Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week MEGA EDITION—April 24

*If you’re graduating and picking up your cap and gown this week, make sure you keep reading because we’ve got five more things especially for our newest alumni!

1. USA Today gave a shoutout to UCF football assistant coach Jovan Dewitt for an app he produced to help with recruiting. Dewitt, a math and physics double major during a two-time Division II all-America career at Northern Michigan in the late 1990s, considers the app a side project – so he’ll still be coaching up the linebackers and special teams come Fall.

2. Staff, alumni and friends of the Burnett Honors College raised nearly $38,000 to establish the Alvin Y. Wang Endowed Scholarship to honor the longtime dean’s service to the university. They surprised him with the news late last week at a celebration of his tenue. Dean Wang plans to step down and focus on teaching in the classroom, so luckily he’s still sticking around.

3. Hot air balloon rides, a rocking concert, food comas and a friendly battle on the gridiron – the UCFastival and spring game was a rousing success. And UCF has all the coverage you could possibly want, complete with videos, recaps and photo galleries.

4. The Orlando Sentinel featured 10 people who make Orlando great, and we’re happy to say we recognize some names as Knights! Chris Castro (Class of 2010) of IDEAS For Us; Mary Palmer, a former professor and the former Dean of the College of Education; and Ryan Rivas (Class of 2005), publisher at Burrow Press, all made the list – and here’s why they did.

5. Just in time for Earth Day, a UCF chemistry professor just found a way to trigger the process of photosynthesis in a synthetic material, turning greenhouse gases into clean air and producing energy all at the same time. The process has great potential for creating a technology that could significantly reduce greenhouse gases linked to climate change, while also creating a clean way to produce energy. Score one for science!

Five More Things – Graduation Style
To our newest alumni, we’ve got nothing but love for ya this week. Here are some need-to-knows about graduation that includes opportunities for free swag! Also, if you’ve got any questions about graduation, chances are, the answers lie here.

1. The #UCFGrad cap Instagram contest is in full swing and four prizes are up for grabs, including a legacy brick on Knights Terrace at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center. Here’s how to win:
> Decorate your grad cap
> Post it to Instagram
> Tag UCF alumni in the photo & use #UCFGrad in your caption!

2. Speaking of grad caps, the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center is hosting a decorating party all week. Visit us between 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. any day this week and get your hands on all the decorating materials you need to stand out in the crowd on graduation day. Plus, we’ve stocked a candy bar to give you the energy you need to get your cap on point.

3. Need some tunes to commemorate the occasion? Here’s a Spotify playlist made especially for the Class of 2017 by the members of the class themselves! Happy listening!

4. Planning on taking a much needed vacation after all that hard work and walking across the stage with diploma in hand? Consider checking out UCF’s worldwide travel packages.

5. Still need to make your class gift? You haven’t missed your chance. Help out future UCF students and be a part of a lasting legacy by making a gift of $20.17.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—April 17

1. Not much of a surprise — UCF Football announced last week the name change of Bright House Networks Stadium to Spectrum Stadium. The first event to be held in the building under the Spectrum Stadium name will be UCF’s annual Spring Game, which is taking place Saturday at 6:30 p.m. There is a full day of events surrounding Spectrum Stadium prior to the Spring Game, with the second UCFastival slated to get started at 11 a.m. Learn more about the UCFastival lineup.

2. The city of Orlando’s newly created Creative Village Development Review Committee on April 11 approved UCF’s plan for the $60 million Dr. Phillips Academic Commons, which will house programs for both UCF and Valencia College and more. It has been described as what will become “the heart of UCF Downtown.” A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for May 11 and construction likely will start this summer. Here’s where you can find more information about the plans.

3. Keep an eye on UCF’s women’s golf team, who is ranked No. 28 in the nation. The Knights are currently in the lead on day two of the American Athletic Conference Championship after setting a tournament record with a combined score of 284 (-6) Sunday. UCF captured the crown in 2015 and hopes to reclaim it Tuesday.

4. UCF’s first patent application was filed 30 years ago this month, and since then, the university has made a name for itself nationally in regards to innovation. Learn more about the history of patents at UCF and goals for the future in this story.

5. Shoutout to Keith Sutliff ’10, who premiered his film “The Mason Brothers” in Hollywood last week. Sutliff graduated with a degree in criminal justice and his credits for the film include writer, director, actor and producer. Check out the trailer below.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—April 10

 

Courtesy of Tony Firriolo
1. Season tickets for the 2017 UCF Football campaign are now on sale. Several new seating options are available to fans for the upcoming season. Included in the new offerings are a family plan, a number of sections now available in the south end zone, an even lower price for access to the Carl Black & Gold Cabana and a new Stadium Club.

Don’t forget, the 2017 UCFastival and Spring Game are around the corner on April 22.

