Five Things Alumni Need To Know This Week – Nov. 20, 2017

1. Black Friday is upon us, and all eyes will be on the War on I4. Fresh off its 10th-straight win, the No. 12 UCF football team and No. 19 USF will not only battle for bragging rights in the rivalry series, but the winner will also move on to face Memphis in the American Athletic Conference Championship game on Dec. 2. UCF Alumni’s Indoor Tailgate will open doors at 12:30 p.m., and the Future Knights Fun Zone will be held in the Dr. Hitt Library of the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center this week.

2. Speaking of football, senior linebacker Shaquem Griffin ’16 is up for the prestigious Senior CLASS Award, and you can help him become the first UCF male student-athlete to win it. Fan voting accounts for one-third of the total award process, and fans can vote once per day. Vote for Shaquem and while you’re at it, read this recent Sports Illustrated feature that is getting a lot of love.

3. For the sixth consecutive year, a computer programming team from UCF has advanced to compete in the top collegiate programming contest in the world, to be held next April in China. Out of the 40,000-plus students and 13,000-plus teams from more than 100 countries that began the competition this year, 128 teams are expected to meet in China to test their programming skills. Way to go, Knights!

4. In case you missed it, National Philanthropy Day took place last week, and we heard directly from Vice President for UCF Advancement and CEO of the UCF Foundation Mike Morsberger about what service and philanthropy means to UCF. You can make a difference again when Giving Tuesday rolls around on Nov. 28.

5. On Monday, the UCF Presidential Search Committee holds its first meeting at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center from 10 a.m.-noon. The search committee meeting is open to the public and will be broadcast live at the UCF Presidential Search website: www.ucf.edu/president-search.

Five Things Alumni Need To Know This Week – Nov. 13, 2017


1. Last call to RSVP for Young Alumni’s Headshot Happy Hour! This free event for #AlumKnights ages 32 and younger will take place Thursday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Three21 Marketing, located at 121 S. Orange Ave. Suite 980n. We’ll provide the photographer and food, you just have to show up photo-ready! RSVP by Monday, Nov. 13, to Anne Fitch at [email protected] Event Details

2. Light Up UCF’s opening weekend is upon us! Now in its 10th year, Light Up UCF will run from Nov. 17 through Dec. 31 and will feature all of the fan favorites, including the Ice Rink Pavilion, the Arctic Glide Ice Slide, the Ferris Wheel, the Winter Whirl, and Light Up Lane with photos with Santa. Purchase Tickets

3. The University of Central Florida Facebook page will livestream a special event on Tuesday, Nov. 14, about transitioning from student life to the professional world. The “Adulting in Action Panel” will start at 3 p.m. and features four alumni in various fields.

4. Before Saturday’s football game, UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Danny White, PhD, led a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate construction on the new Roth Athletics Center, the headquarters of athletics administration. The two-story, 38,000-square-foot building will also house the school’s hall of fame honors. A special thanks to donors Bob and Carol Garvy, Tony and Sonja Nicholson and Ken Dixon ’75.

5. The League of American Bicyclists named UCF as a nationally recognized bicycle-friendly university last week. UCF joins 182 other universities designated as bicycle-friendly from the League of American Bicyclists.

Veteran’s Day Salute: Joseph Rogan ’11

Burnett Honors College alumnus Joe Rogan ’11 (right) served eight years in the Military Police Corps of the U.S. Army Reserve.

By Jenna Marina Lee

ORLANDO, Fla. (Nov. 9, 2017) – Jacksonville-based lawyer and UCF alumnus Joseph Rogan ’11 approaches everyday with the same mentality: Put the mission first. Never accept defeat.

Whether those tenets apply to his career or his relationships, the U.S. Army’s Warrior Ethos are something The Burnett Honors College graduate has carried with him since he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve at the age of 17.

“It really was just a calling,” said Rogan, who served eight years in the Military Police Corps.

Rogan grew up in South Florida and chose to join the Army Reserve before his senior year of high school.

