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.

 

UCF’s History is in Her Hands

Alumna Mary Rubin ’12 preserves more than 1,050 boxes of UCF history in her role as UCF Libraries’ senior archivist.

By Jenna Marina Lee

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 3, 2017) – She has not yet reached her 30th birthday. She has tattoos of a tortoise and a hippopotamus on her biceps. And while she does work in a library, she doesn’t get to read all day, although she wishes she did.

Meet the keeper of UCF’s past: alumna and senior archivist Mary Rubin ’12.

“Libraries and archives is something I feel very strong about, especially for this school,” Rubin said. “It’s grown so much and to see that history, to be able to preserve it, will help future generations.”

Rubin explains the duties of her job as collecting, preserving and making historical records available.

She always loved libraries and reading as a hobby, but she never considered a profession in the field. In her final year as an undergraduate interdisciplinary studies student at UCF, she got an IT job in the library. In addition to helping students, she troubleshot problems for staff, and as a result, got a pretty good grasp of the library’s organizational chart.

The archivist at the time hired Rubin for her coding skills and tasked her with fixing the digital inventories for the collections.

UCF Marketing then hired Rubin temporarily ahead of UCF’s 50th anniversary in 2013. Rubin was given a 68-page timeline of events with the directive to verify as many as she could. She spent the next six months alone sifting through boxes of materials and turned the 68-page document in a 200-page timeline with citations.

She kept her wits intact by listening to “a lot of Pandora” and brought in a heating lamp when sweaters weren’t enough to keep her warm all day in the cold room.

“My passion started with UCF so that really helped, learning all about it. My love for archives came once I finally started working in it,” she said.

She eventually took over the archivist position in 2013 and has since earned her master’s degree in library and information science from USF. Her first priority every day when she walks into her office is to answer requests for archived materials, which usually involves photographs. After requests are handled, she works on processing her logs of new and old materials to add to the archive collection.

As of June 30, 2017, University Archives possesses more than 1050 boxes of records, which includes administrative files, multimedia materials, photographs, publications and memorabilia.

Among the collection includes a tiara from the 2010 Miss UCF. There’s a football signed by Daunte Culpepper. And the groundbreaking shovel from 1967. It’s the same shovel that was used ceremoniously at the groundbreaking of UCF’s College of Medicine in 2007 and the Downtown Campus in May 2017.

They have a full set of Spirit Splash ducks dating back to 2002. The archive’s collection was missing the 2003 and 2005 ducks until Rubin did a social media campaign last year around Homecoming. A generous Knight offered up her own personal ducks to fill the gaps once she learned they were missing.

But Rubin’s favorite item in the archives is a set of meeting minutes from 1969. It took place less than a year after UCF had opened for classes, but the Board of Regents were already discussing a name change for Florida Technological University.

“It’s my favorite item because they were thinking about changing the name to University of Florida at Orlando,” she said. “Our abbreviation would have been UFO.”

Every day, Rubin can see past the words on a paper or the images on black and white photographs. The records tell her a story.

“You can see the genius behind some of these things,” she said. “It’s the heart of the people. The heart of the organization. It shows the culture. UCF’s impact on the community is amazing.”

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Oct. 2

  1. To echo Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and UCF, our thoughts are with those in Las Vegas today.

2. UCF Athletics handed it to Memphis this weekend. Volleyball started things off Friday with a 3-2 win over the Tigers on the road. Football rolled to a 40-13 trouncing in Saturday’s conference opener to improve to 3-0 on the season. Then, Morgan Ferrara netted a hat trick to lift the No. 13 women’s soccer team to a 5-0 win over Tigers on Sunday. Charge On!

3. The UCF football returned to the national rankings at No. 25 on Sunday, joining the No. 13 women’s soccer team among UCF programs who are currently being recognized among the best in the nation. In honor of the Knights’ ranking, UCF Athletics is offering a special, limited time deal of $25 tickets for their Homecoming matchup against East Carolina. The deal lasts until 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 2. Buy your tickets here.

Speaking of Homecoming, check out the lineup of events taking place from Oct. 9-14, highlighted by ChargeOn: Beyond the Sport.

4. Limbitless Solutions had its grand opening Saturday of its new location on campus in Knights Plaza. This video will warm your heart when you see four of the recipients help in the ribbon cutting ceremony:

5. In response to the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico, UCF will allow students who are residents of Puerto Rico, and are displaced from their homes, to qualify for in-state tuition. “This is a compassionate way to help our students, and I fully support it,” UCF President John C. Hitt said.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Sept. 25

1. Thank you to all alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff and friends of UCF who donated to help restock the shelves at Knights Helping Knights Pantry. In just over a week, 459 of you have combined to raise more than $84,000 in addition to hundreds of non-perishable food items that were generously dropped off.

Anyone interested in joining the cause, click here.

2. The UCF football team is coming off a big win at Maryland, and the Knights want to #SelloutSpectrum for their conference opener against Memphis this Saturday at 7 p.m.

If you are watching from afar but wish you could be there in person, consider sending someone to the game in your place. UCF Athletics is encouraging fans to donate tickets for first responders, National Guard members, law enforcement officers and power company employees as a thank you for their efforts during and after Hurricane Irma. To donate tickets, click here.

P.S. Shoutout to the New York UCF Alumni Chapter for representing the Black and Gold proudly on ESPN’s “College GameDay” in Times Square on Sept. 23!

3. UCF Athletics announced last week that the Oct. 14 Homecoming football game will be dubbed the “Space Game” and will honor the university’s long-time ties to the United States space program. Fans will be encouraged to wear black with white shirts among them, giving the illusion of stars in the night sky. Mission Patch T-shirts are currently available at the UCF Bookstore or on online.

4. UCF is making heads turn. The university was recently recognized by “U.S. News & World Report” as one of the top innovative institutions in the country. UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management has been ranked No. 2 in the world as a hospitality and hotel management school, according to “CEOWORLD Magazine.”

5. UCF alumnus Albert Manero ’12 ’14MS ’16PhD knocked it out of the park with his TEDx Talk about prosthetics and Limbitless Solutions earlier this month. See for yourself:

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Sept. 18

1. As classes resume today on campus, the Knights Helping Knights Pantry is in need of supplies. The student-run organization provides food, water, clothing, linens and other housewares in times of need, and the pantry’s shelves are nearly bare following Hurricane Irma. UCF alumnus Nelson Marchioli ’72 has pledged to match every dollar donated to the pantry up to $25,000. The pantry also accepts donations of canned foods, bottled water and more (see the list). If you are in a position to help fellow Knights, please consider making a gift. Any donated items can be dropped off to the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2. In case you missed it, the UCF football team rescheduled its matchup with Memphis for Sept. 30. The game had originally been scheduled for Sept. 9 and was moved to Sept. 8 in advance of Hurricane Irma before ultimately being called off. Season-ticket holders with a season ticket card will not be affected. Those with tickets in Roth Tower suites, Field Cabanas or the Roth Tower club should use tickets dated Sept. 30. For more information about this game, visit ucfknights.com.

You can catch the Knights on the field before then when UCF travels to Maryland this Saturday at 3 p.m. on Fox Sports 1. Find a watch party

3. The basketball teams released their schedules for the 2017-18 season. A doubleheader will tip off the season on Nov. 10 at CFE Arena. See the full schedules: MBB | WBB

4. A team of UCF students has taken first place in a North America cyberdefense competition and has been invited to compete in the Global Cyberlympics world finals in the Netherlands later this month.

5. A blood drive is taking place on campus Sept. 18-22 to help with the critical shortage caused by Hurricane Irma. Get the details

UCF Film Alumnus Hits It Big at Today Show

UCF alumnus Aaron Brownlee joined the NBC News team as a producer for the “Today” show

By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. (Aug. 29, 2017) – UCF film alumnus Aaron Brownlee ’06 has stood on the New York City stage where the Broadway hit “Hamilton” performs every night. He has interviewed Academy Award winner Robert De Niro, taken flight with the United States Air Force Thunderbirds and has brought joy to pediatric cancer patients by delivering beanies to them in their hospital rooms.

Brownlee’s role as a producer over the last year for NBC’s the “Today” show has already given him a lifetime’s worth of unforgettable experiences, but what really makes him pinch himself is his trek to Rockefeller Center’s commissary every day for lunch.

When he reaches the ninth floor, he steps off the elevator and turns right instead of left toward the food.

A fan of “Saturday Night Live” since he was a child, he never misses a chance to go peek at the stage and silently reflect on this moment in his life.

“I look at this holy grail of comedy and I think to myself, ‘You’re here. Even if it’s a bad day, you’re staring at Lorne Michaels’ dreamland right here,’” Brownlee said. “Take it in, always appreciate every day.”

Aaron Brownlee (right) interviewed Lin Manuel Miranda (left) for a segment about the Broadway hit “Hamilton”

Brownlee has been a storyteller for as long as he can remember. Growing up in Georgia, he put on plays with his brother in their basement and says he shot an original hour-and-a-half James Bond film before he could drive a car.

He came to UCF because he liked that the university allowed its film students to own the work they created while in school.

“I would run to class because every day I was learning something I was so passionate about. It was a joy to go to class,” he said. “Being around a lot of creative people with a lot of different point of views helped changed the way I wanted to tell stories.”

After graduation, he headed to California thanks to an internship connection that UCF had with UCLA. He got his start as an assistant for a producer who was making horror films.

He spent the next decade filling up his resume with experiences as a production assistant on “NCIS,” various full-time jobs and a freelance producer, working on a variety of projects from advertisements to music videos to print with companies like Target, Best Buy and People magazine.

In 2016, a mentor asked him about his interest in applying for a job at the “Today” show. The opportunity to work for the nation’s longest running morning show, which is currently celebrating its 65th year on NBC, intrigued him.

He went through a series of interviews and still remembers the day he got the phone call asking if he was ready to move to New York.

“I never have doubted myself, but for the very first time, just knowing that it’s such an institution and it’s one of a kind, I had this whole bout of unwavering self-doubt. I was just like, ‘Did you talk yourself into this? What did you just do? Are they going to figure out you’re a phony within the first 10 minutes?’” he said. “Looking back on that moment, that’s when I knew that I really, really wanted it, and wanted to work for them.”

On the set of the “Today” show

Since joining the production team, he estimates that he has created at least three hours of television. His segments range from 3-4 minutes on average, and he typically works on four projects at any given time.

His real passion lies in telling people’s stories and creating an emotional connection between audience and subject. He said when people are trusting the “Today” show to tell their stories, he feels a responsibility to “get it right.”

“Being able to tell stories about real people that matter, who are doing great things in life and trying to help people; being able to put that on a national platform and get letters and emails and cards that say, ‘You’ve changed my life’ or ‘We’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars because of your piece,’ that’s what is most rewarding,” Brownlee said. “I can see the fruits of the labor of my work.”

With the surge of television access on platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon in addition to traditional media, Brownlee, like most, believes society is experiencing the golden age of television.

He is happy to be contributing to it and hopes to continue to expand the depths of his storytelling.

“One day, if I have a drama or a dramedy on television or streaming on Netflix and people are loving it and it has a part of myself inside of it,” he said, “that would be the ultimate dream.”

Aaron Brownlee with his parents behind the scenes at Rockefeller Center

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—August 28

1. Congrats to this year’s 30 Under 30 award winners, who were recognized in a special ceremony at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center over the weekend. View the gallery highlighting this outstanding group who is making its alma mater proud.

2. The countdown to college football is over! UCF Football is back in action this Thursday at 6 p.m. at home against FIU. Check out some new, exciting things the team has going on this year, and don’t forget to stop by UCF Alumni’s Indoor Tailgate, which kicks off at 3 p.m. Thursday at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center.

Out of town and in need of a watch party? Visit ucfalumni.com to find the most up-to-date information on locations for official watch parties nation-wide.

3. The UCF women’s soccer team knocked off No. 4 North Carolina on Friday in double overtime with a 2-1 win. To put it in the simplest terms: it’s a BIG deal. Read more about the historic win, and trust us, you’re going to want to watch this video:

4. The UCF College of Sciences Distinguished Speaker Series is back this September with six UCF faculty who are experts in topics relevant to the natural, computational, social or behavioral sciences and the developments in their respective fields. The 2017-18 series will be held monthly at Tuscawilla Country Club at 6 p.m., from September 2017 to April 2018 (excluding November and December).

5. Save the date for this year’s film fall showcase hosted by UCF School of Visual Arts and Design. Some of the finest examples from the previous year’s crop of student films will be brought together for a single night of celebration on Sept. 8 from 7-9:30 p.m.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—August 21

1. Today is the first day of school for Knights, and the university will welcome the largest and most diverse student body in its history, including a freshman class with a university-record GPA. Enrollment at UCF now tops 66,000 students, and the fall freshman class has an average incoming GPA of 4.05. Among the incoming freshman class are some of the nation’s top students, including 88 National Merit Scholars. A record 45 percent of current students are minorities, and 25 percent are the first in their families to attend college.

2. “I donate because we’re at a special moment in time. We’re making philanthropy part of our culture.” – Mike Morsberger, Vice President for Advancement and CEO of UCF Foundation, Inc.
Become one of the 70,000 donors moving UCF forward: www.ucffoundation.org/70k

3. The UCF Marching Knights have a new home on the south side of campus following Saturday’s opening of a 3,500-square-foot building for offices and instrument storage. The facility is a welcome change for the 325-member band, which previously operated out of a trailer.

4. Alumnus Chris Sadowski ’99 was featured by Ironman.com for raising awareness and funds to combat hunger by logging 188 miles in two endurance races overseas. The Winter Park resident has completed more than 50 triathlons, including six IRONMAN races and two IRONMAN World Championship events, along with 20-plus marathons, eight ultramarathons, and numerous 5K and 10K running races. Charge On, Chris!

5. Several local and national UCF Alumni chapters and clubs are hosting events this week ranging from trivia to Painting with a Twist to baseball games. Find out if one is in your area to connect with other Knights.