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Florida’s competitive advantage in higher Education
The Wall Street Journal has opined that the next financial crisis in the United States will be student loan debt. The implication is that the cost is too high; but John Thrasher believes Florida has a competitive advantage in higher education that will enable us to weather that crisis.
ABOUT THE SPEAKER
- John Thrasher became the 15th president of Florida State University in November 2014 following a successful career as a state legislator, businessman, lawyer and lobbyist.
- As president, Thrasher has focused his efforts on elevating FSU’s reputation as a preeminent research institution and has led the university to recognition as one of the nation’s Top 20 public universities. In addition, he has presided over a $1 billion fundraising campaign, advanced the university’s academic and research mission, championed diversity and inclusion, and welcomed the best and brightest students in the university’s history.
- An FSU alumnus, Thrasher earned a bachelor’s degree in business in 1965. After graduating, he joined the U.S. Army where he received the Army Commendation Medal in Germany and was awarded two Bronze Stars for his service in Vietnam. He was honorably discharged as a captain in 1970. Thrasher then returned to his alma mater to earn a law degree with honors in 1972.
- After working in private law practice in Daytona Beach and Tallahassee for several years, Thrasher returned to Jacksonville to serve as general counsel of the Florida Medical Association, a position he held for 20 years. He also served as “of counsel” to the Jacksonville law firm of Smith, Hulsey & Busey from 1996 to 2008. Thrasher was a partner of Southern Strategy Group, a Tallahassee-based governmental relations firm, from 2001 to 2009.
- Thrasher’s political career began in 1986 when he was elected to the Clay County School Board where he served as vice chairman, then chairman. He then became a state representative in 1992, and he was re-elected without opposition in 1994, 1996 and 1998. Thrasher was unanimously elected as the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives in 1998. He was a key supporter of legislation that brought funding to the development of FSU’s College of Medicine, and a building at the college is named in his honor.
- He was elected to the Florida Senate in 2009 and subsequently re-elected. He served in the Senate until he was named president of FSU in 2014.
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