TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/AP) – Florida’s Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran has been passed over in the hunt for Florida State University’s new president.

The university’s presidential search committee narrowed the choices Saturday to Richard McCullough, Harvard University’s vice president for research; Robert Blouin, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s executive vice chancellor and provost; and Dr. Giovanni Piedimonte, Tulane University’s vice president for research and a professor of pediatrics at its medical school.

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They are candidates to replace John Thrasher, who is retiring after almost seven years in the post.

The committee bypassed Corcoran, a former speaker of the Florida House. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, the accrediting body for higher education institutions in the South, had sent a letter in recent days saying his candidacy posed a possible conflict of interest.

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The committee also rejected the candidacies of two insiders, athletics director David Coburn, and Randy Hanna, dean of its Panama City campus. Also rejected were lawyer Sean Pittman, University of Maryland Vice President Mary Ann Rankin and Michael K. Young, the retired president of Texas A&M University.

Pittman was the only racial minority among the finalists and Rankin the only woman.

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(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

CBSMiami.com Team