Honoring the Life of Former Associate Dean Haven Sweet

Haven Sweet

Friends, Colleagues Remember Former Associate Dean as Warm, Caring

A former College of Sciences associate dean and longtime biology professor who won hearts for his warm nature and passion for serving students died at the end of 2022 after a long illness. He was 80 years old.

Professor Haven Sweet, Ph.D., joined then Florida Technological University as a biology professor, after three years at the NASA Quarantine Program. He quickly gained attention and friends for his dedication to providing quality education.

His longtime friend and colleague Maggie LeClair connected him to another UCF major player, President Emeritus Charles Millican, Ph.D..

“They were both probably the most deliberative men I’ve ever met in my life. They were men who wanted to make sure that things were done properly. They epitomized good education,” LeClair said.

In the classroom, Sweet took the time to know students.

His widow Rocky Thomas recalls the measures he took: “Just to take interest in the students and any problems or anything that they’re dealing with. He was aware of stuff like that, and that made a difference to him in the way he approached his class.”

Sweet would go on to become the Undergraduate Associate Dean of the then-College of Arts and Sciences and eventually Associate Dean of College of Sciences. Here, he was able to apply his skills in new ways to improve student life.

Former Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Jack McGuire worked with Sweet during this time.

“I was always amazed that this biologist was such a gifted computer whiz,” said McGuire. “His main responsibility as an associate dean was to oversee the Undergraduate and Graduate Curriculum and the College Advising Center.”

To increase the efficiency of course planning, Sweet programmed a database that tracked every course in the colleges, “an amazing feat” according to McGuire.

Associate Dean Teresa Dorman worked alongside Sweet when he was Undergraduate Dean for the College of Sciences. She credited him as an outspoken voice for the needs of the college.

“He never hesitated to speak up or share his thoughts or concerns on topics about which he knew aplenty,” said Dorman. “It was shortly after I started working with him as a fellow ‘deanlet’ that I found my strongest voice as an advocate for our college – our faculty, staff, advisors, and students.”

When it came to wisdom, Sweet was a common source, always having his door open to offer any advising.

“He was the senior member of our Dean’s office administrative group and his calm; competent style was something I wanted to emulate in my work and interactions with faculty, staff and students in the college,” said McGuire.

Before coming to UCF, Sweet worked at NASA shortly after the first successful launch to the Moon. He was tasked with researching whether plants could be grown in the moon dust samples collected from the Apollo Missions. 

In retirement, he pursued photography and spontaneous travel with Thomas by his side.

Donations may be made in Haven’s Sweet’s honor to the College of Sciences General Scholarship Fund.  Please go to the UCF Foundation Link:

UCF Foundation | Give Now – Select College of Sciences – Scholarships – College of Sciences Scholarship Fund – Choose Amount – In Memory – Haven Sweet

Please contact Maggie LeClair – Margaret.LeClair@ucf.edu or 407-353-5670 for Rocky’s address so she may be copied on gift.

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