UCF President John C. Hitt and several other community leaders with University of Central Florida connections were recognized this week in Orlando Sentinel columnist Scott Maxwell’s list of the 25 most powerful people in Central Florida.

Hitt placed No. 7 on Maxwell’s annual compilation, which includes names from government, business, health care, legal and other fields.

Hitt has been president since 1992 and has built UCF into the nation’s second-largest university with nearly 60,000 students. 

“He’s respected and visionary,” Maxwell said. “Right now, Hitt’s top challenges are keeping college affordable and dealing with a Legislature prone to cutting education.”

Hitt also founded the Florida High-Tech Corridor Council and has been involved with numerous local and state organizations, including the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission Fundraising Campaign, Council of 100, Orange County Chairman’s Transportation Commission, and others. Former Gov. Jeb Bush once called Hitt and Walt Disney the two most transformative figures in Central Florida’s history.

Others on the list with connections to the university are:

  • No. 3 – Meg Crofton, president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations, United States and France, and a former member of the UCF Board of Trustees. She moved to California last year.
  • No. 4 – Alex Martins, president of the Orlando Magic and Crofton’s appointed replacement on the UCF Board of Trustees. Martins earned his MBA from UCF and is a member of the College of Business Administration’s Hall of Fame. Martins also served on the developmental board that formulated the DeVos Sport Business Management Program at UCF.
  • No. 6 – Harris Rosen, president and chief operating officer of Rosen Hotels & Resorts. Rosen donated more than $18 million in cash, land and scholarships a decade ago to UCF to create the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, which has more than 3,000 students. He also is a former member of the UCF Board of Trustees
  • No. 19 – Deborah German, UCF vice president for medical affairs and the founding dean of the College of Medicine.  Dr. German was appointed dean in 2006, oversaw construction of the 375,000-square-foot medical school, and has led the college to full accreditation. In addition, she oversees the medical education program and the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences.
  • No. 20 – Sherrie Sitarik, former CEO of Orlando Health,  holds a master’s degree in Health Sciences from UCF and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives.
  • To see the complete list, click here.