His parents were supportive but hesitant. In fact, Rogan’s paperwork sat on the table for two weeks without until one day he came home to find the missing component completed: his mother’s signature.

“I found out years later that my brother had persuaded her to sign it,” he said.

In the summer between his junior and senior years of high school, he traveled to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, for basic training. He called it a maturing experience and unlike anything he had ever endured.

“I think you learn a lot about values and reasons to trust and work with people,” he said.

He arrived on campus in 2008 after finishing military police school as a first-generation college student and ended up double majoring in political science and psychology. He joined ROTC for that first year and, of course, he was still committed to the Army Reserve, training with his unit regularly.

After his first year at UCF, his unit got activated and was deployed to Iraq.

For 10 months, before he had reached the age of 21, Rogan was responsible for mentoring, advising and training the Iraqi police, some of whom had been officers for decades.

Rogan said the experience helped him find his calling as a lawyer.

“When we were there, the Iraqis were still operating under Saddam Hussein’s penal code. But it was in a democracy. You can imagine there are some really big problems with that,” he said. “Since then, they’ve rewritten the penal code, but at the time, my job was to explain how to treat people in what we view as norms in a democratic society.”

Rogan returned to the United States, and about a week later, he was back in classes at UCF. The transition was understandably a major adjustment.

“It was a difficult time going from holding a gun one day to sitting in class with a pencil the next,” he said.

In addition, he withstood several injuries while overseas, including a traumatic brain injury from a vehicle explosion. Other injuries required surgeries upon his return.

But as he adjusted to studying full-time again, he found ways to apply what he had learned from the military to his everyday life.

His work ethic yielded exemplary grades in his classes. His professors, especially in courses like Middle Eastern politics, saw value in his real-life experiences for class discussions.

Rogan credits Director of Honors Advising Rex Roberts ’00 ’03MA for helping him integrate back into a routine schedule and UCF’s community.

Rogan went on to attend Georgetown Law and spent time working in Washington D.C., where he got involved with UCF Alumni’s chapter and eventually rekindled a friendship that later blossomed into a marriage with alumna Ashley Noland ’10.

“There can be a perception with a university like UCF that because we’re large, it’s not a community. That it’s like a factory. That was never my experience,” he said. “It was very much the opposite.”

His double-life in college and the Army Reserve helped lead him to his career as an associate for Smith Hulsey & Busey focusing in business litigation. His drive hasn’t gone unnoticed as he was selected as one of UCF Alumni’s 30 Under 30 this year.

At its center, that drive is all about putting the mission first and never accepting defeat. So as the United States prepares to commemorate its 63rd annual Veterans Day on Nov. 11, Rogan knows first-hand and respects the depth of duty and commitment of those who serve.

“Everybody who serves, no matter their branch or if they are active or reserve or whether they’ve ever been deployed, everybody who serves has sort of written a blank check to the country,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that they agree with any particular war or that they even want to go, but all those people, by signing on the dotted line, have agreed that they will. And they know that there’s a possibility you could be injured or killed. I have the upmost gratitude for everybody who has signed that line at all stages and all branches.”

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – Nov. 6, 2017

1. The UCF police department added a new member to its team Monday: its first therapy dog. Her name is Paisley, and she will help ease stress and comfort victims of violent crime during interviews and interactions with police. Her partner is UCFPD detective Matt Scott ’07 ’11MS. The idea came from a program that was implemented in the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office by three-time UCF alumnus Jessie Holton ’10 ’12MS ’15EdD.

2. The Student Nurses’ Association at UCF is collecting supplies to send to Puerto Rico. Check out the full list of high-demand items and bring your donation to room 300 on the third floor of UCF’s College of Nursing located at 12201 Research Parkway.

 

3. The Burnett Honors College has a new dean. Meet Sheila Amin Gutiérrez de Piñeres. She will be taking over from Martin Dupuis, who has served as interim dean since August when Alvin Wang stepped down to return to the faculty. Dupuis will be returning to his previous role as associate dean of the college.

