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P.C. prez not bound for Florida

Peninsula College president Thomas Keegan is staying put.

The St. Petersburg College’s board of trustees selected William Law Jr., Tallahassee Community College president for the past eight years, to take over their school’s top administrative job April 13.

Keegan was one of a pool of 25 applicants that the St. Petersburg College’s president search committee narrowed to four.

Other finalists were Paula Marie Gastenveld, assistant to the chancellor of the Kentucky Community and Technical College System; and B. Kaye Walter, executive vice president of Valencia Community in Orlando.

According to the St. Petersburg Times, the search committee narrowed those four finalists to Law and Keegan, as both garnered 11 trustee votes in the selection process, more than double any other candidate.

“(Law) is tried and true,” trustee W. Richard Johnston told the Times.

Keegan said he called the St. Petersburg College position a “unique opportunity” but said he wasn’t looking to leave the area.

“I love being president of Peninsula College,” Keegan said. “I’m very much supported by the faculty and the staff. I love what I do here.”

Keegan got a chance for an official three-day visit to the school at the end of March and early April. He called the area surrounding St. Petersburg College a “different” type of community, particularly with multiple branches throughout the region.

“Nine campuses give you nine different perspectives,” Keegan said.

Mike O’Keefe, spokesman for St. Petersburg College, said the five-member board of trustees was split in their choice of candidates — three for Law, two for Keegan — before unanimously voting for Law.

“They felt that Dr. Law was a safe choice; he’s been in Tallahassee for eight years and he’s familiar with the state legislative process and (Florida’s) higher education. It a very narrow vote.”

The selection process began on September of 2009. O’Keefe said the seven-month-long search for a new president wasn’t usual or unusual because “the last time we did it was thirty-one years ago.”

St. Petersburg is a large community college that, like Peninsula College, is expanding its class offerings to include baccalaureate degrees.

St. Petersburg College YouTube interview with Thomas Keegan

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