UCF officials to vote on whether to ask current interim president to stay longer

Dr. Thad Seymour named short-term interim president after Dale Whittaker resigns

Dr. Thad Seymour, Jr. serves as short-term interim president of UCF after Dale Whittaker resigns. (Image: UCF)
Dr. Thad Seymour, Jr. serves as short-term interim president of UCF after Dale Whittaker resigns. (Image: UCF)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Officials with the University of Central Florida will consider voting to ask Dr. Thad Seymour Jr., the school's short-term interim president, to stay in the position until a permanent leader is named, according to a news release.

Seymour, UCF’s vice president for partnerships and chief innovation officer, has been serving as president since former President Dale Whittaker stepped down last month in order to renew trust between UCF and the Florida Legislature in the wake of the school's misuse of $38 million on building construction.

[RELATED: What's next for UCF? These are the next steps after president's resignationUCF misused $85M for building projects, House panel finds]

In the news release, officials said Seymour's time in the interim position was initially expected to be short, but that he has provided much-needed stability and leadership since taking over the role. 

“Dr. Seymour is getting us back into the business of transforming lives and producing the talent and ideas that will drive Orlando and our state forward,” board of trustees Chairman Robert Garvy said.

Garvy said he believes having Seymour continue the role until the next permanent president is determined will help move the university forward and set the next leader up for success.

If given the opportunity to serve as the long-term interim president, Seymour said he would accept the offer, according to the news release.

“UCF has a very bright future ahead of it,” Seymour said. “I am 100 percent committed to working with our talented faculty and staff to make us stronger and better equipped to serve our students and community."

Seymour has played a key role at UCF since 2015, helping create the school's Collective Impact Strategic Plan, building the new campus in downtown Orlando and forming a new division at the school that's devoted to partnerships and innovation, officials said.

Before his time at UCF, Seymour was a successful businessman for three decades. He was one of the visionaries behind the Lake Nona Medical City and helped bring more than $3 billion in health and life science to the area, according to the news release.

The board is expected to vote Thursday. If members move forward with naming Seymour as the interim president, the Florida board of governors is expected to consider confirming his appointment next week.

[MORE: Meeting to discuss release of former UCF president postponed'Last week was tough, but UCF is tougher:' Interim president issues message to students]

Also on the agenda for Thursday's meeting is a discussion over the timing of a national search to find UCF's next president, whether to accept the proposed settlement of a one-time payment of $600,000 with Whittaker and whether to revoke the remaining performance pay for former UCF President John C. Hitt, who was president during the planning and construction of the building in question amid the money scandal. The payments for Hitt, who served as president for more than 25 years, would include one that was previously suspended and two future payments, totaling about $330,000, according to the release.

Committee meetings begin at 9 a.m. and the full board of trustees meeting starts at 1 p.m. at the Fairwinds Alumni Center on campus. Click here to see the full agenda.

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