UCF President John Hitt announces retirement

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — After more than 25 years at the University of Central Florida President John C. Hitt announced his retirement Tuesday.

"Today, the time is right for me to retire," Hitt said in a post on UCF's website.

In a news release, it praised Hitt for growing UCF from a small, sleepy commuter school, to one of the largest universities in the country.

Hitt, who has been with the university since 1992, became choked up during a 2 p.m. news conference on announcing his decision to retire.

"I feel like I'm doing something that I've recognized must be done, and I hope I'm doing it with some style and grace," Hitt said.

Hitt said he's in good health and made the decision on his own, but the future was brought into focus when the school's vice president became a finalist for a job at Iowa State.

"It forced me to think about how I would discharge my duty as the president in finding his replacement," Hitt said.

The UCF board of trustees chairman will convene a search committee for Hitt’s replacement.

"I have some opinions, but I don't think it's proper for someone in my position to give advice to the community, if you will, on who will be chosen," Hitt told Channel 9's Michael Lopardi.

Hitt will retire at the end of the school year next year.

Watch Hitt's retirement announcement below: