great similarities between our two institutions in terms of their sizes and comprehensive nature, research awards and classification, rankings and desire to move up, development targets and athletic aspirations will help me come prepared to this new position and hit the ground running,” Amiridis wrote. “I have a lot of respect for the academic success of Florida State University and I strongly believe that it deserves even more national and international recognition than it is currently receiving.”
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Amiridis’ accomplishments from his office in USC’s Osborne Administration Building include: creating an “Academic Dashboard” to rate how the school was performing against its peers; receiving $20 million in funding to add 200 faculty numbers; and developing the online Palmetto College. He earns $323,156 from the state. He also receives a $100,000 annual supplemental pay.
“I strongly believe that academic leaders, regardless of the position they find themselves in ... can only be successful if they view themselves as primus inter pares (first among equals), build consensus around their plans and priorities and lead by example,” Amiridis wrote to the search committee. “My record shows that I have followed such an approach consistently, and in fact, I have requested all others in my organization to do the same.”
Amiridis is facing competition from interim Florida State president Garnett Stokes and an influential Florida state senator, John Thrasher, according to published reports. No timetable for a selection of a new Florida State leader has been announced.
Florida State has 41,000 students -- about 10,000 more than USC’s Columbia campus but less than enrollment for all eight USC campuses combined.
After working in the private sector, Amiridis came to USC as an assistant chemical engineering professor in 1994. He was promoted to chemical engineering department chairman in 2002 and to dean of the College of Engineering and Computing in 2006. He was named provost in 2009 soon after Harris Pastides became president.
He has chemical engineering degree from the Aristotelian University of Thessaloniki in Greece and a doctorate in chemical engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.