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Knights Play Santa for the Troops

(PHOTO: foxsports.com)

PHOTO: foxsports.com

Just as they did for the Fiesta Bowl last year, UCF fans once again reached a little deeper into their pockets and shared their holiday spirit with the troops, buying extra tickets for the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl, which will be donated to military personnel in the Bay area.

In fact, Knights were so generous, they helped reach the maximum of 100 tickets, which will be given to service men and women stationed at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa.

Fans also helped UCF sell out its two allotments of game tickets in less than a week.

The Knights take on the N.C. State Wolfpack at 8 p.m. on Dec. 26 at Tropicana Field, which is only 18 miles from the MacDill base.

Happy Holidays! Go Knights! Go USA!

More Info

Official UCF Tailgate Party and other bowl festivities:
ucfalumni.com/bowlbound

Tickets:
StPetersburgBowl.com

Alumna Takes Manhattan

Jessica Lomasson, ’12 | Senior Copywriter, Geometry Global

JessicaLomasson-headshot

Alumni association student intern Daniela Marin sat down with advertising-public relations alumna Jessica Lomasson, ’12, when she spoke to the UCF Ad Club in November, discussing the importance of networking with fellow Knights, how she stays involved with her alma mater, her advice to students for breaking into the advertising industry, and more. WATCH THE VIDEO

More than 5,000 to Graduate at Fall 2014 Ceremonies

graduation

By Gene Kruckemyer

More than 5,000 University of Central Florida students are expected to graduate Dec. 12-13 during three commencement ceremonies at the CFE Arena.

The ceremonies will be:

  • Friday, Dec. 12, 9 a.m.
    • College of Education and Human Performance
    • College of Health and Public Affairs
    • Rosen College of Hospitality Management
  • Friday, Dec. 12, 2:30 p.m.
    • College of Arts and Humanities
    • College of Graduate Studies
    • College of Nursing
    • College of Sciences
    • Office of Undergraduate Studies
  • Saturday, Dec. 13, 9 a.m.
    • College of Business Administration
    • College of Engineering and Computer Science
    • College of Medicine
    • College of Optics and Photonics (CREOL)

Doors open 90 minutes before the ceremonies, and graduates begin processing 20 minutes before the ceremonies, which are expected to last about two hours each.

The Friday morning speaker will be Alan Ginsburg, a real estate developer who founded The CED Companies, which has built more than 85,000 affordable apartment residences. He is active in many professional and charitable organizations, and his philanthropic contributions have benefited causes all over Central Florida, including The UCF College of Medicine Capital Campaign. The college’s Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library is named in honor of his late wife. During the ceremonies, Ginsburg will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Public Service.

The Friday afternoon speaker will be Rick Walsh, ’77, a founding member of the UCF Board of Trustees and a former senior vice president for corporate affairs of Darden Restaurants. Today he is president of the KnobHill Group, a strategic counseling and development company. He received the 1985 UCF Distinguished Alumnus Award and has served on the UCF Foundation board for more than 10 years. During the ceremonies, Walsh will be awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Commercial Science.

The Saturday speaker will be Beverly J. Seay, a business executive in the Central Florida modeling and simulation industry for more than 25 years and a member of the UCF Board of Trustees since last year. She also serves as a board member on the Florida High Tech Corridor Council and on the Steering Committee of the UCF Downtown Campus. She chairs the dean’s advisory board for the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science, and has helped to establish the UCF Women in Science and Engineering program.

Of the 5,067 students who filed an intent to graduate, there are 4,308 seeking bachelor’s degrees, 659 master’s degrees, three education specialist degrees, 11 educational doctoral degrees, 80 Ph.D.s, and six Doctor of Nursing Practice.

With these expected graduations, UCF will have awarded 271,257 degrees since classes began in 1968.

Each guest attending the ceremonies, including children and infants, must have a ticket to enter the arena. Tickets are available from graduates. Guests who do not have tickets can view a live telecast of the ceremony via closed circuit television at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center, Student Union and on Campus Cable Channel 21.

Parking for guests will be available in garages C, D and H.

MORE DETAILS

UCF Students Break Holiday Record in 48 Hours

KnightsPantry

By Zenaida Kotala

In between slurping coffee to stay awake, meeting with study groups and pulling all nighters to get ready for final exams, University of Central Florida students took time out to help one another and break a food-drive record.

In less than 48 hours students dropped off 1,050 pounds of food at the Student Union to be donated to the on-campus Knights Helping Knights Pantry. The drive began Dec. 1 and ends today.  So far, more than 1,300 pounds have been collected. Last year’s record was 1,000 pounds.

