FIU president resigns because of ‘health issues,’ both his and his wife’s

Kenneth Jessell will serve as interim president

The board of trustees at FIU is expected to meet Friday to discuss the imminent resignation of its president Mark Rosenberg.

MIAMI, Fla. – The president of Florida International University is resigning.

Mark Rosenberg said he is resigning immediately because of personal health issues and due to the deteriorating health of his wife, Rosalie.

The fifth president of the university has been in the position since 2009 and was the provost before he became president.

The board of trustees called an emergency virtual meeting Friday who, in a unanimous decision accepted Rosenberg’s resignation.

During the same meeting, chief financial officer and senior vice president of finance and administration Kenneth A. Jessell was named interim president.

Florida International University's chief financial officer Kenneth Jessell will serve as interim president after the sudden resignation of Mark Rosenberg.

Dean C. Colson, the chair of FIU’s board of trustees, sent a letter via email that went out to the university community Friday stating that he had accepted the resignation of Rosenberg. A national search will be conducted to search for Rosenberg’s replacement.

The 72-year-old’s academic career began at FIU in 1976 as an assistant professor of political science. In 1979, he founded the FIU Latin American and Caribbean Center.

Rosenberg subsequently served as the founding dean of the College of Urban and Public Affairs and Vice Provost for International Studies.

According to FIU’s website, under Rosenberg’s leadership as president, FIU increased enrollment to almost 58,000 students, improved graduation rates by 23%, and hired over 400 new full-time faculty members.

Below is the letter sent out to students via email Friday afternoon from the chairman of the board of trustees at FIU.

Mark Rosenberg resigned from Florida International University and Kenneth Jessell will be serving as the interim.

Dear members of the university community,

I am writing to share with you that I have accepted the resignation of President Mark B. Rosenberg. I will be nominating Chief Financial Officer & Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration Dr. Kenneth Jessell to serve as interim president while we conduct a national search for FIU’s sixth president. I am asking the Board of Trustees to meet to approve his nomination, and I will then take his nomination to the Board of Governors for confirmation. I know Dr. Jessell will have our support and cooperation as he helps steer our university through the coming months.

Finally, I look forward to working with the entire university community as we search for our next President. I believe the FIU presidency is one of the great jobs in higher education. Located in one of the world’s great cities, it is inevitable that FIU will become one of the preeminent research universities in America. I can assure you that out [sic] next leader will be committed to that mission.

Sincerely,

Dean C. Colson, Chair, FIU Board of Trustees

An hour after Colson’s letter was sent, Rosenberg’s official resignation followed. Read that below.

Dear members of the university community,

The following letter was shared with FIU Board of Trustees Chair Dean C. Colson today.

January 21, 2022

Dear Chair Colson,

It is with a sense of accomplishment and sadness that I share with you that I will be resigning as President of FIU effective this Friday, January 21, 2022. I am stepping back so that I may give full attention to recurring personal health issues and to the deteriorating health of my wife, Rosalie.

But first, I want to thank our university community. I have always appreciated the can-do attitude of faculty colleagues, professional staff and our hard-working students, and am grateful for the widespread community support that our university now enjoys. I am indebted to our Board of Trustees, our Board of Governors, and our Board of Directors and donors, without whom we could not be on our way to being a Top 50 public university.

I am proud of where we are today as a university and what we have achieved together in the last thirteen years since I was named as president. I intend to return to my first professional love as a member of the faculty and to resume my research and teaching on inter-American affairs and higher education.

It has truly been the honor of a lifetime to represent our community and help build our FIU.

Sincerely,

Mark B. Rosenberg

Late Friday, the new interim president released a video. See the video below.


About the Authors:

Michael Putney came to Local 10 in 1989 to become senior political reporter and host of "This Week In South Florida with Michael Putney." He is Local 10's senior political reporter. 

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com. She has a bachelor's degree from Emerson College, Boston, and a master's degree from SUNY-Empire State.