Charles Reed, Florida University System Leader Dies

Charles Reed Dies At 75-Years-Old 

A high-profile figure in the Florida school system has passed away at the age 75 on Tuesday.

Charles B. Reed presided over two of the nation’s largest public university systems. He served 13 years as chancellor of the Florida university system. Before he worked as chief of staff for former Gov. Bob Graham.

“Charlies will always be remembered as a formative figure in our university’s history and as a tenacious, passionate champion of public higher education,” Timothy P. White, chancellor of the California State University system, said to the Tallahassee Democrat.

In 1998 Reed moved to California to lead the California State University system. The university is the largest public university system in the country with 23 campuses, 49,000 faculty and 474,600 students. In 2012 he retired and moved back to Tallahassee.

Before his move to California Reed became chancellor of the Florida university system. The system has since grown into a 12-school system with a $4.7 billion budget.

“He was truly a champion of the students,” Sandy George, Reed’s personal assistant for 38 years, said to the Tallahassee Democrat.

George described Reed as being straightforward, hard working and a guy that despised disloyalty and dishonesty.

Reed’s move to California was a huge shock for him. George said he never got use to people coming into work at 9 a.m.

“We’d been there maybe three months, and he says should we have a casual Friday,” said George. “I came up the elevator in a chiffon and flip-flops. I said we don’t need to worry about that because it’s casual every day.”

During his time in California Reed was credited with enrollment expansion and balancing the system growth with major budget cuts caused by recession.

“I may have done some of the best work in my 40 years as an educator these last five years figuring out how to… keep the doors open,” Reed told the Los Angeles Times in a 2012 interview.

“Those states that have the best systems are governed by a board that has a plan, and they look out for what is best for the entire state,” said Reed in his 2013 speech to the Economic Club in Florida. “I’ll get slammed for saying that. But I believe it. I have lived it. And I have watched the other states and what they have been able to accomplish.”