Any university with a new president expects a bigger and brighter future. But, in 1992, no one at the University of Central Florida—including its new president, John C. Hitt—anticipated the growth in stature and quality to come at UCF over the next two decades. The university has emerged as one of America’s great success stories in higher education since Dr. Hitt started at UCF on March 1, 1992. At that time, UCF’s enrollment ranked 115th in the nation and fifth in Florida. Today, UCF stands as the nation’s second-largest university and Florida’s largest. And UCF has become a major metropolitan research university of global significance. (9 photos total)

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    1“If there is anything I have learned in 20 years, it is that our greatest danger is not to dream too large, but to dream too small. At UCF, we dream big. Our greatest limitations are those we place on ourselves.” – President Hitt

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    2After the president’s comments, Olga Calvet, vice chair of the Board of Trustees, presented the Hitts with a bouquet of yellow Pegasus roses and framed side-by-side aerial maps of the campus taken in 1992 and 2012.

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    3Dr. Hitt talks with faculty, staff, students and friends after the Church Street event in downtown Orlando.

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    4The UCF community gave President Hitt a heartfelt thank you during a reception honoring his 20th anniversary at the helm of the university.

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    5The president added that the steady pursuit of the university’s goals has defined the UCF of today. The greatest catalyst for the school’s success, he said, is the goal “to be America’s leading partnership university.”

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    6“If you are fortunate enough to head a large and dynamic organization, people tend to credit you for much of the good that happens. And, while such praise can be flattering, allow me to set the record straight. The achievements at UCF that coincide with my tenure have far more to do with you than with anything I could ever do.” – President Hitt

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    7Dr. Hitt also thanked his wife of 50 years, Martha, for her many contributions to the university and for being his “best adviser and the greatest joy of my life.”

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    8Family, friends, faculty and friends, both in person and in video messages, praised the service and dedication of the president, who led the university to national prominence as enrollment grew from 22,000 to more than 58,500 during the past two decades.

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