4. It will be a big weekend on campus for sports fans. Basketball season officially tips off with a doubleheader for the women’s and men’s teams at CFE Arena on Friday starting at 5:30 p.m. The nationally ranked football team holds one of its two final home games of the regular season on Saturday at noon against UConn. And the American Athletic Conference champion women’s soccer team will find out at 4:30 p.m. Monday if they are hosting any rounds of this year’s NCAA Tournament. Check out UCFKnights.com for all the details about this weekend’s lineup.

5. Two Puerto Rican high school students who came to Orlando to escape the destruction from Hurricane Maria were surprised Thursday with scholarships from Valencia College and UCF. Both recipients, 17 years old, enrolled at Colonial High School to finish their senior years and left behind plans they already had in place to attend college in Puerto Rico. Neither of them know at this point if they can or will return to the island.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Oct. 30

1. President John C. Hitt announced last week that after 26 years of service to UCF, he will retire effective June 30, 2018. You can stay informed about the search process for UCF’s next president at https://www.ucf.edu/leadership/presidential-search/.

President Hitt holds a special place in many of our hearts. If you are interested in honoring his legacy as president, a friendly reminder that Giving Tuesday is coming up on Nov. 28. Consider making a gift to one of his top priorities and a fund that hits home for him, first-generation scholarships.

2. UCF was excited and honored to host Bill Gates and Melinda Gates on campus last week. The university is turning heads for its innovative technology and educational partnerships to make a high-quality college degree more affordable, accessible and attainable.

3. The No. 7 UCF women’s soccer team clinched the Knights’ first American Athletic Conference championship of the 2017-18 athletics season in front of 1,400 fans Friday at home. UCF rallied to a 1-1- tie against rival USF to win the regular season trophy and earned the rights to host The American’s Women’s Soccer Championship this week. As the top seed, UCF will play the winner of a quarterfinal matchup between UConn and Memphis on Friday at 7 p.m. For more information about the tournament, visit theamerican.org.

4. The UCF football team kept its win streak alive by scoring the most points in a game (73) in school history on Saturday against Austin Peay. At 7-0, the Knights are one of five teams in the country to still boast a perfect record this season, and as a result, jumped to No. 14 in the national rankings. Up next: UCF travels to SMU on Saturday for a 7:15 p.m. matchup on ESPN2. UCF Alumni Chapters from Dallas and Austin have joined forces to host a pregame tailgate for all Knights fans. Click here for all the details.

5. UCF will honor veterans by hosting numerous events and workshops throughout November. The events will recognize veterans for their service and provide the public opportunities to attend workshops and access veteran resources. Rated as “Military Friendly” by G.I. Jobs magazine, UCF is also ranked one of the best universities in the nation for veterans due to the support services available to veterans on their path to graduation.

Alumna Speechless After Winning Poet Laureate Contest

By Jenna Marina Lee

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 27, 2017) – You’d be hardpressed to find someone as deeply connected to Orlando as the city’s newly appointed Poet Laureate, UCF alumna Susan Lilley ’75 ’80MA.

Lilley, who was named to the “official storyteller” gig in October, has been rooted in the community since she was still in the womb.

Her parents were both born in Orlando. She grew up in the area and decided to attend the hometown university, UCF, where she pursued bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English.

She raised her three children here. She worked at UCF for 12 years and was part of a group called “Simply Shakespeare,” the brainchild of her former professor Stuart Omans, who went on to found the festival that became the origins of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater.

She has served as an instructor in Rollins College’s English department since 2000 and teaches literature and creative writing at Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park.

Over the years, she has been recognized as the winner of the Rita Dove Poetry Award (2009) and published two books, “Night Windows” and “Satellite Beach.”

When it was announced that a contest would be held to determine the city’s first Poet Laureate, Lilley’s brother texted her immediately. At his and her friends’ urging, she decided to apply along with 49 other poets from Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Volusia, Lake and Brevard counties.

