UCF interim president to stay until university names next leader

Board unanimously votes to keep Thad Seymour Jr. as long-term interim president

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dr. Thad Seymour Jr. will serve as the long-term interim president of the University of Central Florida until the university names its next permanent leader.

[PREVIOUS STORY: UCF officials to vote on whether to ask current interim president to stay longer]

The UCF Board of Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to continue having Seymour lead the school as the national search for its next president begins, which could happen as early as the fall, members said.

"My job, our job is to make sure the last few months don’t define who we are," Seymour said.

Seymour was named the school's short-term interim president after 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.

[MORE: UCF misused $85M for building projects, House panel findsWhat's next for UCF? These are the next steps after president's resignation]

In a 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. 

Seymour, UCF’s vice president for partnerships and chief innovation officer, said in the meeting Thursday that he was willing to continue leading the university as long as he needed to in order to set the school and its next president up for success.

"We’re focused on getting better based on things we’ve learned the past few months and building on a foundation," Seymour said.

Also during Thursday's meeting, the board of trustees voted to accept the proposed settlement of a one-time payment of $600,000 for Whittaker. Members also voted unanimously to terminate all future payments for former President John. C. Hitt, who was president during the planning and construction of the building in question amid the money scandal.

"We really need to move pass the problems we faced over the past 6 months and I think we did so today," Chairman Robert Garvy said.

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