ORLANDO, FLORIDA – University of Central Florida President Dale Whittaker resigned Tuesday after Florida Rep. Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) sharply criticized the school after an investigation into misspent operational funds.
Fine made his comments during the Feb. 13 House Higher Education Appropriations subcommittee meeting,
“I believe that we are stewards of taxpayer money and we are obligated not to fund organizations that refuse to steward that money in an appropriate way,” said Fine.
“If it was a private business that I owned, I would shut it down.”
It was discovered last September that $38 million in state funds were illegally used to construct Trevor Colbourn Hall.
Further investigation has revealed additional violations of more than $84 million in state operating funds that either were spent or set to be spent on other construction projects.
According to state regulation, the funds were earmarked to be used only for activities such as instruction, research, libraries, student services or maintenance.
Whittaker was elected president by the Board of Trustees on March 9, 2018, following a national search. He was confirmed by the Board of Governors and took office July 1 of last year.
Prior to being elected president, Whittaker was UCF’s provost and executive vice president. Before coming to UCF in 2014, Whittaker served in multiple faculty and leadership positions at Purdue and Texas A&M universities for more than 25 years.
“I have never wavered in my efforts to completely address every aspect of these challenges,” said Whittaker.
“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 in the future, new leadership is required.”
The UCF Board of Trustees will hold a special meeting, at a date and time to be determined, to consider accepting President Whittaker’s resignation.
“In his offer to resign, Dr. Whittaker is putting the interests of our students and the University above his own,” said UCF Board of Trustees Chairman Robert Garvy.