“I was happy to throw my hat in, mainly out of pride and delight that the city is putting something real in place for creative writing,” Lilley said. “I have been astonished and uplifted by the growth in the literary world here over the last few years.”

Three finalists, Lilley among them, were announced in September. She said she was stunned to learn she had made the cut and was floored when she claimed the job after an interview with City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.

“What gratifying validation for an artist–that someone notices the work you’ve been scribbling away at for years. It was really enough (to be a finalist),” she said. “But when the City called to tell me I had been selected by Mayor Dyer, I was truly dumbfounded. But very excited.”

Dyer appointed her to a one-year term, and he can approve up to two additional one-year renewals before a new laureate is chosen.

Among her duties, she will perform at city events and give presentations to local students, and it’s her interactions with the community that she’s most looking forward to.

“In this new role I hope to work with different groups of people, from young people to the elders, who need to find their voices and have their stories told. I intend to promote and amplify the great writing scene we have here as I learn more about it. I want to help celebrate it all–from formal poets and academic poets to spoken-word and open mic and slam poets,” she said. “As I enlarge my world of the area’s creative writers I want to share it with the community and spread the word.”

UCF Alumni Michi and Brandon Marshall’s Mission for Mental Health Awareness

Michi Marshall ’06 returned to campus to speak about the importance of mental health awareness to counseling education majors on Oct. 20

By Jenna Marina Lee

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 25, 2017) – The day that NFL star wide receiver and UCF alumnus Brandon Marshall ’06 went public with his borderline personality disorder diagnosis in 2011, his wife, Michi Marshall ’06, remembers turning to him and saying that his diagnosis was going to help someone.

They knew immediately they needed to organize and mobilize their mission to bring awareness to mental health.

“There was no pause. And we’ve had our foot completely down on the gas pedal ever since,” she said.

It’s what brought the UCF alumna back to her alma mater Oct. 20 where she discussed her work with the Marshalls’ non-profit Project 375 and fielded questions from the audience, who included counseling education majors, faculty, staff and College of Education and Human Performance Dean Pamela Carroll.

The daughter of a clinical psychologist, Marshall earned bachelor’s degrees in psychology and criminal justice in addition to three certificates from UCF.

“When I came here, I was so unsure of myself. When I graduated I was very sure of myself,” she said. “I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I knew exactly how I could be who I wanted to be. UCF truly gave me the resources that I needed.”

Yet, she never predicted just how significantly her education would shape her future.

She met Brandon on campus during their undergraduate days. He saw her walking across the Student Union and told his friend that he was going to marry her one day. She described Brandon back then as jovial, fun-loving and always with a smile on his face.

They dated, separated and reconnected, eventually marrying in 2010. Marshall said she noticed the smallest shift in Brandon from his college days. She attributed it to the stress of an NFL career, or perhaps typical relationship issues that couples experience.

She wasn’t looking for something to pinpoint as a mental health disorder.

“In fact, it’s not healthy to categorize all that (as a professional in the field) because everybody you know would have a diagnosis,” she said. “I thought it had something to do with me.”

After Brandon sought help and was diagnosed, they knew they possessed all the elements to effect real change.

They had the personal experience of living daily with a mental health disorder. They had an education in psychology. They had a national platform because of Brandon’s status as a six-time Pro Bowl selection and NFL veteran.

Most importantly, they had each other.

“We don’t take it for granted at all. And we try and use every single resource that’s available to us in order to further the mission in getting mental health to be a normal, everyday conversation,” she said. “It’s truly remarkable that we’re able to do this together.”

Their non-profit organization, Project 375, offers training in various areas of mental health from coping strategies to stigmatizing language to distinguishing the signs of a disorder. The organization’s name comes from the pantone number for the color lime green, the official color of mental health awareness.

Their focus is nation-wide. Marshall said Project 375 has hosted 30 trainings to roughly 500 individuals this year. In 2018, the organization intends to reach international audiences.

