The search for UCF’s next president will continue next week, with students, faculty, staff and the community given the opportunity to meet with finalists virtually and the Board of Trustees expected to select the university’s next president on Friday, March 20.

With the uncertainty surrounding the scope and duration of COVID-19, UCF is proceeding with the final stage of the search that began in the fall. The Board of Trustees met Friday to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the search and supported the plans to move forward.

“This is an extraordinary time,” UCF Board of Trustees Chair Beverly Seay said. “We have a competitive pool of highly qualified candidates today, and we must make decisions that are best for the future of our university, even if we are unsure of everything that the next few weeks or months hold.”

Next week, each finalist will host a virtual open forum that will feature brief introductory remarks followed by questions and answers. Open forums will be held Wednesday, March 18, and Thursday, March 19, with opportunities for the campus community to ask questions electronically, as well as provide feedback about each candidate.

On Monday, UCF will share the specific times and links of the open forums, as well as details on how to provide feedback.

Two finalists were selected last week by the Presidential Search Committee.

David Brenner has served as Vice Chancellor, Health Sciences, at the University of California San Diego for the past 13 years. In this role, he leads the School of Medicine, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and UCSD Health. He earned his M.D. from the Yale University School of Medicine, and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine. Brenner also is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicine and an adjunct professor in the Salk Institute for Biological Studies.

Cato Laurencin is University Professor; Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering; Professor of Materials Science and Engineering; Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Endowed Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery; Chief Executive Officer, The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering, University of Connecticut; Director, The Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences; and a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Engineering. Dr. Laurencin earned his bachelor’s in chemical engineering from Princeton University, his Ph.D. in biochemical engineering/biotechnology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his M.D., Magna Cum Laude, from Harvard Medical School.

The third finalist selected by the committee withdrew his name from consideration on Monday.

Here’s an outline of all of the search activities next week:

The Presidential Search Committee will meet at 9 a.m. Monday, March 16, at the FAIRWINDS Alumni Center to review additional information on the two remaining finalists, reconsider candidates currently in the pool, and consider any new candidates who may apply.

At Friday’s Board of Trustees meeting, Seay spoke about continuing to recruit highly competitive candidates and the likelihood that at least one more candidate would become a finalist.

“It has been a really great opportunity talking to this quality of talent, listening to their experiences and hearing their enthusiasm for the university,” Seay said of the candidate pool. “I am looking forward to our campus having the opportunity to hear their different perspectives on what they would do for UCF.”

Monday’s search committee meeting can be viewed via livestream, in real time only, at this link:

On Wednesday and Thursday, all of the finalists will conduct virtual open forums and also meet separately with small groups of students and faculty virtually. Open forums will be livestreamed and available online to allow for feedback.

In lieu of the Board of Trustees having an opportunity to interview candidates earlier in the week – as was originally planned – board members also will be meeting or teleconferencing one-on-one with finalists before their virtual visits to campus next week.

The Board of Trustees is then expected to meet starting at 8:30 a.m. Friday, March 20, for videoconference interviews with each finalist and then to select the next president. This meeting will be livestreamed, in real time only, 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 of the board.

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