Students organized the food drive to help keep the food pantry stocked during the holiday break.  The pantry began as a class project in a first-year LEAD Scholars course in 2009. The organizers never wanted students to have to choose between a meal and a textbook, so they worked hard to get the pantry started.

The pantry’s first home was a closet space in the Student Union. Today it fills an entire suite in Ferrell Commons attached to the All Knight Study facility there. The Student Union, Student Government Association and generous community donors support the pantry.

Students have access to the pantry Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can select up to five food items per day. For the past few years the Student Union has organized Study Union. During that time the union and other locations remain open 24/7 so students can get ready for finals. Union coordinators plan events and programming to reward diligent students and to promote happiness and healthy study habits. The food drive was added to help keep the shelves at the pantry stocked.

This year, students received a free Study Union T-shirt in exchange for their donation. More than 210 shirts were given away in 24 hours, and when coordinators ran out of shirts, they resorted to giving away union water bottles.

The Knights Pantry accepts donations year-round.

MORE INFO

Orlando’s University

New website provides all the info you need to know about UCF’s downtown expansion

downtownOrlando-web

Lake Eola reflects the heart of downtown Orlando

In September, UCF President John Hitt announced that the university will move forward with plans for an expanded downtown campus to enhance educational opportunities for students and stimulate downtown Orlando.

Hitt described UCF’s plans as a “game changer” for downtown. Valencia College will be a partner in the expansion, and approximately 10,000 students from the two schools could study downtown.

UCF is actively working with the City of Orlando and other partners on a plan for the 68 acres freed up when the NBA’s Orlando Magic moved its arena and headquarters about a mile away. This develop-able area, adjacent to Interstate 4 and the historic Parramore Community, is the home of Creative Village — the largest mixed-use project in downtown Orlando, which will provide space for K-12 education, residential units, retail, commercial, office space, hotel, public parks and civic space.

UCF recently launched a website dedicated to the development of the new downtown campus. LEARN MORE

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Theatre alumna reprises Off-Broadway role she originated at Orlando theatre

Michelle Knight, '02, poses in front of her Snow White billboard in Times Square.

Michelle Knight, ’02, poses in front of her Snow White billboard in Times Square.

Michelle Knight, ’02 | Performer

Michelle Knight, ’02, stars as Snow White in the Off-Broadway production of “DISENCHANTED!” — a not-for-the-kiddies musical comedy that’s anything but Grimm. Forget the princesses you think you know. Fairy tales will never be the same! The show runs for a limited engagement Nov. 26 through Jan. 25 at the Theatre at St. Clement’s in New York City.

Knight originated the role of Snow White in “DISENCHANTED!” in 2011 at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, and reprised the role (for which she received a Daily Beast Best Actress award) at the Orlando Shakespeare Festival’s Goldman Theater, as well as the Peter Jay Sharp Theater and Don’t Tell Mama Cabaret Theater, both in New York City.

She’s performed on Broadway in “Jersey Boys,” as well as in the first national tour in Chicago and Las Vegas. Her other national tours include “Grease” and the 30th anniversary tour of “Annie.”

Knight is often a starring performer with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, including leads in “My Fair Lady,” “Carousel,” and “Guys and Dolls.” She can also be seen in “Finding Nemo, The Musical” at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and with the Voices of Liberty at Disney’s Epcot.

More Info

Visiting NYC during the holidays? Get tickets to see Michelle Knight in “DISENCHANTED!”

Making Strides

Alumnus doctor helps professional athletes get back on their feet

DrGideonLewis-web

Dr. Gideon Lewis, ’00 | Reconstructive Foot and Ankle Surgeon

By Daniela Marin

Dr. Gideon Lewis, ’00, stood before an audience of thousands of UCF graduates and their families, as the keynote speaker at UCF’s spring 2014 commencement, where he shared his accomplishments since he donned his own cap and gown, and divulged the philosophy that helped him reach them.

“I still stand by my words that the two most valuable assets in life are relationships and experiences,” he says. “Looking back at my journey, these priceless things are what I’ve built my entire career around.”

In his private practice as a double board-certified reconstructive foot and ankle surgeon, Lewis specializes in sports medicine, treating professional athletes, like Olympic gold medalist sprinter Justin Catlin, Hall of Fame water skier and X-Game gold medalist Ron Scarpa, and Canadian pro football player Keron Williams.

“I’ve always had the desire and dream of establishing a sports medicine practice working with the world’s top athletes,” Lewis says. “I’ve had the privilege of creating a practice geared toward these types of patients, and, I’m proud to say, there’s rarely a day when I don’t treat a professional athlete.”

