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Board of Governors Hosts Panel with Business Leaders in the Finance Industry

TALLAHASSEE — Business leaders from Florida’s finance industry joined the Board of Governors last week to discuss future talent needs and how the State University System can address those needs. Florida has a global footprint in financial services, insurance, and consulting, and is home to the third-largest cluster of insurance and banking companies in the United States, according to Enterprise Florida.

The Board was joined by:

  • Mr. Cressman Bronson, PNC Bank regional president of Southeast Florida
  • Ms. Kara Cardona, senior vice president, Greater Pensacola of Navy Federal Credit Union
  • Mr. Steve Raney, chairman and CEO of Raymond James Bank

Eleven of the 12 education institutions in the State University System offer varying degree programs that support the finance sector. These include accounting, finance, actuarial science, economics, banking, business and financial planning. Degree productivity in finance has grown system-wide over the last five years by 11% overall, with 7% growth at the undergraduate level and an impressive 27% increase at the graduate level.

“I’m thrilled to see the growth of these important programs within our education system,” said Syd Kitson, chair of the Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System. “Banking and finance are one of the most critical aspects of business, and business is vital to the success of Florida’s economy.”

The university system produced nearly 9,000 graduates in 2019-20 with the potential to gain employment in the finance industry. This total included more than 3,000 finance majors and over 2,400 accounting majors.

“We have some of the best colleges and universities in Florida with abundant diversity of students and fields of study,” said Bronson. “This was a significant discussion around the delivery of technical and advanced studies in finance, financial technologies and the industry as a whole, and how meaningful courses in business, economics, investing and internships could positively affect our talent pipeline in the future. Given that the Board of Governors is determined to close the gap between industry and academia to ensure dynamic new prospects for Florida students and all of us in banking and the financial sector, I’d say the future seems very bright.”

Additionally, institutions provide business, marketing, information technology, and many other qualified graduates that support the industry.

“Financial institutions like Navy Federal continue to expand in Florida for one simple reason, the strong support to develop the talent we need in the future,” said Kara Cardona, senior vice president of Greater Pensacola for Navy Federal Credit Union. “The partnerships we have with our colleges and universities will pay dividends for students and businesses alike for generations.”

Florida public universities have been recognized by rankings organizations for excellence in finance-related academic programs. For example, US News & World Report recognized the University of Florida as being ranked #4 among US public institutions in undergraduate real estate and #10 among US public institutions in undergraduate finance. US News also recognized Florida International University as having the #10 Best Online Finance MBA Program and the #20 Best Graduate Public Finance and Budgeting Program.


Facts about the State University System of Florida and the Board of Governors

The State University System of Florida is a constitutional body led by the 17-member Board of Governors. The System has 12 universities and more than 420,000 students, making it the second-largest public university system in the nation. Responsibilities include defining the distinctive mission of each institution and managing the System’s coordination and operation. The Board appoints a Chancellor who serves as the System’s chief executive. For more, visit or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.