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Presidential Search

UT’s Board of Trustees is conducting a comprehensive, nationwide search with guidance from a search committee for a new president of the University.

Plant Hall minarets

Presidential Search

After a nearly 30-year tenure, University of Tampa President Ronald L. Vaughn announced on March 24, 2023, that he would retire from his position after the 2023-2024 academic year, on May 31, 2024.

The UT Board of Trustees invites nominations and applications for the position of the 11th president of The University of Tampa.

The UT Board of Trustees has hired the search firm WittKieffer to lead the national search for the institution’s president. The new president must have a passion for higher education, a strong understanding of academic and scholarly excellence, and the ability to motivate people to action, inspire engagement, build collaboration and develop potential. Nominations and inquiries can be directed to the WittKieffer team, Robin Mamlet, Amy Crutchfield and Ashlee Winters Musser, at

Connect with Search Firm

About UT

From the gleaming minarets of Plant Hall – Tampa’s signature National Historic Landmark – to the $950 million in new facilities and technology, The University of Tampa’s globally connected campus is the beating heart of a vibrant urban oasis.

Learn More About UT

Facts and Figures, 2023-2024

  • 10,900 estimated students enrolled for Fall 2023
  • 25 years of record enrollment since 1995
  • Approximately 50% of students from Florida
  • Students from 50 states and most of the world's countries
  • About 1,200 international students
  • A residentially-based campus with 12 residence halls
  • About 2,500 degrees conferred annually

Aerial view of campus

Key Updates

March 2023—May 2024

Date Event
Nov. 10 Global message from the chair of the Board of Trustees to the UT community: Presidential Search Update. Read Message from Nov. 10
May 25 Global message from the chair of the Board of Trustees to the UT community: Update in Next Steps of UT Presidential Search. Read Message from May 25
April 24 Global message from the chair of the Board of Trustees to the UT community: Update and Open Forums. Read Message from April 24
April 3 Global message sent from the chair of the Board of Trustees to the UT community. Read Message from April 3
March 24 President Ron Vaughn announces retirement. Press Release

FAQ on Search Process

Overall Questions

Q: I hear that Ron Vaughn is retiring as UT’s president. What’s the timeframe?

A: Vaughn’s tenure at the University will end May 31, 2024, the end of the 2023-2024 academic year.

Q: Has this been in the works for a while?

A: Vaughn has consistently discussed long-term plans with the Board of Trustees, and they agreed that this timeframe would give the University time to get a best-in-class leader as the new president.

Q: What will happen between now and then?

A: Vaughn will continue to lead the University until the retirement date, with a number of major projects on tap to be completed in the coming year. On a separate track, the UT Board of Trustees will run a national search to name his successor.

Q: Is there a way to quantify how UT ranks nationally?

A: UT is ranked in The Princeton Review’s annual list of best colleges, and only 15% of four-year colleges in the U.S. share this honor. Also, U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UT in the top tier of regional universities in the South, and the school is highly scored in rankings by Forbes, the Wall Street Journal and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance.

Q: How is the University doing financially?

A: The University’s financial success is driven by enrollment and by generating financial support from the community. Enrollment continues to set records, while Vaughn has fostered more community-based financial support than any UT president before him. Among many fundraising achievements, the University raised about $250 million in its first two comprehensive capital campaigns and is now midway through a third.

The Future

Q: What challenges will a new president face?

A: Certainly, any university is facing challenges in how best to thrive in the current inflationary environment, which impacts UT in a variety of ways. Beyond that, the challenge is to keep UT on its upward trajectory. Thankfully, the new leader will be taking over a University that has a very good market position and overall strategy, which enables it to succeed both academically and financially.

Q: Will the trustees name an interim president?

A: There is no need for that, given that Vaughn’s tenure does not end until May 2024, giving plenty of time to have a new president in place.

Q: What will the University be looking for in terms of a new president?

A: The Board of Trustees, working with a highly-regarded search firm, will focus on getting top candidates from around the country. The ideal candidate will have a strong academic background paired with significant leadership experience in the university setting.

Q: Who will be on the search committee? Will it include faculty? Staff? Students?

A: The Board of Trustees intends to include a broad representation of the campus community on the search committee.

Q: Are there any internal candidates?

A: The position opening will be promoted widely and a strong pool of external applicants will be developed. We expect a large number of external candidates and if there are internal candidates, they’ll be welcome to apply as well.

Q: What is the timeframe for having a new president in place?

A: It’s too early in the process to know that exactly, but the University is committed to ensuring a smooth transition.


There are four phases to a well-run, national presidential search.

