Academician, politician, visionary, business veteran, left-hander? The University of Central Florida is asking the campus and Central Florida communities what they want the next president of the university to be, with four public forums and an on-line comment board.

The UCF Board of Trustees and its presidential search committee have set out to find the successor to President John Hitt, who announced three months ago that he is retiring June 30 after 26 years.

The first public forum, set for 10 a.m.Wednesday at the Fairwinds Alumni Center, will double as the next meeting of the search committee. The other three public forums will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Student Union Cape Florida Ballroom; Thursday at 10 a.m. at the UCF Center for Emerging Media at the downtown Orlando campus; and 4 p.m. Thursday at the UCF College of Medicine at Lake Nona.

The search committee also is offering an online survey to solicit feedback at While survey submissions are anonymous, all comments will be open to the public for review. The online survey will close at the end of Thursday, Jan. 11.

The university indicated that conversations at the forums will be guided by three questions: What are the challenges facing UCF in the next several years? What kind of leader can meet those challenges? And why should someone want to be president of UCF?

UCF Board of Trustees Chairman Marcos Marchena has promised “a comprehensive, transparent and inclusive search,” and he wants to have a new president approved by June 30.

About The Author

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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