Finalists to be UCF’s next president — including a candidate who was added Wednesday — will hold virtual open forums and meetings on Thursday.

Students, faculty, staff and the UCF community are encouraged to watch the candidates’ open forums via livestream and provide their feedback.

“Dr. Laurencin and Dr. Cartwright are stellar candidates of exceptional character. Both finalists are more than qualified to lead our university.” — Beverly Seay, Board of Trustees chair

The Presidential Search Committee selected David Brenner and Cato Laurencin as finalists before spring break. Committee members met again Wednesday morning to review any additional applications they’d received. At that meeting, University of Missouri Chancellor Alexander Cartwright was interviewed via online videoconference and moved into the finalist pool.

Shortly after the meeting, Brenner withdrew his candidacy.

“Given Dr. Brenner’s success as a world-class innovator, we are disappointed that he chose not to continue in our process,” said Board of Trustees Chair Beverly Seay, who also serves as chair of the Presidential Search Committee. “However, Dr. Laurencin and Dr. Cartwright are stellar candidates of exceptional character. Both finalists are more than qualified to lead our university, and I think the board will have a very difficult decision.”

Biographies of the finalists and links to watch their open forums are available below.

Watch Thursday’s Open Forums

Alexander Cartwright, University of Missouri
Open forum, 10-11 a.m. Thursday, March 19

Cato Laurencin, University of Connecticut
Open forum, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Thursday, March 19

Each candidate will host a campus forum via videoconference, opening with a short presentation before answering questions submitted by the UCF community. The forums will be moderated by Faculty Senate Chair William Self, who is a member of the Board of Trustees and the Presidential Search Committee.

Each finalist also will hold virtual meetings with student leaders, faculty and deans. Feedback can be left for each candidate at links below.

Submit Candidate Feedback

Alexander Cartwright:

Cato Laurencin:

Links to watch the forums and to submit feedback will be available until 10 p.m. Thursday.

From the start of the search process, consultants advised the search committee that any applications from current university presidents would come late in the process. Search consultant Alberto Pimentel of Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates said that’s because they’re reluctant to disrupt relationships and ongoing initiatives with donors, their state lawmakers and the campus community.

“Why does a candidate wait until the last minute to jump in?” Pimentel said. “There are various things that a sitting president must focus on and think about before engaging in this type of a very public search.”

Next Steps

The Board of Trustees is expected to review feedback and interview each of the finalists starting at 8:30 a.m. Friday, March 20, before selecting UCF’s next president. That meeting with be livestreamed at

The Board of Governors, which oversees Florida’s State University System, will vote on whether to confirm the appointment; that vote is expected on March 25 during a virtual meeting.

For more information about the finalists and updates about the presidential search, visit