Tony Waldrop, who served with distinction as UCF’s provost from 2010 to 2014, died Saturday after a long illness. His death was reported by the University of South Alabama, where he served as president from 2014 to 2021.
Waldrop, who became UCF’s executive vice president in 2011, helped the university make remarkable strides in many areas, including student success, externally funded research, economic development and community service.
“Tony Waldrop was a joy to work with. He had a quiet determination to excel combined with a real kindness and concern for other people,” says Michael D. Johnson, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “He made us a better institution, and he also helped those of us who worked with him become better ourselves.”
Waldrop’s work contributed to UCF’s rising graduation and retention rates, as well as many national recognitions, including advances in U.S. News and World Report rankings, accolades from The Princeton Review and Kiplinger’s for providing exceptional value to students, and “military friendly” rankings from G.I. Jobs magazine.
Waldrop also was involved in the UCF and Central Florida communities, notably as an enthusiastic co-chair of UCF’s partnership with the American Heart Association and serving on the board of directors for the YMCA of Central Florida and Junior Achievement of Central Florida.
“Tony was everything a good colleague should be. He had the determination of a world-class competitor and a heart so big he could set records running the mile and still have enough room left to care deeply about students, faculty and staff,” says College of Business Dean Paul Jarley. “His commitment to academic excellence, diversity, inclusion and integrity made us better. My heart goes out to Julee and his family.”
Waldrop joined UCF as provost in July 2010 after serving as vice chancellor for research and economic development at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. In that position, he was responsible for 12 university-wide research support offices and 15 research centers.
He previously was vice chancellor for research at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He had a bachelor’s in political science, a master’s in physical education and a doctorate in physiology, all from UNC.
Waldrop is survived by his wife, Julee, the couple’s two children, Cabe and Dallas, and extended family. Visit the University of South Alabama’s website to read more about his life and accomplishments.