FIU names Kenneth Jessell as the university's next president

The Florida International University Board of Trustees Monday selected Kenneth Jessell, the interim president, as the university’s next president with a compensation package of nearly $1 million. “I’m very emotional,” said Jessell, 67, right after he got picked. “It’s a little bittersweet because I lost my mother on Friday.” The FIU Board of Trustees unanimously voted to name Jessell as FIU’s sixth president. The board also signed off on an annual base salary of $650,000 and a performance-based bonus of $175,000. His total compensation package came out to $996,081 — just under $1 million, despite two trustees who wanted to raise it to over $1 million.

The Florida Board of Governors must confirm the appointment, likely during its Nov. 9-10 meeting at the University of South Florida in Tampa. At that point, Jessell would become the top executive of the largest public university in South Florida, managing about 56,000 students and about 8,000 faculty and staff.

Although the last stretch of the process turned predictable once the FIU Presidential Search Committee advanced him as the lone candidate for the post, Jessell said he never expected any of it. “I was not intending to be here,” he said Monday during the Board of Trustees meeting.

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