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UCF President Resigns Over Misspending Of Funds

UCF's Dale Whittaker. Whittaker announced his resignation Feb. 19. / Photo: UCF
UCF's Dale Whittaker. Whittaker announced his resignation Feb. 19. / Photo: UCF

University of Central Florida President Dale Whittaker has resigned. Whittaker is the latest high-profile employee to lose their job over the misspending of more than $38 million to replace Trevor Colbourn Hall.

So far, UCF’s chief financial officer Bill Merck, and board chair Marcos Marchena have resigned.

In his letter of resignation to the chair of the board of trustees, Whittaker said his goal had been to "repair and restore the public's full trust and confidence in UCF, and do everything in his power to begin healing the relationships between UCF and our funding partners in the legislative and executive branches of state government."

He said it was made clear to him that new leadership was needed.

Whittaker last month announced that four employees working underneath the CFO would also be fired after an outside investigation was complete.

"I think he did the right thing by resigning," said Chuck Green, and attorney representing the four employees. "I hope this gives everyone else pause to maybe look back at his decision to four these four people.”

José Oliva, the speaker for the Florida House of Representatives, said in a statement that Whittaker had taken a major step towards repairing the relationship between UCF and the legislature by resigning.

Auditors discovered last year that the $38 million used to build the new Trevor Colbourn Hall came from state money that specifically can’t be used for new construction. In total, the university illegally spent or planned to spend nearly $85 million on Trevor Colbourn Hall and other projects.

Whittaker was scheduled to appear Tuesday before an ethics committee in the Florida House of Representatives that is also investigating the issue.

In a statement, UCF board of trustees chairman Robert Garvey said he will call a special meeting to address Whittaker's offer of resignation and the next steps for the board.
In his offer to resign, Dr. Whittaker is putting the interests of our students and the University above his own. I am grateful for his willingness to subordinate those interests to the needs of our students, our two hundred and eighty thousand graduates, and tens of thousands of businesses, organizations, and entities that rely on UCF’s talent and significant economic impact.