The UCF Board of Trustees is expected to select the university’s next president on Friday, March 20, after students, faculty and staff have a chance to meet the finalists virtually and offer their feedback.

“I want to let our community know this is critical – you have the opportunity to look at these candidates, listen to what they have to say, ask them questions and give us a lot of feedback for Friday,” said William Self, Faculty Senate chair and a member of the Board of Trustees and Presidential Search Committee.

“We’re in the 11th hour of a long process that is obviously critical for the university. It’s really important, and … we need to seize on the opportunity we have despite the situation our country is in.”

Dr. David Brenner and Dr. Cato Laurencin, two finalists selected before Spring Break, will hold open forums Wednesday and Thursday. The campus community is encouraged to watch via the livestreams at the links below.

Open forum with David Brenner, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 18:–EJRlQ

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

All candidate open forums and feedback forms will be available until 10 p.m. Thursday for viewing and providing input.

Before and during the forums, questions for the candidates can be submitted here:

Feedback for the candidates can be submitted at the links below:

David Brenner –

Cato Laurencin –

In addition, search consultant Alberto Pimentel of Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates indicated that another prospect is expected to submit his application materials by Wednesday. The potential applicant, a current president of a major research university, has been actively recruited since the beginning of the search process.

The Search Committee will meet at 9 a.m. Wednesday, March 18, at the FAIRWINDS Alumni Center to review any new applications submitted. Should committee members decide to move forward with any interviews, they will occur via videoconference that morning.

If a third finalist is added, the open forum will be from 10-11 a.m. Thursday, March 19, and will be viewable at this link:

The candidates also will meet virtually with groups of faculty members and student leaders on Wednesday and Thursday. The shift to virtual interactions mirrors the university’s shift to remote learning and also remote work due to the coronavirus.

“I think faculty and staff are going to have a little more time to be able to view these open forums and be able to give feedback, versus being on a busy campus and all the activities that would normally be going on,” Self said.

“We don’t know how long the world is going to be on pause, and we need our next president here,” said Board of Trustees and Search Committee Vice Chair Alex Martins. “We really need them to get to work. I very much feel comfortable with where we are in the process.”

Here is more information about the two finalists:

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 Board of Trustees is expected to meet starting at 8:30 a.m. Friday, March 20, to interview each finalist before selecting the next president.

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