As UCF’s fifth president, Dale Whittaker focused on developing the nation’s best talent and creating deeper partnerships across and beyond Central Florida.
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.
As provost, Whittaker 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.
He became UCF’s fifth president on July 1, 2018. He was unanimously confirmed by the Florida Board of Governors in March 2018 after the UCF Board of Trustees selected him following a nationwide search. His resignation was accepted on February 21, 2019.
Whittaker’s short term as UCF’s president was full of impact. He led initiatives to increase diversity, inclusion and equity on campus; build new relationships in our community and deepen existing partnerships; and improve student learning, engagement and outcomes.
Praised by students, faculty, staff and partners for his approachability, curiosity and compassion, Whittaker often was seen walking the campus with students, asking questions about faculty research in lab spaces and attending a variety of student-led events.
In January 2019, he penned an opinion piece in USA Today about higher education’s role in fostering social mobility and helping all students unleash their full potential for meaningful careers in a modern economy.
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 before and after graduation.
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.