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Tallahassee Democrat: Miami Collins Center Closes, but Collins Institute Still Alive and Well

Monday, February 04, 2013

The announcement Thursday that the Miami-based Collins Center for Public Policy, mired in financial woes, is closing after 25 years will have no effect on the LeRoy Collins Institute at Florida State University.

The institute and center, both named in honor of the late governor, split into two distinct entities in 2001 when the center, a think tank, moved to Miami.

The institute, housed in the historic Cawthon House alongside the FSU law school, had not been successful in its attempts to do joint projects with the center, said Carol Weissert, the institute’s director and a political science professor at FSU. The similar names often led to mistakes in identity, she added.

“It’s very confusing. It was kind of unfortunate that we didn’t even work together,” Weissert said.

The institute, funded primarily by an endowment and grants, hires professors and graduate students to do public policy research on issues identified as important to the state. For example, it has been focused on pensions for the past three years.

The non-partisan center had offices in Tallahassee and St. Petersburg in addition to its Miami headquarters. It had been a self-supporting organization doing public policy contract work such as mediating home foreclosures in Florida.

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