October 24, 2020
Succession: The search is on for UCF's next president

Photo:

John Hitt took over as president of UCF in 1992.

Central Florida Roundup

Succession: The search is on for UCF's next president

Jason Garcia | 12/28/2017

After a quarter-century on the job, University of Central Florida President John Hitt revealed in October that he will retire at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

Presiding over the search for Hitt’s successor is Marcos Marchena, an Orlando attorney who chairs UCF’s board of trustees.

One question the school will confront is whether to pick a president from academia, as the University of Florida did, or someone from politics, a la Florida State’s John Thrasher. Marchena says academic experience will be crucial. (One politician who had been interested in the job, Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, decided not to apply.)

“We need someone, I believe, that has, in addition to many other qualities, experience in academia,” Marchena says.

Hitt has said that his decision to retire was motivated, in part, by the risk that UCF might lose Provost Dale Whittaker, who has become Hitt’s top deputy since coming to UCF from Purdue University in 2014. Whittaker was a finalist for the presidency at Iowa State University earlier this year before withdrawing his name from consideration.

The school’s next president will not need experience as a university president, Marchena says. “I think you’re going to see a decent number of candidates that either have presidential experience or provost-level experience.” He also says UCF intends to make its decision without guidance from Hitt. “He’s not supposed to throw his weight behind his candidate. John clearly understands that,”

Marchena says. “Our expectation is that we will not seek John’s counsel on this one issue.” Marchena says UCF hopes to have between three and five finalists by early February — and a selection by mid- to late-March. “Whoever comes in is going to need to understand that she or he is standing on the shoulders of a giant,” Marchena says.

Tags: Central

Florida Business News

Florida Trend Video Pick

Rare, two-headed snake found in Palm Harbor home
Rare, two-headed snake found in Palm Harbor home

A family in Palm Harbor recently found a rare creature in their home – a two-headed snake. FWC researchers said the phenomenon is named bicephaly – an uncommon occurrence that happens during snake embryo development. When two monozygotic twins fail to separate, it leaves the heads conjoined onto a single body.

Earlier Videos | Viewpoints@FloridaTrend

Ballot Box

Do you plan to vote early in the 2020 election?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Undecided
  • I do not plan to vote
  • Other (Please share your comments in the comment section below)

See Results

Florida Trend Media Company
490 1st Ave S
St Petersburg, FL 33701
727.821.5800

© Copyright 2020 Trend Magazines Inc. All rights reserved.