The following research was conducted by Sabrina Sawhney in 2020 and is used with her permission. Images are courtesy of UCF Special Collections & University Archives.
Burnett House has been home to the University of Central Florida’s presidents since its construction in 1997. The 8,500 square foot home was originally constructed during Dr. John C. Hitt’s presidency and was completed in 20 months. The home is located on the west side of campus near Alafaya Trail. 1 It was built with funds from the University of Central Florida Foundation, as well as donations from Al and Nancy Burnett, which is how the president’s house received its name. Two architects, Bernie Johnson and Robert A. Harris both from the Orlando area, worked on the one-story, 23-room home. Many other individuals played an important role in making Burnett House a home, not just for Dr. and Mrs. Hitt, but also for the future presidents of the university. These people included the contractor, Don Jernigan, and the interior designer, Berta Hall. 2
Besides a private residence, Burnett House was also designed as a place where UCF presidents could hold events and dinner parties up to 200 guests. Burnett House has three kitchens, including one for catering events. A cordless microphone system, connected to speakers throughout the house, gave Dr. Hitt and the presidents who came after him the ability to give speeches and be heard by everyone throughout Burnett House during special events. 3 Since Dr. Hitt’s retirement in June 2018, Burnett House has been home to Dr. Dale Whittaker and his wife, Mary as well as Dr. Alexander Cartwright and his wife, Melinda.4,5 Interim President Thad Seymour and his wife Katie opted not to move into the house. 6
- James, Joni. "UCF President Gets A New Address." The Orlando Sentinel. February 9, 1998. https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-1998-02-09-9802090307-story.html.
- James, Joni. “A Private Home and Public Hall.” The Orlando Sentinel. May 16, 1998. https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-1998-05-16-9805140695-story.html.
- James, Joni. “A Private Home and Public Hall.” The Orlando Sentinel. May 16, 1998. https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-xpm-1998-05-16-9805140695-story.html
- Brezine, Veronica. “Here's what UCF's Dale Whittaker will earn as the school's new president.” Orlando Business Journal. March 14, 2018. https://www.bizjournals.com/orlando/news/2018/03/14/heres-what-ucfs-dale-whittaker-will-earn-as-the.html.
- Martin, Annie. “New UCF president could get $600K annual pay.” The Orlando Sentinel. March 24, 2020. https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-ne-ucf-cartwright-contract-20200324-lqygvfopunhofgx54mwtzdcd3m-story.html.
- Martin, Anne. “Thad Seymour: From 'game-changing' project to leading UCF.” The Orlando Sentinel. March 31, 2019. href="https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/education/os-ne-ucf-thad-seymour-20190325-story.html.