Former SUNY Chancellor Is Chosen to Lead Kentucky's Postsecondary Council

December 09, 2008

Robert L. King, who resigned in 2005 as chancellor of the State University of New York, has been named president of the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education, the state’s coordinating board for higher education.

Mr. King takes over for Richard A. Crofts, who has served as interim president since June, when Brad Cowgill resigned after a little more than eight months on the job. In fact, Mr. Cowgill had been appointed president after eight months as an interim leader, but he stepped down two weeks later amid a dispute over his hiring.

Gov. Steven L. Beshear, a Democrat, opposed Mr. Cowgill’s appointment — he had been the budget director for Mr. Beshear’s Republican predecessor — and charged that the council’s board had not performed a required national search.

Mr. King, currently president of a charitable foundation in Arizona, is no stranger to political controversy. He resigned from his SUNY post after having been involved in several controversies, including a decision to seek a six-month paid sabbatical shortly after proposing a tuition increase.

Mr. King’s three-year contract in Kentucky includes a $360,000 salary, $40,000 for housing or deferred compensation, and a state vehicle, according to a news release from the council. —Eric Kelderman