Board of Trustees elects new leaders

Two University of Central Florida alumni and longtime supporters are the new leaders of the UCF Board of Trustees.

Trustees elected Michael J. Grindstaff to serve a two-year term as chair of the board on Thursday and Trustee Olga Calvet to a two-year term as vice chair.

Grindstaff, of Winter Park, is a partner in Shutts & Bowen LLP’s Orlando office. His expertise has been well recognized. In 2005, former U.S. Senator Mel Martinez appointed Grindstaff to serve as statewide chair of the Florida Federal Judicial Nominating Commission. Grindstaff has served on the boards of the UCF Foundation and the UCF Athletics Association.

Calvet, of Orlando, is a financial officer of Palmas, Inc. She is a member of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She is active in her community and has also served as a Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commissioner and chair of the UCF Foundation. Calvet is a charter member of the UCF Board of Trustees.

Board members also awarded trustee emeritus status to former chair Rick Walsh and former vice chair Tom Yochum for their distinguished service to the university.

“The work that they did is pretty remarkable,” said Trustee Richard Crotty.

New Engineering Degree

The board approved a new Professional Science Master’s degree in Engineering Management that replaces an existing track within the Industrial Engineering master’s program.

Graduates will have the technical ability to run projects and business, regulatory and legal knowledge necessary to complete them. The one-of-a-kind program in Florida was created in partnership with Boeing, Siemens Power Generation, Walt Disney World, Harris Corporation, Lockheed Martin and Kennedy Space Center. The program will be available on the main campus as well as through some of the industry partners. The new degree program launches in the fall and is expected to grow to about 100 participants within five years.

Other Action

Recognizing his outstanding work as president, the board approved changes to President John C. Hitt’s employment agreement. The board voted to extend the length of the agreement by nearly 1 ½ years to June 2016.

Since Hitt arrived at UCF in 1992, enrollment has more than doubled and research funding has reached more than $133 million a year. An influential leader, he planned and won approval for UCF’s new medical school. It is the centerpiece at Lake Nona’s burgeoning medical city, which has attracted the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Nemours Children’s Hospital, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Orlando and a flagship Veteran’s Administration Hospital.

Trustees also listened to an update about the proposed College of Dental Medicine. A report with the school’s proposal is due in September to the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the state’s 11 public universities. Trustees, who approved plans for the college in July, unanimously supported a resolution emphasizing that the college would be built and operated “permanently” without state money.

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