August 7, 2020

Up Front

Education = Jobs

Andrew P. Corty | 5/24/2017

John Hitt is the dean of higher education in Florida, having served as president of the University of Central Florida since 1992 — and he’s not quite finished.

In that time, UCF has grown from a little-noticed commuter school to the nation’s second-largest university, with more than 64,000 students. The growth has included a stadium for its Division 1 football program, a student union, a gym, a performing arts center, 11,000 student beds, a medical school, degrees in simulation and tourism and much more.

Hitt has always believed that state schools should educate as many people as possible. The number of minority students at UCF has doubled during Hitt’s tenure. Partnership programs with surrounding two-year colleges have helped.

Now Hitt and UCF are designing a campus in downtown Orlando that will focus on digital entertainment and communication, health care technology and administration, and public service, all sure to help boost economic development in the region.

Though he hasn’t announced his retirement just yet, he’s had an impressive tenure by any metric.

Of course, UCF isn’t the only impressive school in Florida. See our listings of the 12 state universities, the 28 Florida colleges, the independent, non-profit colleges and universities, and the largest for-profit schools

Each fall at the start of the academic year, Florida Trend also publishes a guide for high school students called NEXT magazine. We distribute 225,000 copies for free to schools around the state. Please email me if you want a personal copy.

Speaking of higher ed, please see the University of Florida’s insert in this issue. While last year’s focused on climate change, this year’s pages highlight the 100th anniversary (the centennial!) of the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville.

Also celebrating an anniversary — its 25th — is the Florida Sterling Council, an impressive group dedicated to improving business operations. Almost 1,000 members will study best practices, assessment techniques and training at the group’s annual conference being held in Orlando. Karen Moore, CEO of Moore Communications Group, is the opening keynote speaker. Every company needs to participate to remain globally competitive.

All of us know someone who has had cancer, whether a family member, friend or colleague. So we applaud the research that’s leading to improved care. Just a few years ago, we hadn’t heard of “immunotherapy” or “proton therapy.” Our Economic Backbone on cancer care spotlights these latest medical developments. Readers will see comments from experts at Jacksonville’s Mayo Clinic, Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center and Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, to name a few.

I urge the Legislature to keep the research funding spigots open. Though we haven’t cured cancer yet, we’ve managed to make some forms of it much less virulent than they were just a few years ago. New screening procedures, treatments and drugs are adding years of life to those unfortunate enough to have this dreaded diagnosis.

Last year I toured the Miami Cancer Institute, then still under construction. It’s eye-opening to see the complexity behind the healing environment. To get a flavor, read this special section.

Fitness Update: Heat and humidity don’t matter. Repeat. Heat and humidity don’t matter. Repeat . . .

— Andy Corty


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