Last week, the Florida Board of Governors voted to confirm my appointment as UCF’s fifth president. As I said after the vote, I am incredibly thankful to you, the faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends of this fantastic institution.

Because of you, UCF is one of the largest and best universities in the country; it’s one of the most diverse in the country; and, hands-down it’s the most innovative in the country. Thank you for all you have done for UCF, and for the support and friendship you’ve shown Mary and me during the presidential search.

And thank you to John and Martha Hitt. UCF is the university it is today thanks to their vision for what we could become if, as they like to say, we dream big enough. Mary and I look forward to joining Central Florida in thanking John and Martha in the coming months, and working with them to ensure a smooth transition.

Preparing for July 1

With your help, I am looking forward to keeping UCF’s momentum going — and pushing us to dream and act even bigger than before. That takes deliberate planning and listening to voices across campus and throughout our community.

Effective today, I am stepping aside as provost to focus on transition activities leading up to July 1.

I will retain my role as executive vice president and will continue to participate in leadership decisions. However, I will spend the majority of the time until July 1 preparing for my role as president.

Elizabeth A. Dooley, vice provost for Teaching and Learning and dean of the College of Undergraduate Studies, will serve as interim provost while we conduct a national search.

Dooley joined UCF in 2015 and has since championed student success and academic excellence across UCF. I have the highest confidence in her leadership and know that she will be successful with your support.

Michael Johnson, dean of the College of Sciences, will chair the search committee that will help find our next provost.

Join Me in Creating Our Future

During the next few months, I will be on campus and in the local, state and national higher ed communities listening, asking questions and developing plans. I will meet with people from across disciplines, professional backgrounds and life experiences.

Great things happen when you pursue inclusion and diversity. As a leader, I’m looking forward to being exposed to multiple perspectives and views. My decisions will be more robust because they’ll be tested against other views. And, in those robust decisions, we will see a much clearer picture of the opportunities and challenges ahead.

Every day I am more excited about our future. I can’t wait to get started on this journey with you.

I believe in the power of UCF. And I believe in you.