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D'Alemberte promotes Thrasher for FSU presidency

Former Florida State President Talbot "Sandy" D'Alemberte on Tuesday nominated Sen. John Thrasher to be FSU's president, calling him "a joy to work with" when Thrasher was a university trustee during D'Alemberte's presidency.

D'Alemberte's endorsement of Thrasher was first reported by the Tallahassee Democrat. A fixture in legal circles, a former president of the American Bar Association and a well-known liberal Democrat, D'Alemberte sent a letter to William Funk, a Texas headhunter hired by FSU to help find its next president.

Thrasher, 70, is a lawyer and FSU graduate who has been one of the university's biggest champions in the Legislature. He is currently chairman of Gov. Rick Scott's re-election campaign, and Scott appoints the university trustees who will choose a successor to Eric Barron, who resigned to become president of Penn State.

"In an ideal world, I would not say that John was the best candidate, but in the world we live in I would say he is the best candidate," D'Alemberte told the Democrat Tuesday.

In his letter, D'Alemberte wrote of Thrasher: "He insisted on thorough briefings, but wsa respectful to the professional staff. He understood the importance of faculty governance and worked well with faculty, staff, students and other university shareholders. He made himself for anyone who wished to discuss matters. It was, quite frankly, a joy to work with John."

D'Alemberte said Thrasher, as a former House speaker, ex-lobbyist and currently chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, has the ability to work the Capitol to bring home more state money for Florida State. Thrasher is an intensely proud FSU alum and is a former chairman of FSU's board of trustees. The campus' medical school building is named after Thrasher for securing the funding for it.