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CSULB President Withdraws Bid for Florida Job : Education: Curtis L. McCray is said to have been a prime candidate for Florida State University presidency.


LONG BEACH — Curtis L. McCray, the president of Cal State Long Beach, has withdrawn his application for the presidency of Florida State University, after deciding during a recent two-day visit to the campus that its setting is too rural.

"I began to think about where and what it is," McCray said of the 28,600-student university in Tallahassee. "What one does is size himself and his assets up, and not everyone fits every institution."

McCray, 53, had been invited to apply for the position last month. At the time, McCray said he viewed the move as a step up professionally because of the Florida university's "complexity" compared to that of the Long Beach campus, where he has been president since 1988. Florida State University's current president, Bernard F. Sliger, has announced his resignation, effective in August, after a term of 14 years.

McCray had two interviews with a selection committee at Florida State, and emerged as a strong candidate, said Gerry Gilmer, assistant to the president for university relations. "I felt that he was a prime candidate. I was surprised when he dropped out," Gilmer said.

The CSULB president was selected as one of six finalists for the Florida State position, although some members of the selection committee questioned his academic publishing record, Gilmer said.

McCray says he began having second thoughts about the move after comparing the Florida campus, which he described as "residential and rural," to the 34,000-student Long Beach campus, which he characterized as "urban, robust and alive."

"I began thinking about why I came to California," he said. "We're really the bellwether of California and California is the bellwether of the nation. There's something about that I like."

McCray said he intends to spend the next several months focusing on CSULB's financial situation, which may necessitate budget cuts during the coming fiscal year.

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