The State University System of Florida’s Board of Governors elected Syd Kitson as their new chair last week.

Kitson is the chairman and CEO of Kitson & Partners, a Florida-based real estate company that creates master-planned communities, such as Babcock Ranch, and commercial properties.

The Board of Governors is a 17-member group managing 12 Florida universities and more than 341,000 students.

“It’s an opportunity to make a real difference,” Kitson said.

Kitson has served on the board since June 2017, the State University System of Florida stated, most recently as the board’s vice chair and the chair of the Budget & Finance Committee. Members must be appointed by the Florida Governor and confirmed by the Florida Senate for a term of seven years, according to the board’s website.

Brian Lamb was elected vice chair. Lamb is known for serving as the executive vice president and head of Retail Banking and Retail Brokerage at Fifth Third Bank. He was previously the chair of the Board of Trustees at the University of South Florida. Lamb has served on the Board of Governors since March 2019.

Kitson will replace current chair Ned Lautenbach.

“We have a lot of things we can do better,” Kitson said. “Education, in my mind, is the most important thing that we can be doing to give everyone an opportunity to be successful.”

Kitson has specific initiatives he hopes to put into place the next two years, which he will announce at the next Board of Governors meeting in January.

“I look forward to building on the great work of my predecessors while also moving forward with some new strategies to make the State University System even stronger,” Kitson continued.

The Board of Governors defines missions for each university and manages the system’s coordination and operation, their website states.

Both Kitson and Lamb’s two-year terms will start Jan. 1, 2020 and end Dec. 31, 2021.

Babcock Ranch Neighborhood School currently serves students from kindergarten to eighth grade. Next year, it will serve up to ninth grade, and by 2021 the community will have a high school serving up to grade twelve.

The next Florida Board of Governors meeting will be held Jan. 29 at Florida State University in Tallahassee.


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