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Who is UCF's new president, Dale Whittaker?

Dale Whittaker officially named fifth president of UCF

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dr. Dale Whittaker has officially been named the fifth president of the University of Central Florida.

The Florida Board of Governors unanimously confirmed his selection Thursday in Jacksonville after he was chosen earlier this month over three other finalists.

[WATCH BELOW: Dale Whittaker confirmed as UCF's fifth president]

The newly selected leader is no stranger to the college campus, as he has served as the university's executive vice president since 2015 and as the school's provost in 2014.

The Purdue University and Texas A&M University alumnus believes the time he has already spent guiding the university's academic and institutional vision will serve him well as the school's next president.

Having served as both a professor and a leader who helped grow the university's vision by playing a key role in establishing its new downtown campus and expanding the school's academic leaders and task forces, Whittaker's resume shows his experience both in and out of the classroom.

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His record also shows growing numbers that demonstrate his ability to enhance student success over the years.

Whittaker also said his experience in balancing UCF's budget and growing its partnerships are something the university needs to continue on its successful path. 

He seemed to have widespread support by faculty and staff members, as well as students and parents throughout the selection process, according to the university. Since the UCF board of trustees' March 9 selection, the positive feedback has continued.

“In the feedback we received, Dale received widespread support from faculty, students, staff and our community,” board of trustees Chairman Marcos Marchena told the school. “During his interview, he proved to us that he is ready to excel in his new role.”

Whittaker's tenure will begin July 1, when he replaces Dr. John C. Hitt, who has served as the university's president for more than 25 years.

The president-to-be said Thursday that he's thrilled for the new opportunity and feels privileged to continue serving the university, according to an article listed on the school's website.

“There is no better or more exciting job in higher education than president at the University of Central Florida,” Whittaker said. “UCF is a fantastic institution. It’s one of the most innovative in the country, one of the most diverse, and it’s our nation’s greatest producer of talent.”

UCF said Whittaker told the Board of Governors that he believes UCF can be a national model for higher education in the 21st century, according to the article.

“We will be a talent engine, meeting Florida’s growing need for world-class education and workforce innovation. We will deliver value by being focused stewards of families and taxpayers’ dollars, and be efficient with our resources while providing our students with the highest quality," he said. “And, we will grow partnerships that bring ideas to impact, focusing on our distinct strengths as a metropolitan research university and the greatest areas of opportunity for Florida.” 

Read more about Whittaker's history and what he envisions for the university's future here and in the video below.


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