  1. Pre-Launch (Spring 2023). The search starts with listening, and the search committee and UT's consultants will engage in listening sessions that will inform the presidential search process. These sessions will be held this spring (Spring 2023), and the search committee looks forward to hearing the critical input of this community. For those who would like to submit input via a questionnaire, in addition to or instead of attending a listening session, please visit the "Community Input" tab on this site.

  2. Recruitment (Summer 2023). A vigorous recruitment effort will take place, led by the University's consultants at WittKieffer. Recruitment will take place from late spring through the summer into early fall. The best way for the UT community to be involved with this stage is to submit any candidate suggestions to our search consultants. You can do this by visiting the "Nominations" tab on this site.

  3. Candidate Selection (Fall 2023). The search committee will vet and interview applicants throughout the fall and will recommend a slate of finalists to the executive committee of the board for its assessment and determination of a candidate of choice. During this time, a full examination and due diligence will be conducted on leading candidates.

  4. Announcement (Winter 2024). The announcement of a president-elect will be made. Then, throughout the spring the president-elect and President Vaughn will work together to affect a smooth transition.

New President Takes Office (Summer 2024).

Search Committee

  • Co-chair Charlotte Baker, Chair, Board of Trustees
  • Co-chair James Eyer Jr., Vice Chair, Board of Trustees
  • Lonnie Bryant, Ph.D., Professor of Finance
  • Patty Clark, Ph.D. ‘18, Member, Board of Trustees
  • Debra Cook, Member, Board of Trustees
  • Thomas Graham ‘82, Member, Board of Trustees
  • David Gudelunas Ph.D., Dean, College of Arts and Letters, and Professor of Communication
  • W. Michael Hendricks, Ed.D., Vice President for Strategic Enrollment Management
  • Kevin Lafferty, Vice President, Administration and Finance
  • Ruby Lefort-Rivas ‘24, Student Government President
  • Ryan Cragun Ph.D., President of the Faculty Senate, Co-director of the Honors Program, Professor of Sociology
  • James MacLeod ‘70, Immediate Past Chair, Board of Trustees
  • Steven Mauldin ‘90, Member, Board of Trustees
  • Mike Southard ‘82, Secretary, Board of Trustees
  • David Stern, Ph.D., Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Benson Riseman '78, former member, Board of Trustees

Nominate a Candidate

The Search Committee invites your nomination(s) for the next president of The University of Tampa. Your responses will be confidential.

Submit a Nomination

Community Input

The Search Committee is planning a series of open forums to gather community input on this critical transition. The goal for these sessions is to engage in a thoughtful conversation about UT's strengths, opportunities, culture and priorities, and ultimately, to contribute to defining the criteria that will be used in the recruitment of the next president. We hope that every member of the UT community will be able to participate, and we thank you in advance for sharing your valuable perspective.

Forums will be held via Zoom, for 50 minutes each.

Faculty: Thursday, Aug. 24, at 9 a.m.
Staff: Thursday, Aug. 24, at 10 a.m.
Students: Thursday, Aug. 24, at 11 a.m. 
All UT Community: Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 10 a.m. (Facilitated in a breakout room format).

Zoom links for each session will be sent via UT global email.

Your input can also be provided via a confidential questionnaire.

Submit Input — Questionnaire

Search Firm

The University of Tampa has engaged WittKieffer, a premier search and leadership advisory firm, to support this important search process. As experts in strategic leadership, WittKieffer has cultivated a proven and meaningful approach to executive search throughout its over 50-year history, specifically designed for the nonprofit sector and predominantly executed in coordination with organizations in the higher education, healthcare, academic medicine, life sciences and not-for-profit industries in pursuit of executive leadership.

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The University of Tampa is a private, residential university located on 110 acres on the riverfront in downtown Tampa.
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While many research opportunities are reserved for upperclassmen, the Spartan Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program provides a select group of first-year UT students an inquiry-based, hands-on head start to research.
The Ferman Center for the Arts
The Ferman Center for the Arts provides a creative and transformative space for the fine and performing arts. Students studying music, art, design, speech, theatre, dance, communication, philosophy and film enjoy four stories of a visual and acoustic showcase.
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The University of Tampa is home to the largest Ars Sonora® in the world and the first of its kind in the U.S.

Ars Sonora

The Ferman Center for the Arts, which opened Spring 2021, provides a creative and transformative space for the fine and performing arts.

Ferman Center for the Arts

The University of Tampa has a 92% student financial aid rate, with $97 million in institutional aid.

University Profile

The Ars Sonora sculpture reflects the importance of character and values, interfaith understanding and cultural literacy — all core tenets of the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values, and indeed, for the University as a whole.

Ars Sonora

The Benson Alex Riseman Aquatic Center is home to the Spartan Men’s and Women’s NCAA swim teams.

Riseman Aquatic Center