His disposition for talent, commitment and passion has not only earned him a revered reputation among his patients, but throughout the entire sports community.

“Dr. Lewis’ professional background is outstanding, but what truly sets him apart from other physicians is his understanding of the mind, the heart and the spirit of the athlete,” says Susan Paul, a top 10 U.S. “Supercoach,” as ranked by Runner’s World Magazine.

Lewis’ past experience as a Division I collegiate athlete has served both as motivation and an added resource for delivering consistently great results. The former tennis player’s ability to relate to his patients has made being part of an athlete’s journey from injury to victory that much more rewarding.

I will always strive toward making my alma mater the top university in the nation.

As an assistant professor with the UCF College of Medicine, he’s had the opportunity to stay involved with rising medical students. He was also named chief sport medicine faculty advisor for the college, and is the founder and director of the UCF Pre-Medical Surgical Internship Program.

“I thoroughly enjoy working with pre-medical and medical students,” he says. “Over the next few years, I hope to take on more leadership positions and continue to teach these future physicians.”

Lewis’ inspiration comes from a genuine interest in providing guidance to passionate students combined with efforts to support his alma mater.

“I have an obligation to give back to the institution and supporters who have given so much to me throughout my life,” Lewis says. “My success is somewhat dependent on the success of UCF.  I will always strive toward making my alma mater the top university in the nation.”

Healing Q&A

Q. Why did you choose to attend UCF?
A. I transferred to UCF after a year of attending the University of North Carolina, where I played tennis. After I realized my hopes of becoming a professional tennis player weren’t going to happen, I enrolled at UCF alongside my good friend Joe Foley from high school. We both chose UCF because of its strong pre-medical curriculum.  Today, Dr. Foley is a renowned interventional cardiologist, and I’m a board-certified reconstructive foot and ankle surgeon.

Q. Favorite UCF memory?
A. Hanging out at the Pre-Health Professions office with Susie Yantz and the rest of my pre-med classmates.

Q. Favorite professor?
A. Dr. Budd Berringer. He taught me the importance of always giving 100 percent in everything I do, and always finding the opportunity to provide service to others.

Q. Favorite class?
A. Endocrinology. Being a molecular biology and microbiology major, I developed an interest in the mechanisms and pathways of the human body. This area of discipline encompasses these in almost all aspects.

Q. Were you involved in any extracurricular activities?
A. During my time at UCF, I was very active with the Pre-Professional Medical Society, and even became president of the organization my last year.

Q. What was your experience like as UCF’s commencement speaker?
A. It was one of the most amazing moments in my life. Having the opportunity to speak in front of an audience of more than 12,000 people was very surreal. To share my motivational words and advice with the hundreds of graduating students was a very humbling experience.

Q. Describe a typical day at work.
A. My typical day depends on whether or not I’m performing surgery. During my typical office day, I will spend eight hours treating patients and then an additional two hours on paperwork and phone calls. Otherwise, I’m in the operating room all day during my surgery days. In addition, I work on my non-medical business, Go Chia!, usually before and after office hours.

Q. Most memorable day at work so far?
A. I received an emergent phone call from a hospital physician requesting me to perform surgery immediately on a pediatric trauma patient. After rushing to the hospital, I performed a complex surgery by reattaching this young boy’s traumatically amputated toe. Later, and without any prior knowledge, it was discovered that this boy was part of one of Florida’s most horrific child abuse cases, which also gained national media attention.

Q. What or who inspires you?
A. People who achieve the impossible. My father has inspired me by his life’s journey of being born and raised in a poor, developing country, who then immigrated to the United States for medical school, and eventually became a family practice physician. Dr. Sarah Kureshi, a UCF graduate and former classmate, is a walking example of someone who epitomizes the word perfection. Not only has she achieved almost everything academically, but also her humanitarian efforts have inspired thousands to make the world a better place.

Q. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
A. I’m attempting that now! I’m the co-founder and co-developer of Go Chia!, a super-foods brand. Developing a healthy food and beverage company has allowed me to take on a business outside of the medical industry. I love promoting this healthy brand in a fun and positive way.

Q. Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A. “Welcome every opportunity to succeed.” —Dr. Zac Haas (my former roommate)

 

Proposal Knight

Alumnus pops the question to alumna at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center

rob+michele-proposal-web

Knights Terrace | Rob Brunjes, ’11, and Michele McGlamory, ’10

By Angie Lewis, ’03

Michele McGlamory, ’10, thought she was going to spend the evening of Friday, Nov. 21 ice skating at Light Up UCF with her longtime boyfriend, Oviedo Police Officer Rob Brunjes, ’11, but he had other plans.

