(From left to right) Christina Barreto, Nick Larkins, President John C. Hitt, Josh Bolona, and Jad Shalhoub. Photo by Rahma Hassan.

The State University System of Florida Board of Governors honored UCF President John C. Hitt yesterday for his achievements at the end of the Board of Governors meeting, where UCF’s 2018 accountability plan was approved.

Current and former student body president and vice presidents — Josh Bolona, Jad Shalhoub, Nick Larkins and Christina Barreto — presented Hitt with a plaque as recognition of his achievements by past and present students. Bolona made a statement before presenting the plaque.

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“Your philosophy of creating accessible high-quality education is one of the foundations of your success in serving the student body,” Bolona said.

UCF Board of Trustees member Marcos Marchena mentioned some of the achievements that Hitt accomplished during his tenure.

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“Under Doctor Hitt’s remarkable leadership… UCF has become a major metropolitan research university of global impact and a national model of excellence affordability and innovation,” Marchena said.

Larkins, who served as SGA president during the 2017–2018 school year, could hardly hold back tears as he talked about Hitt’s departure.

“It donned on me during my drive here this morning that this might be the last time that I ever see you and Mrs. Hitt. You’ve touched hundreds of thousands of lives, you have touched me in a very special way. It is the honor of my life to be the student lucky enough to serve besides you during your last year in office,” Larkins said.

Hitt made a statement at the end of the ceremony thanking them for the recognition and reaffirming his confidence in UCF’s new president, Dale Whitaker. He also wanted to make sure his legacy of growing UCF continues.

“If there’s anything I’ve learned in 26 years as president it’s that our greatest danger isn’t to dream too large, but to dream too small. Our greatest limitations are what we put for ourselves. Let’s all keep reaching for the stars,” Hitt said.

As Hitt left from his last official function as president, students, faculty, band members, cheerleaders and Knightro cheered him on and held signs that read, “You’re Simply the best,” and “Hitt Squad Forever.”