One of the reasons the University of Central Florida has grown remarkably in stature and reputation is its close partnerships with elected officials at the local, state and national levels. A pair of leadership moves announced today will ensure UCF’s upward trajectory continues.

UCF has appointed Janet Owen as vice president for government relations. Owen comes to UCF from the University of North Florida, where she serves as vice president for governmental affairs and associate general counsel. She starts at UCF on June 22.

“I have always admired what UCF is about. The way UCF has grown into the partnership university has been an example for all of us in the State University System,” Owen said. “The idea that I could be a part of a new president’s team and help him accomplish his goals and visions for UCF’s next chapter is really exciting.”

Owen, a native of Jacksonville, earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and a law degree from Stetson University College of Law. She worked in a Jacksonville law firm before moving to UNF as associate general counsel in 1994, and has served as UNF’s lobbyist since 1998.

Owen will build on the strong foundation laid by Daniel Holsenbeck, who as senior vice president for university relations and director of governmental relations has helped guide UCF’s growth for a generation. Holsenbeck has been appointed senior counsel to the president, effective July 1.

“This is a win-win for UCF,” said president-elect Dale Whittaker, who takes office on July 1. “From day one, I will be able to rely on Dan’s knowledge and counsel and Janet’s leadership in accomplishing our goals. This is exciting.”

Since joining UCF in 1985, Holsenbeck has reported to every UCF president except its first. He has fostered deep relationships with elected officials who have helped propel the university’s rise in quality, size and status, securing support for increased state funding, the College of Medicine, UCF Downtown and more.

“Dan has been an invaluable resource for UCF since before I arrived. His fingerprints are on every major university initiative of the past 30 years,” President John Hitt said. “I have been fortunate to have had his wise counsel, and I’m thrilled that with Dan at his side, president-elect Whittaker will continue to benefit from Dan’s experience, connections and insights.”

Before coming to UCF, Holsenbeck worked as associate vice president for development and alumni affairs at the University of South Florida, the director of university relations at Auburn University, and vice chancellor for development at Auburn University at Montgomery.

“Any chance I have to work with Dale Whittaker is a tremendous opportunity,” Holsenbeck said. “I have watched him closely, worked with him, learned so much from him, and will do whatever I can to make his presidency successful.”