"I would have had to look for something else in the Sunshine State. This presented me with the opportunity to remain a chancellor," he said.
Brogan was one of three finalists. The system declined to disclose the others, but former Pennsylvania Education Secretary Ron Tomalis reportedly was interviewed.
Brogan will replace John Cavanaugh, who started in 2008 and left in February. Cavanaugh came from the University of West Florida. The chancellor before him, Judy Hample, was in the same job as Brogan before moving to Pennsylvania.
"We seem to have a pipeline to Florida," said Steve Hicks, president of the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.
He expressed concern about educational policies in Florida, such as the push to create four-year degree programs that will cost no more than $10,000 in tuition. He said he wondered how much Brogan was in line with those policies. But he said he was pleased with Brogan's experience in higher education and state government.
In Florida, Brogan dealt with legislators and negotiated for funding, much as he will have to do in Pennsylvania.
An Ohio native, Brogan was the first in his family to attend college. He received his bachelor's degree in education, graduating magna cum laude from the University of Cincinnati, and a master's in education from Florida Atlantic University. He does not have a doctorate, though he said he twice began work on one and stopped due to work demands.
He started as a classroom teacher in 1978 at Port Salerno Elementary School in Martin County, Fla. He rose through the ranks, eventually serving as superintendent of the Martin County school system for six years. He then became Florida's commissioner of education in 1995 and later was appointed lieutenant governor, focusing on education policy under Republican Gov. Jeb Bush.
Brogan became president of Florida Atlantic in 2003 and then chancellor of the state system in 2009.
Pennsylvania's board of governors selected Brogan from a wide pool of candidates.
"We received several hundred inquiries from individuals throughout the United States and even some from outside the country," chairman Guido M. Pichini said.
The system's universities are West Chester, Cheyney, Bloomsburg, California, Clarion, East Stroudsburg, Edinboro, Indiana, Kutztown, Lock Haven, Mansfield, Millersville, Shippensburg, and Slippery Rock.
Contact Susan Snyder at 215-854-4693 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow on Twitter @ssnyderinq. Read her blog at www.inquirer.com/campusinq.