“We use education and inspiration and communication to teach people from everyday walks of life what mental health is,” she said. “It knows no race, it knows no financial status, it knows no gender, no success. It affects one in five and it’s something that needs to be an everyday, normal conversation.”

Her hope, she told the counseling education professionals in the room Friday, is that they will be the ones to lead those conversations in the near future.

“When you go into your field of work, I want you to be encouraged and really be understanding of your role in this fight. Your role in this is not only being a caretaker. It’s not only a first responder, it’s also being an educator to those who do not know about mental health,” she said to the crowd. “This generation is the generation that is going to break the stigma for mental health.”

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Oct. 23

Tailgate hosted by UCF Alumni chapters from Washington D.C., New York, Boston and Baltimore

1. The UCF football team celebrated Knightro’s 23rd birthday with a win at Navy over the weekend in front of a whole bunch of traveling UCF fans to improve to 6-0 on the season and move up to No. 17 in the national polls. Starting at 7 a.m. Monday, UCF Athletics is offering a flash sale of $17 tickets for 17 hours for the Knights’ home matchup against Austin Peay on Saturday.

P.S. Since the Knights picked up their sixth win of the season, the team is officially bowl eligible. We’ll high five to that!

2. UCF can clinch its first American Athletic Conference championship title of 2017-18 on Friday. The No. 7 UCF women’s soccer team hosts USF at 7 p.m. As if the regular season trophy and a showdown with their rival weren’t enough motivation, the Knights can also earn the right to host The American Women’s Soccer Championship from Nov. 1-5.

So, who will be in the stands with us Friday at the UCF Soccer Complex?

3. UCF President John C. Hitt held his annual State of the University address last week. Throughout his remarks, Hitt discussed how scale, multiplied with excellence, maximizes UCF’s impact on students and the community. He also reviewed UCF’s big achievements from the past year.

4. For the third consecutive year, UCF has produced more graduates who get hired by aerospace and defense companies than any other university in the nation. With more than 10,000 students, the College of Engineering and Computer Science is among the nation’s top producers of those in the respective fields.

5. The City of Orlando has chosen UCF alumna, former UCF instructor and Orlando native Susan Lilley ’75 ’80MA as its first poet laureate. A poet laureate is considered the official storyteller of the city, and in her role, Lilley will perform at city events and give presentations to local students throughout her term. Read more about her in this story from the Orlando Sentinel.

Shining Knights Honored

From left to right: President John C. Hitt, Michael Manglardi ’84, Michael Corey H’17, Loretta Corey H’17, Carey Sobel ’09, Julie C. Stroh, Michael Morsberger

By Jenna Marina Lee

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 13, 2017) – Four individuals were recognized for their outstanding service and philanthropy at the Shining Knights Alumni Awards held at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center on Oct. 13.

The Shining Knights Alumni Awards is a program that highlights UCF Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving’s three major awards: Young Alumni Award; John C. and Martha Hitt Honorary Alumni Award; and Distinguished Alumni Award. It was implemented in 2017 in place of the now retired Black and Gold Gala.

This year’s honorees are:
• Carey Sobel ’09, Young Alumni Award
• Loretta Corey H’17 and Michael Corey H’17, Honorary Alumni Award
• Michael Manglardi ’84, Distinguished Alumni Award

“We are proud of this incredible and faithful group of UCF supporters,” said Julie C. Stroh, senior associate vice president for Advancement, Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving. “They all have given back to the UCF community with their time, talent and treasure. On behalf of UCF Alumni, it is our honor to thank them for their service and for representing the best of UCF as our inaugural Shining Knights.”

Carey Sobel ’09 was selected as the first recipient of the Young Alumni Award. A management graduate of the College of Business Administration, Sobel was a member of the 2017 30 Under 30 class. He has started eight different businesses in Central Florida, ranging from hospitality, marketing, entertainment and real estate/brokerage, all before the age of 30.

