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Dr. Dale Whittaker, President
Professor, Department of Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering

Dale Whittaker became the University of Central Florida’s fifth president on July 1, 2018. He was unanimously confirmed by the Florida Board of Governors in March after the UCF Board of Trustees selected him following a nationwide search.

Whittaker came to UCF in August 2014 to serve as its provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, providing leadership to UCF’s 13 colleges, multiple campuses and research centers and institutes. He also oversaw academic support services and was responsible for curriculum, academic planning, faculty appointments, faculty development and promotion and tenure decisions. He was promoted to provost and executive vice president in 2015.

Since arriving at UCF, he has helped recruit and hire more than 200 new faculty members, launched an interdisciplinary teaching and research faculty cluster initiative, led the creation of a downtown campus, elevated UCF’s digital learning efforts to improve student success and embarked on a 20-year strategic planning process.

Also under Whittaker’s tenure, UCF began its path to preeminence, designated an “emerging preeminent” institution by the state in 2016. In addition to being the state’s largest university, UCF also is one of its highest performing — landing in the top three in the state for the first four years that performance-based funding was awarded.

As president, Whittaker will focus on developing the best talent and creating deeper and wider partnerships across and beyond the university.

Whittaker also is committed to giving students equal opportunities through education; he and UCF President John C. Hitt previously worked together on the University Innovation Alliance, a coalition of 11 prestigious research universities seeking to expand students’ access to higher education. Institutions joining UCF in the coalition include Purdue, Arizona State, Michigan State and Ohio State universities.

“I’m deeply committed to lifting lives and livelihoods through knowledge,” Whittaker says. “Our core mission as a university is knowledge, and the impact is advancing people’s lives economically and socially for generations.”

Whittaker is a professor of agricultural and biological engineering, with an equal passion for the arts, and for providing students with authentic learning experiences that will lead to greater success in their lives while at UCF and after.

Whittaker holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in agricultural engineering from Purdue and a bachelor’s degree in the same field from Texas A&M. Before his arrival at UCF, he served more than two decades in faculty and leadership positions at Purdue and Texas A&M universities.

He lives in Orlando with his wife, Mary, and he enjoys playing the harmonica, painting and rowing.

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