On March 1, 2017, we celebrated Dr. Hitt’s 25th anniversary as president of this great university. Speakers such as Orange County Mayor, Orlando Mayor, SGA President, Faculty Senate Chair, and a longtime UCF staff member spoke of Dr. Hitt’s contributions to UCF and the entire Central Florida region.
In this April 2017 edition of the IntegrityStar featuring the theme of respecting others, we thought it would be most appropriate to recognize Dr. Hitt for his commitment to diversity and inclusion, and his commitment to integrity.
There is no surprise that Dr. Hitt is committed to diversity and inclusion. We all know because it’s been one of the five goals he set out for the university when he became president. What we may not have noticed was the recent milestone achieved because of that goal. UCF set a record for diversity in fall 2016: 44.6 percent of our students are minorities and 23.8 percent are Hispanic (https://www.ucf.edu/about-ucf/facts/).
“While I have learned many things during my tenure as president, one stands above all others: No one succeeds on his or her own,” Dr. Hitt said. “You – UCF’s talented and dedicated faculty and staff members – are the reason our university has become a destination of choice for the best and brightest students, colleagues, and partners. Together, we have created a culture in which we do more than wish for success. We plan for it, then make it happen.”
Planning for something and making it happen – that’s how Dr. Hitt achieved success in diversity and inclusion. He devoted staff to this mission, and through the joint efforts of this great community, we have seen remarkable progress. The same is true of Dr. Hitt’s commitment to integrity. It may not appear as one of the five goals of the university, but that is because it is a minimum expectation, not a goal. Dr. Hitt’s commitment to integrity is evident by his commissioning of the UCF Creed. It is no accident that the very first word is integrity.
Creating a culture of integrity doesn’t happen overnight. It was 25-years in the making, 25-years in modeling the behaviors expected. You know that old saying that actions speak louder than words? Dr. Hitt’s commitment to integrity is reflected in his actions, including his decision to dedicate a department within the Office of the President, devoted exclusively to compliance and ethics. In May 2011, Dr. Hitt appointed the university’s first chief compliance and ethics officer and tasked her with developing and implementing a comprehensive compliance and ethics program at UCF. Because of Dr. Hitt, we now have an anonymous reporting line to report concerns of employee misconduct without the fear of retaliation and a policy that prohibits retaliation for employee who submit concerns in good faith. Because of Dr. Hitt, employees have been given a voice to share their thoughts and concerns about acting with integrity in UCF’s first compliance and ethics culture survey. And, because of Dr. Hitt, we can focus an entire edition of this IntegrityStar on a theme that resonates with all of us; respecting others.
Thank you, Dr. Hitt, for your leadership, and for your 25-years committed to integrity.
If you catch someone doing the right thing, write to us and tell us about it. Who knows, maybe they will be featured in our next IntegrityStar edition.