Alex Acosta
Alex Acosta (J. Albert Diaz)

Florida International University law dean Alex Acosta is one of four finalists for the dean’s post at the University of Florida Levin College of Law.

Acosta is the only South Floridian to make the final cut. The other finalists are David Brennen, law dean and professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law; Samuel Donaldson, law professor at Georgia State University; David Huebner, former ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa.

Aside from the lack of women, the pool of finalists is diverse—Acosta is Hispanic, Brennen is African-American and Huebner is the third openly gay ambassador in U.S. history.

The finalists were chosen after two days of in-person interviews with the search committee. UF’s president and provost will make the final decision on a dean to replace Robert Jerry, who served for 11 years.

UF is the largest public law school in the state with 1,087 students.

Acosta, a former U.S. attorney in Miami, was recently appointed to another five-year term at FIU. Founded in 2000, the FIU law school is South Florida’s newest and its only public one.

Acosta, 45, is credited with the law school’s rapid rise in the U.S. News & World Report’s ranking from unranked—below 160 out of 184 accredited schools—to 105 and increasing median LSAT scores, grade point averages and Florida Bar passage rates.