Piedimonte thinks he would bring something different to FSU


Dr. Giovanni Piedimonte told attendees at Florida State University (FSU) Presidential Candidates Forums that he brought something different to FSU.

He said he brought what FSU was lacking – 30 years in specific environments such as biomedical, engineering, advanced computing, artificial intelligence and environmental science, which he said are insufficient at FSU.

“I’ve been in these areas my whole life. I specialized in the specific areas where FSU needs to develop, ”he said.

The state of Florida has expressed a desire to move from the top 20 to the top 10 universities in the country. He also aspires to become a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities.

To achieve these goals, the university must focus on areas where federal research funding is shifted, he said.

As Vice President of Research at Tulane since September 2019, Piedimonte has overseen the university’s many research programs and in doing so has brought in millions of research dollars, including funding from the National Institute. of health (NIH).

An internationally renowned pediatric physician, Piedimonte is also a professor of pediatric medicine at Tulane. His pre-Tulane experience includes multiple leadership roles in hospital administration, research and teaching at the Cleveland Clinic as well as positions at Case Western Reserve University, West Virginia State University and as Chief of the pediatric pulmonology at the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami.

But he assured faculty and students that a more intense effort in areas of FSU’s current weaknesses, does not mean sacrificing areas in which FSU is strong, such as the humanities.

“I’m absolutely not saying that the biomedical is more important than the humanities, absolutely not,” he said. “The goal is to develop areas that need help. Raising more money from NIH will make more money for the university. “

He said that as a physician he believed in the doctrine of “do no harm”. He said that if he became president of the university, he would not interfere with the strong programs of FSU. It will “nurture the core of excellence” and “add the necessary components so that FSU has more resources, more opportunities for its students, a better environment to learn and find jobs.”

Piedimonte said, “The world is changing at an unprecedented rate” and FSU must be positioned for what the world will be like 10 years from now, not just where it is now.

He said his approach was a lot like that of hockey legend Wayne Gretskey who said, “Don’t look at where the puck is, but where the puck will be.

Piedimonte also strongly believes in what he calls the “incubator system” where universities and businesses come together. He said it helps with funding and helps students find jobs after graduation.

Moreover, he thinks it is the job of the university rector to work with those of all political persuasions. “I think the president’s job is to be able to reach across the aisle to basically coagulate all the resources that can be acquired for college and bring the bacon home, frankly,” he said.

Piedimonte said one of his first meetings, if he was chosen as the new FSU president, would be with the governor Ron DeSantis to discuss what the State of Florida expects from the FSU and what the FSU can count on from the Legislature.

He believes that this leadership role involves “being able to talk to all the parties that can help your institution”. He said he was open to talking with anyone who can help improve FSU.

Piedimonte also expressed a desire to meet with the chief of the Seminole tribe to thank him for the tribe’s support to the university.

Piedimonte said the job of the president of the university, in a nutshell, is to represent FSU – from fundraising, to bringing technological advancements to the university, to working with students, faculty. and the state legislature.

“We are all here because we dream of a better world,” he said.

He said if he was selected he would “give his last drop of blood” for college.

The other two finalists from nine candidates interviewed by the university’s presidential research advisory committee are Richard mccullough, vice-provost for research at Harvard University and Robert blouin, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost of the University of North Carolina.

Each of the finalists took part in one-day forums that kicked off Tuesday with McCullough, Bloutin Wednesday and Piedimonte today.

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