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Florida Southern College Announces Martin as New President

June 19, 2024 News, Talent Pipeline

Jeremy Martin has been selected as the 18th President of Florida Southern College. He will succeed Anne Kerr, who is retiring after 20 years in the position. 

Martin will start work at Florida Southern on August 1. Originally from Virginia, he was vice president for strategy and innovation at the College of William & Mary. When Martin was a kid, his grandparents retired to Lakeland. He used to come visit them on occasion, so he is already familiar with the area.

Martin’s background is in academic administration. The Florida Southern College board of trustees Chairman Robert Fryer said he has “a proven track record of enhancing student experience (and) institutional growth.” 

In those roles, he was “responsible for enrollment, accomplishment of the strategic plan and marketing and communications,” according to Fryer. He added that Martin’s selection was unanimous. The college’s search committee, Academic Search Inc., considered 151 candidates before recommending Martin to the board. 

Martin earned a Master’s in Business Administration and his doctorate from William & Mary. He also taught courses in higher education, finance and data there. 

At the announcement ceremony, Martin said, “I’m grateful to you for entrusting me with the responsibility to care for and lead this marvelous college.” 

Florida Polytechnic University also recently announced a new president. Dr. G. Devin Stephenson was approved by the Florida Board of Governors to take the place of former president Randy Avent at Florida Poly. So, Martin is the second person to be named a college president in Polk County within a month.

Sean Malott, President & CEO of the Central Florida Development Council, said Martin and Stephenson have proven track records that will build upon the strong leadership of their predecessors.  

“We at the CFDC look forward to working with both new presidents to engage them in the economic development of the county,” Malott said. “With a strong emphasis in STEM-related, business and health science degrees, both colleges play key roles in graduating students into the local talent pipeline.” 

Kerr’s Legacy

Before announcing the new president, Fryer thanked Kerr for her work at the college.  

“Dr. Kerr’s dedication and vision have left an indelible mark on FSC,” he said. “The board of trustees cannot adequately express our gratitude for transforming our college. Her commitment to fostering a dynamic academic community and her unwavering support for students, faculty and staff have profoundly impacted our college.”  

Soon-to-be university president Jeremy Martin shakes hands with current president Anne Kerr (via Ernst Peters/The Ledger)

The board of trustees has named her president emerita. After taking some time off, she will assist the new president in any way possible. She also likely will teach a class on Strategic Leadership. 

During her 20 years as president, Kerr oversaw the addition of 22 buildings and the expansion or renovation of 20 others. But among her biggest accomplishments were three creations: 

  • The recently announced School of Architecture. 
  • The Barney Barnett School of Business and Free Enterprise in 2011. 
  • The Doctor of Physical Therapy degree program in 2019. 

She also increased enrollment to a record 3,300 students and ensured renovations were made to many of Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings. Florida Southern is home to the largest single-site collection of the famed architect’s work.

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