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UCF presidential search: How to weigh in on who should be university’s next leader

Students, faculty encouraged to provide feedback on 2 finalists

UCF presidential finalists (left to right): Alexander N. Cartwright, Ph.D. and Cato T. Laurencin, M.D., Ph.D. (WKMG)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Two candidates are being considered finalists in the search for the University of Central Florida’s next leader and university officials want the community’s help in making the final decision.

UCF’s Presidential Search Committee met Wednesday morning to conduct interviews for two new applicants and decided to advance Dr. Alexander Cartwright, who currently serves as chancellor of the University of Missouri, according to UCF’s Chad Binette.

Cartwright joins Dr. Cato Laurencin, of the University of Connecticut, on the list of finalists being considered for the position.

Dr. David Brenner of the University of California, San Diego, was also being considered a finalist but withdrew his candidacy Wednesday, according to UCF officials.

“Given Dr. Brenner’s success as a world-class innovator, we are disappointed that he chose not to continue in our process,” said Board of Trustees Chair Beverly Seay, who also serves as chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “However, Dr. Laurencin and Dr. Cartwright are stellar candidates of exceptional character. Both finalists are more than qualified to lead our university, and I think the board will have a very difficult decision.”

Vistasp Karbhari, another candidate previously in the running for UCF’s top job, withdrew last week over bullying allegations.

A report in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram alleged he consistently belittled fellow employees at his current job as president at the University of Texas at Arlington.

The two finalists, Laurencin and Cartwright, will hold open virtual forums on Thursday, which can be viewed using the following links:

Alexander Cartwright, University of Missouri | Open forum, 10-11 a.m. on Thursday

Cato Laurencin, University of Connecticut | Open forum, 3:30-4:30 p.m. on Thursday

The candidates’ biographies can also be found on the above pages.

After watching the forums, students, faculty and other members of the UCF community are encouraged to leave feedback for each candidate using the following links:

Leave feedback for Alexander Cartwright

Leave feedback for Cato Laurencin

The links to leave feedback will be available until 10 p.m. Thursday.

The Board of Trustees plans to review that feedback and interview each of the finalists starting at 8:30 a.m. Friday before selecting UCF’s next president. Friday’s meeting with be livestreamed here.


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