UPDATE: The UCF Board of Trustees voted 7-3 on Thursday to accept the resignation of Dr. Dale Whittaker as President of the University.
Vice Provost Thad Seymour will serve as interim president. A search for the university’s next president will begin immediately.
Thank you for always putting UCF and our students first, @UCFWhittaker. Together, Knight Nation will #ChargeOn.— UCF (@UCF) February 21, 2019
UCF President Dale Whittaker offered his resignation to the university’s Board of Trustees on Tuesday in the wake of a state investigation into the school administration’s misuse of $85 million in funds.
Whittaker announced the news via Twitter:
Leadership is about making choices. As a leader, you hope the choices you make do the most good for the most people. Though the issues surrounding TCH have been complicated, knowing the right thing to do has been easy: find problems, fix them, and always tell truth. 1/4— Dale Whittaker (@UCFWhittaker) February 19, 2019
I have never wavered in my efforts to completely address every challenge. However, despite my work to find and solve these problems, it has been made clear to me that for UCF to succeed with our state leaders, new leadership is required. 2/4— Dale Whittaker (@UCFWhittaker) February 19, 2019
I have offered my resignation as president to the BOT. I do so with the conviction that I have always acted with integrity. And am doing this so the relationship between UCF and the Legislature can be renewed to best serve our incredible students, faculty, staff & community 3/4— Dale Whittaker (@UCFWhittaker) February 19, 2019
My full note to our amazing campus community is here: https://t.co/VeLkN55VW8 4/4— Dale Whittaker (@UCFWhittaker) February 19, 2019
Reaction from local leaders:
“In his offer to resign, Dr. Whittaker is putting the interests of our students and the University above his own.”— Matt Lupoli (@mattlupoli) February 19, 2019
UCF Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Garvy has sent a letter of his own to the rest of the board.
His full letter: pic.twitter.com/SSjuIv4P5q
It's not clear what the Legislature's end-game with UCF actually is.— Scott Maxwell (@Scott_Maxwell) February 19, 2019
Speaker Oliva just described Whittaker's resignation as merely "a major step," going on to say: "there are several who shoulder more of the blame" https://t.co/lhhP2YEuQI
.@UCF used the wrong money to build a classroom. They investigated, restructured, put new measures in place and accepted responsibility since day one. That was never good enough for Tallahassee......1/3— Rep. Carlos G Smith (@CarlosGSmith) February 19, 2019
President Whittaker resigned to protect @UCF.— Rep. Anna V. Eskamani (@AnnaForFlorida) February 19, 2019
My only hope is that the Florida Legislature moves on from attacking UCF & instead applies the same passion for transparency to private corporations, too.
To my family of Knights: stay strong and united. We will get through this. https://t.co/ecqc7J18pt
While the fallout from this will in all likelihood continue, it remains to be seen how it will affect UCF’s athletic department.
Whittaker, like his predecessor John Hitt, was a fervent supporter of the UCF Knights’ athletic program and was very active within the student community.
So far, no official word from the UCF Athletic Department has been released.
The Board of Trustees has yet to formally accept Whittaker’s resignation. However, it is expected the university will begin its search for a new president immediately.
This story has been updated.