He currently serves as partner and chief strategy officer for Three21, a full-service digital marketing company that has grown into a multi-million dollar, award winning agency. The firm employs many UCF alumni, and offers internships to UCF, Valencia and Full Sail students. Sobel is also a partner at Boss Group International, a business brokerage firm where he helps people buy and sell businesses.

An avid UCF fan and supporter, he is a board member of the Young Alumni Council and the UCF College of Business Alumni Chapter, actively participates in speaking engagements for students, and is also involved in the College of Business mentorship program.

Loretta Corey H’17 and Michael Corey H’17 were given the John C. and Martha Hitt Honorary Alumni Award. The Coreys are parents of three UCF graduates and have been longtime supporters of UCF. They have traveled all over the United States and as far as Dublin to cheer on the Knights, and they maintain a box at Spectrum Stadium where their family can gather every home football game.

They are as equally invested in the importance of education. In addition to their major gift commitment to the Everyday Champions program, which provides scholarships for student-athletes, they recently contributed to the new downtown campus.

Loretta is also the founding co-chair of the UCF Parent and Family Philanthropy Council and serves on the UCF Foundation Board.

Michael Manglardi ’84, a political science graduate from the College of Sciences, was recognized with the highest honor given to a UCF graduate, the Distinguished Alumni Award. The award has been given annually since 1979.

Manglardi is a former chair of the UCF Alumni Board and member of the Golden Knights Club Board of Directors, and is emeritus director of the UCF Foundation Board. Two of his sons and four of his nieces and nephews have all graduated from UCF, and his son Jonathan is currently pursuing his degree.

Manglardi, who has built a successful law career in Central Florida, has offered UCF students internships and job shadowing experiences, spoken for LEAD Scholars and UCF Commencement, and has contributed annually since 1988.

He has previously received the Service to UCF Award in 2004 and the Jefferson Award’s Lifetime of Service in 2010, which recognizes outstanding public service by alumni to the organization and the community.

UCF Advancement senior leadership vetted candidates during the summer, and the UCF Alumni Board voted to confirm the selected honorees.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Oct. 9


1. UCF Football rose in the national rankings to No. 21 thanks to its win at Cincinnati. At 4-0 this season, UCF is one of just 13 remaining undefeated teams in the nation. Thanks to all who attended our official watch parties or traveled to Ohio for the game, and a special shoutout to our Cincinnati and Nashville Alumni Clubs for their spirited tailgate and representing the Black and Gold well!

By the way, if you have plans to travel to the Oct. 21 football game at Navy, our alumni chapters from Washington D.C., New York, Boston and Baltimore have joined forces to host a pregame tailgate for all Knights fans. Click here to learn more about the tailgate.

2. Happy Homecoming! There are events on campus throughout the week, but our personal favorites are Friday’s ChargeOn: Behind the Sport panel at 2 p.m. and Saturday’s Indoor Tailgate. Also, check out this special social media promotion from UCF Athletics:

3. A team of UCF students who are experts in cyberdefense took third place last week in the Global Cyberlympics World Finals in the Netherlands. The six-member team – all of them under 21 years old – faced teams of professionals from major tech companies including Cisco and Kapersky Lab.

4. UCF alumnus Eric Ulloa ’04 was featured in the Orlando Sentinel last week for his work on his play, “26 Pebbles,” which had performances over the weekend in Orlando. “This play’s about how communities come together, like Orlando, in the face of tragedy,” said Ulloa in the story. “It shows Americans at their absolute best when handed the absolute worst.”

5. For the first time since it was created in 1999, an Orange County Sheriff’s Office internship program for UCF students has its first all-female class of interns. The six women, all seniors, were chosen by the sheriff’s office from among 42 UCF criminal justice students who applied for the internship.

Looking ahead: As part of Diversity Week, on Oct. 16 and 17 you can help UCF create a special mosaic by adding your own photo to the bigger picture. If you’re interested in contributing, make sure you hashtag your images with #WEAREUCF. Visit the Facebook event page for more details.