I've been involved with Florida higher education since I was student-body president at Florida Technological University in the 1970s. The institution was smartly renamed the University of Central Florida, and I have since tried to serve UCF in many capacities, including as a charter member and chair of the Board of Trustees.
During the past 40 years FTU's cow pastures and dirt roads developed into UCF's world-class facilities. During the same time, I've seen UCF and other universities work tirelessly to meet the changing business needs of our region and state. We have worked hard to forge these partnerships that have been the fuel for this jewel in the economic engine of our community.
That's why the past few years, and this upcoming year specifically, have me so concerned about Florida higher education. Simply put, adequately funding universities must be an educational and economic priority for all of us.
Consider UCF, which faces a one-time $52.6 million state budget cut this year, on top of almost $100 million in permanent cuts from previous years. Unless something is done, students will see larger classes, fewer courses and professors, as well as graduation delays.