Philip Wessel grew up in Severn, Maryland, and graduated from
Old Mill High School in 1980. After working full time and schooling
part time, Wessel enlisted in the Navy and reported to basic
training in Great Lakes, Illinois, in August of 1983. After a
26-year career in the Navy, Phil retired as a lieutenant commander,
and relocated to Orlando.
During his naval career, Wessel served in a variety of clinical
and administrative roles. He started as a physical therapy
technician, and it was during that time that he earned a Bachelor
of Science degree in health care management from Southern Illinois
In 1996, Wessel was selected for commissioning in the Medical
Service Corps as a healthcare administrator. For the next 13 years,
he held many different positions; he served as a company commander
/health services detachment commander and deployed to the Middle
East on the USS Denver (LPD-9). He also served as the head of the
human resources department at Naval Hospital Jacksonville, as the
group medical planner/medical support operations center officer in
charge while deployed to Iraq, and as the senior administrator for
the Branch Medical Clinic in Kings Bay, Georgia.
In 1999, he was accepted into the U.S. Army - Baylor University
graduate program in health administration and graduated in
Upon retirement from the Navy in 2009, Wessel relocated to
Orlando, where he served as the administrative officer for the
departments of medicine and surgery at the Orlando VA Medical
Center. In January 2012, he moved into a role as a senior
management specialist with the VA. In this role, he focused on
quality measures and standardization of procedures using the ISO
In August 2012, Wessel accepted a position as a full-time
faculty member in the UCF Department of Health Management and
Informatics. The following year he accepted the opportunity to
serve as the undergraduate program coordinator for the health
services administration program, where he continues to provide
academic and professional education, and mentoring, to more than
1,500 enrolled students. In April 2015, Phil was awarded the
Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award for the College of
Health and Public Affairs.
He has been married to Donna for 31 wonderful years and is the
proud father of two girls, Ashley and Jessica.
M.H.A., Master of Health Administration, Baylor University
The health care informatics master's program at UCF really helped me connect with the industry, meet people at conferences and sit for the most-desired certification exams."
— Michael Neimann, M.S. in health care informatics ('14)
My internship with the District 9 Medical Examiner’s Office was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I gained an excellent understanding of the medical examiner’s office and the criminal justice field in general."
— Adam Stubley, B.S. in criminal justice, criminal profiling certificate ('11)
UCF provides its physical therapy students with an excellent education and prepares them to work in the most challenging of settings."
— Jamie Dyson, Rehabilitation Supervisor, Orlando Regional Medical Center
UCF's program provided me the opportunity to expedite my student experience while attaining practical experience working within local health systems."
— Daniel Barr, V.P. at National Children's Hospital; M.S. in health sciences, health services administration track ('04)
My master's education helped me see the big picture of the nonprofit industry. UCF showed me how to see the different fundraising tools within the Central Florida area."
— Krysti Griffith, Executive Director of Growth from Grief; Master of Nonprofit Management ('12)
The course opened my eyes to grant writing ... I learned a great deal and you [Barbara Howell] are truly an excellent instructor."
— Deborah Reith, Master of Public Administration student who secured a $10,000 federal grant through a course project; B.S. in criminal justice ('86)
The skills I learned during my time at UCF are what made my transition to law school so seamless."
— Jacqueline Iaquinta, Touro Law Center student; B.S. in legal studies ('10)
As an inaugural graduate of the M.R.A. program at UCF, I can attest to the outstanding curriculum developed for research administrators. "
— April Heyward, Post Award Services Coordinator, University of South Carolina; Master of Research Administration ('13)
It was at UCF that I first learned many of the skills that I’ve since honed, including mapping with GIS software - an ability I found invaluable to my search for internships, graduate-level coursework, and employment."
— Richard "Ben" Hagen, Research and Communications Associate, New Economy Project, New York City; B.S. in public administration ('10)
I am excited to be able to give back to the program that invested so much in me. It is truly and honor and a privilege."
— Carlos Gual, Instructor of Athletic Training; B.S. in athletic training ('09)
The faculty advisor [at my medical school] was amazed that I had the opportunity to truly participate in the full spectrum of research as an undergraduate. "
— Chase Cavayero, medical student at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicince, B.S. in health sciences - pre-clinical ('13),