Members of the UCF community gathered in the Pegasus Ballroom Wednesday, eager to hear Interim President Thad Seymour deliver the 2019 State of the University Address.
The speech — glittered with UCFisms and spoken in an accomplished tone — highlighted several of UCF’s achievements and offered perspective into the university’s future direction.
Here’s a summary and three takeaways from the address.
The search for UCF’s sixth president.
Wednesday was the interim president’s first, and likely last, address to the UCF community as president.
As the presidential search begins — for a university that has held three presidents within three years — Seymour offered a lure to all prospective applicants.
“You’re no doubt aware our trustees are embarking on a presidential search,” Seymour said. “But I just want to say to anyone listening that is considering applying: this is — bar none — the very best university job in the entire country.”
UCF Board of Trustees Chair Beverly Seay and the trustees are in the process of forming the Presidential Search Committee — a 15-member group that will be tasked with identifying presidential candidates for the Board of Trustees to consider for UCF’s highest office.
UCF Board of Trustees Vice Chair Alex Martin said the members of the search committee will be announced soon.
“More Noes and Bigger Yeses”
While UCF is excelling in many academic areas, Seymour acknowledged the university’s need to brand a narrower identity while in its younger years.
“One of the big questions that a 21st-century institution needs to ask itself … is what does it want to be known for?” Seymour said.
Seymour harped on the need to be more selective about the things it takes on and a concept he coined as “more noes and bigger yeses.”
“Our difficult task is to focus on that short list with the most potential and figure out how we invest in those even further to help them grow in the years ahead,” Seymour said.
“Strong, Bright and Limitless”
“The state of this university is strong, our future is bright, and our potential is limitless,” Seymour said as he concluded his speech.
Throughout the address, Seymour — the man tapped and tasked to steady the ship in the wake of the Trevor Colbourn Hall controversy, and the abrupt resignation of former President Dale Whittaker — made a point to highlight several of UCF’s academic and athletic accomplishments.
UCF Burnett Honors College incoming freshman class broke the record for average GPA and standardized test scores, boasting a 1465 SAT and 4.458 GPA, he said.
UCF’s student-athletes are also holding the highest GPAs in school history, Seymour said. All while being the only athletic department in the country where every sport has had a winning record for two years in a row.
Knight News caught up with Seymour after the address. Here’s his recap and what he said he’ll look back at most fondly.