After months of silence, ex-UCF Alumni Association Director Tom Messina took to Facebook Monday to announce the next chapter in his life.
Michelle Messina Yates posted in the "#BringMessinaBack" Facebook page on behalf of her dad. Messina announced that he has accepted a position with Junior Achievement of Central Florida, a local nonprofit that "empowers young people to own their economic success, plan for their future and make smart academic and economic choices," according to its website. He will serve as the Vice President for Development.
"As much as we all wanted UCF to bring me back, it looks like that ship has sailed, and it is time to move on," he wrote.
Monday marked Messina's last day of a six-month special assignment — and employment — with UCF. Serving as Alumni Association director since December 1992, the UCF alumnus was dismissed in December for speaking out during a meeting.
"Your unprofessional and inappropriate comments to the division-wide team last week once again found you crossing the line in an insubordinate way," former UCF Foundation President Robert Holmes wrote in an email. "I can no longer count on you to lead the alumni relations staff and the Alumni Association in a professional manner." In a separate email, Holmes claimed Messina had a track record for making critical comments about decisions made by the Foundation.
Soon after Messina was dismissed, and a cryptic email sent out to members of the Alumni Association, the "#BringBackMessina" Facebook group emerged. Created by UCF alumnus and lifelong friend of Messina, James Lineberger, the group has racked up nearly 900 members.
In his post, Messina acknowledged that many Alumni Association members have claimed they will no longer donate to UCF — something for which he said he cannot advocate. However, he did encourage members to donate to Junior Achievement.
His parting words thanked the group members for their support during his dismissal.
"You have all championed for me, and I won't forget that," he wrote. "Know that it is because of all of you, that I gave my heart and soul to UCF. I don't regret a second of that time."
UCF's Alumni Association director position has yet to be filled.
Caroline Glenn is the Content Manager at the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter @bycarolineglenn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.