Former UCF President John Hitt dies at 82

ORLANDO, Fla. — Former University of Central Florida President John Hitt died Monday at the age of 82.


Hitt became UCF’s fourth president in 1992 and retired in 2018 -- the longest for any State University System president since the 1940s.

During his time as university president, UCF opened a College of Medicine in Lake Nona and an on-campus football stadium that was an early catalyst for UCF’s upcoming entry to the Big 12 Conference.

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Hitt also led UCF the opening of a new Rosen College of Hospitality Management campus in the heart of Orlando’s tourism corridor and the approvals for the downtown Orlando campus, which was established in partnership with Valencia College.

“During his tenure, UCF grew in academic quality, economic impact and national reputation as a new model for higher education,” the university said in a tribute.

John Hitt, President of the University of Central Florida has announced his retirement.

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Hitt awarded more than 260,000 degrees during his presidency.

“The path he has put UCF on will serve students and Florida for generations to come,” former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said in a statement provided by the school. “John fueled UCF’s impressive qualitative and quantitative growth by creating partnerships that many thought would fail.”

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He is survived by his wife, Martha Hitt, their two children, grandchildren and great grandson. Click here to read more about his legacy.

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Jason Kelly

Jason Kelly, WFTV.com

Jason Kelly joined WFTV Channel 9 in 2014. He serves as the station's Digital Executive Producer.