On the way to the rink, he casually suggested they stop by the Knights Terrace at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center, so they could look at the personalized bricks and possibly buy one as a Christmas gift to each other.

At first, Michele, a children’s behavior therapist, was weary of approaching the back of the building, which was fenced off for the SMU tailgate the following day, but Rob assured her it would be OK.

Lucky for him, she didn’t pay any attention to the curious lighting or GoPro camera mounted outside Ballroom B, nor did she notice the photographer hiding in the doorway of Ballroom A. In fact, Michele was so focused on looking at all of the other bricks, that Rob had to point out his favorite — and the one that would change their lives forever.

rob+michele-brick-web

As her eyes scanned the engraving, she saw their names and grad years, followed by a simple, two-word question: “Marry Me?” Taken by complete surprise, Michele immediately covered her face with her hands as Rob knelt beside her, held out the ring and asked her to spend the rest of her life with him. “Yes!” she exclaimed.

Michele kissed and hugged her new fiancé, looked down at the brick and then repeated everything a few more times, all while her hands trembled with excitement and tears of happiness streamed down her cheeks.

Little did she know that some of the alumni staff had been in on the surprise. As we revealed ourselves and our secret, she was thrilled that we captured the moment on camera and video, but promptly and politely asked, “Can I call my mom?”

After telling her mom about the unique proposal, we took some keepsake photos of the newly engaged couple, during which Michele kept stealing a look at the new sparkle on her left ring finger, remarking, “It’s perfect, I love it.”

She also had no idea about the other big surprise Rob had planned that night — his parents, her parents, her sister and her sister’s fiancé were waiting for them at home. Rob was able to get their families to come early for Thanksgiving from Tampa and South Florida to help them celebrate.

Congratulations, Rob and Michele! Thank you for letting the UCF Alumni Association and the Knights Terrace be a part of your legacy!

rob+michele-brick_kiss-web

See all of the photos and video from Rob and Michele’s Proposal Knight.


Want to commemorate a special occasion, show off your Knights pride or give an awesome holiday gift that will last a lifetime?

Buy your own brick on the Knights Terrace!

Best of all, now through May 1, 2015, alumni receive $50 off the purchase of a 4 x 8 brick!

Also valid through May 1, 2015, alumni receive $50 off new bookings of meeting/event space at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center, which is the perfect setting for holiday parties, birthday parties, bridal showers, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and more!

Contact ann.allen@ucf.edu or 407.823.1978 for more info.


Holiday Savings!

Abenity-web

Alumni Benefits | Abenity

Don’t overspend this holiday season! As a UCF alumnus or alumna, you can take advantage of nationwide discounts on restaurants, movie tickets, theme park admissions, concerts, vacations and so much more, thanks to the UCF Alumni Association’s partnership with Abenity.

Simply log in to the UCF Knights Network to access the registration code, and start saving!

Questions?

Email lauren.sylvester@ucf.edu or call 407.823.1970.

A Groundbreaking New Center for Student Athletes

densch-williams-groundbreaking

Ground was broken Friday, Nov. 21, for The Wayne Densch Center for Student-Athlete Leadership, thanks to a $4 million gift from the Wayne M. Densch Charitable Trust and a $1 million gift commitment by the Williams Family Foundation.

“We are very grateful to the Williams family for this generous gift,” said Todd Stansbury, UCF vice president and director of athletics.

“The leadership at UCF, Todd Stansbury and Rick Walsh, shared with me how important it is not only to have competitive sports facilities, but also how critical it is to make a big investment in the academic, personal and professional development of UCF student-athletes,” said Leonard Williams, trustee of the Wayne M. Densch Charitable Trust. “Under Dr. Hitt’s leadership, UCF has grown significantly. Our family is proud to make this investment.”

The Wayne Densch Center for Student-Athlete Leadership will serve as the headquarters for personal, professional and academic development of nearly 500 UCF student-athletes. The project cost is estimated at $6 million for the three-story, 22,000-square-foot structure. The center will house UCF’s Academic Services for Student-Athletes, Student Services and Compliance departments, and will include a multipurpose classroom with space for up to 200 students, a computer lab, tutoring and mentoring rooms, study space and conference and resource rooms. It will be located just east of and adjacent to Bright House Networks Stadium.

Construction is set to begin in January, with the project slated for completion in fall 2015.

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