Catanese Announces Retirement Plans; McCay Named Successor

Florida Tech president will retire June 30, 2016

MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Institute of Technology President and CEO Anthony J. Catanese publicly announced today that he will retire from the university’s top leadership post next year, after 14 years of service. Catanese will officially conclude his tenure as president June 30, 2016.

“Serving as the president of this wonderful university has been one of the proudest accomplishments of my career,” Catanese said. “Florida Tech’s rise to prominence is truly exciting, and certainly ongoing. This is a very special place, made so by the people—the faculty, staff, students and alumni—who care deeply about the university and its mission.”

Florida Tech Board of Trustees Chairman Phillip W. Farmer announced that Executive Vice President and COO T. Dwayne McCay has been appointed to succeed Catanese as president and CEO.

“Dr. Catanese has been the right leader at the right time in the evolution of Florida Tech,” Farmer said. “His legacy will be one of unparalleled growth and success. We have every expectation that Dr. McCay will extend that success, providing important continuity while exploring new areas of achievement.”

Over the next year, Catanese and McCay will work closely with the Board of Trustees to coordinate a transition process. Catanese plans to continue as a member of the Florida Tech faculty following his retirement, serving as a university research professor.

“Dr. Catanese makes no small plans,” McCay said. “His vision has helped us to achieve international recognition, and to achieve it relatively quickly. I look forward to continuing the important work that he started.”

When Catanese arrived at Florida Tech in July 2002, the campus was poised for growth. And, fresh from a dozen years as president of Florida Atlantic University, Catanese was ready for new challenges.

By the end of 2003, Catanese had assembled an administrative team including McCay as provost and chief academic officer. The goal was clear—elevate the high-quality institution from one of regional respect to one of international acclaim.

Florida Tech earns numerous educational accolades annually, and is currently recognized as a Tier 1 Best National University by U.S. News and World Report. It is also honored as one of the top 200 universities in the world by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

The university has expanded in key areas under Catanese’s leadership, increasing the number of students served from approximately 3,600 in 2002 to more than 16,000 today. Revenues have risen from $73 million to $233 million. Athletics has grown to 22 varsity teams, including football and lacrosse. The endowment has more than doubled, to $66 million. A music program was added. The Ruth Funk Center for Textile Arts— the only textiles center of its kind in the state—was created. The former Brevard Art Museum merged with the university, giving the longtime community resource a fresh mission as the Foosaner Art Museum.

Funding the future of the only independent, technological institute in the Southeast has been integral to Catanese’s vision. Florida Tech’s Golden Anniversary in 2008 provided the perfect platform to launch a $50 million capital campaign that ultimately raised $60 million. New scholarships were added, and facilities like the Harris Center for Science and Engineering, the Scott Center for Autism Treatment, Panther Aquatic Center and Panther Dining Hall were built.

The university’s $100 million Create the Future capital campaign will conclude next year. Key gifts have included additional monies to support the university endowment as well as a $1 million gift to build the Harris Student Design Center.

Catanese has been a community leader as well. He is a past chairman of the board of the United Way of Brevard, as well as the 2006 campaign chair, and has served on several local boards including the Maxwell C. King Center, Henegar Center, Leadership Brevard, and Central Florida Partnership.

During his career, Catanese is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Chief Executive Leadership Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, Trailblazer Award from Rotary International, Diversity Champion Award from the Urban League, Outstanding College President’s Award from the All-American Football Foundation, Golden Eagle Award from the Boy Scouts of America, Junior Achievement Hall of Fame, Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame, and Space Coast Business Leader. He is a member of the Florida Institute of Technology Sports Hall of Fame and the Eckerd Brevard Walk of Fame.

Catanese is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners (FAICP) and holds a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University, a master’s degree from New York University and a doctoral degree from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He and his wife, Sara, plan to continue residing in South Brevard, staying involved in community affairs and helping raise their three grandsons.

In his current leadership role, McCay is responsible for all academic, research and student matters, including athletics. He came to Florida Tech July 1, 2003 from the University of Tennessee, where he was the vice president for research and information technology and served as the Chief Research Officer and Chief Information Officer for all units of the university.

Florida Tech Executive Vice President and COO T. Dwayne McCay.
Florida Tech Executive Vice President and COO T. Dwayne McCay.

Earlier, as a vice president at the University of Tennessee, he served as CEO of the Space Institute; professor, Engineering Science and Mechanics; adjunct professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering; program chairman, Engineering Science and Mechanics; chairman of the Center for Laser Applications; and principal investigator, NASA Spacelab Experiment and several projects on laser processing of materials.

Previously McCay was at NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. There in the Structures and Propulsion Laboratory, he was chief of the Propulsion Division; branch chief of Turbomachinery and Combustions Devices Branch and of the Propulsion Analysis Branch; and senior aerospace engineer of the Auxiliary Propulsion Branch. He and his wife, Mary Helen McCay, who holds a Ph.D. in Metallurgical Engineering and was a decorated NASA engineer early in her career, reside in Melbourne. Together, they hold 18 patents based on their materials processing research.

For a timeline and photo gallery of the Catanese administration, visit


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