ORLANDO, Fla. — After a six-month search, UCF trustees on Friday announced their choice to be the university's sixth president.

Alexander J. Cartwright, chancellor of the University of Missouri, was unanimously confirmed by the Florida Board of Governors during a virtual meeting on Wednesday.

Cartwright is expected to start on April 13.

"Dr. Cartwright is an accomplished scholar with a history of strong leadership at a number of universities, including his current role as chancellor of the University of Missouri, where he has tackled a number of challenges,’’ Board of Trustees Chairwoman Beverly Seay said in a previous statement. 

The university began its search for a new president last fall, which included 20 listening sessions and open forums on UCF campuses with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members. Cartwright was chosen over the other finalist, Cato Laurencin of the University of Connecticut.

He takes over leadership of one of the nation's largest universities from interim President Thad Seymour, who took over after the resignation of President Dale Whittaker in February 2019.

Whittaker resigned amid a state investigation into a spending scandal that focused on the $38 million Trevor Colburn Hall. Although longtime president John Hitt was still in charge of the university in 2014-2016, when most hall construction funds were allocated, Whittaker was UCF provost at the time and recommended that Hitt approve allocating some money for hall renovation.

UCF trustees later bought out Whittaker's contract for $600,000 and revoked payments to Hitt for work he was supposed to do for the school after retirement.

Originally from the Bahamas, Cartwright earned a bachelor’s degree and a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering from the University of Iowa. He's also a professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department at the University of Missouri’s College of Engineering. 

Cartwright also was formerly provost and executive vice chancellor for the State University of New York.