Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer won't pursue UCF presidency

click to enlarge Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer won't pursue UCF presidency
Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer announced Tuesday he won't seek the presidency at the University of Central Florida and will instead run for a fifth term in 2019.

"During the last several years, whenever conversation about the future of UCF has come up, my name has come up as a potential candidate for presidency of the university," he says. "I have said if there was one opportunity that might entice me in the future to leave the best job in America as mayor of Orlando, it might be the presidency of UCF … [but] I have come to the conclusion that it is in the best interest of our community and my best interests that I continue to be mayor."

UCF President John C. Hitt surprised many last week when he said he was retiring in June 2018 after holding the position for almost 26 years. Dyer says he was caught off-guard by Hitt's announcement and has since received many messages expressing support for him if he decided to pursue the job.

"I will not seek the presidency of UCF, but I am going to announce my intention to run for re-election in 2019 for mayor of Orlando," Dyer says. "It is the best job in America, and I have the good fortune of being able to serve the citizens in the most dynamic city in America."

Dyer, who has been Orlando's mayor since 2003, cited ongoing projects like the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, Creative Village and the expansion of SunRail to the airport as some of his reasons to continue in the position.

"I'm energized every single day," he says. "I love this job."

Dyer added that he took himself out of the running for the position because he didn't want to intimidate other potential qualified candidates. Orlando's mayor also said the 2016 attack at the gay nightclub Pulse that left 49 dead also influenced his decision.

"I think Pulse has affected everything in our lives in every way," Dyer says. "I couldn't be more proud of our city and our citizens and how we responded. I said that the very first day that we wouldn't be defined by the hateful act of a demented killer, but we would be defined by our response – and that response has been love and compassion and unity. So in a sense, Pulse affected me because I was so proud to be the mayor of this community and I want to continue in that role."

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