2. Other news out of Athletics: The Knights will face off annually against a new league foe. Wichita State will join the American Athletic Conference in men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports beginning July 1.

3. UCF Celebrates the Arts got a thumbs up in the Orlando Sentinel. The team’s production of “Oklahoma!” was praised for its collaboration. Read the story here.

4. Flags will be at half-staff and a remembrance ceremony will take place Tuesday in the Pegasus Ballroom of the Student Union for an Eternal Knights Memorial Service honoring 18 students who passed away in the past 12 months. One of those students is Kailyn Jones, whose legacy is living on through scholarships.

5. A group of UCF students is working to develop a robot that could revolutionize the medical industry. The robot is intended to assist doctors in performing precise medical procedures. Doctors will input start and endpoint markers on the human body, and the robot will follow instructions. “We have outstanding students, and I think they are the future workforce,” said Zhihua Qu, a professor who is leading the group. “And while they’re studying, they can already make a contribution.”

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—April 3

1. UCF Celebrates the Arts, an annual showcase featuring an interactive exhibition of student artwork, starts Friday at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. To get your ready for your days at the theatre, read this alumni spotlight on Desmond Newson, who scored a role in the national tour of “Hamilton,” which began in San Francisco in March.

Also, check out the complete UCF Celebrates The Arts schedule.

2. The Board of Governors approved the UCF Lake Nona Medical Center late last week. Construction is pending a final state agency approval but could begin as early as 2020. This will mark a new era for our community, our students, our faculty and our researchers. Read more here.

3. The next time you settle in for a night of Netflix-ing, consider watching “The Discovery.” The new release featuring Robert Redford, Jason Segel and Rooney Mara was written by film alumnus Justin Lader ’06.

4. Do you know someone in need of some financial help for college? UCF Alumni awards more than $50,000 in scholarships every year. The deadline for scholarship applications is April 5. Learn more about how to apply, criteria, etc. at ucfalumni.com.

5. Baseball won its conference-opening series against No. 11 Houston over the weekend. The Knights are back in action at home on Wednesday against Stetson at 6:30 p.m before heading to Tampa this weekend for the War On I4 against USF.

Speaking of the War On I4, UCF added to its commanding lead, 36-15, thanks to the No. 39 men’s tennis team’s 4-2 win over No. 26 USF on Saturday’s Senior Day. USF is the fourth top-30 opponent that the Black and Gold has knocked off this season.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—March 27

1. The big news this week is that UCF men’s basketball is taking over New York City for the NIT Final Four. The #kNYghts tip off against TCU at 9 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN in Madison Square Garden. The official ChargeOn Pregame Party at Carragher’s Pub is sold out. Knights fans who couldn’t make it to New York City can cheer together from afar at one of UCF’s official watch parties around the country. Check the watch party list for more information.

2. UCF alumnus Matthew Laurence ’06 is being compared to “Percy Jackson” creator Rick Riordan thanks to his debut fantasy novel “Freya,” which was published last week to positive reviews. The story tells the tale of a young girl who is a forgotten goddess, and it takes place in — where else?! — Orlando!

3. Information surrounding the UCFastival and football spring game was released late last week and it includes a jam-packed day of fun for the whole family. The UCFastival will begin at 11 a.m. at IOA Plaza on April 22 and features a concert by country music star Lauren Aliana; Food Truck Wars (featuring more than 40 food trucks from the state of Florida); hot air balloon rides; and much more. Click here for the full details.

4. The UCF faculty and staff’s annual Believe campaign wrapped up on March 22 with a collection of $1,010,644 in support of the university’s goals. This year’s campaign set a new record for participation level with 2,045 members of UCF’s faculty and staff pulling together to make an impact. For an in-depth look at the success of Believe, visit our Exposure gallery, which features video, photos, anecdotes and facts from celebration event.

5. Issa Batarseh, a professor in UCF’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering who is recognized worldwide as a leader in power electronics, has been named as a 2017 inductee to the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame. Batarseh is the third UCF researcher to receive the honor since its inception in 2014.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—March 20

1. March Madness continues for the UCF men’s basketball team tonight when the Knights face Illinois State in the second round of the NIT. The game will tip at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. UCF is coming off its first victory in the NIT in program history after a 79-74 win over Colorado. UCF (22-11) has matched its most wins in a season since 2005, and following Monday’s contest against Illinois State, will have played more games than any other season in program history.
The Chicago UCF Alumni Chapter is encouraging Illinois-based Knights to make the road trip. Check out their Facebook page for more info.

In other UCF Athletics news… shoutout to the ladies! The women’s basketball team ended its historic season Sunday in the second round of the WNIT, finishing with a 21-12 overall record, the program’s best mark since the 2010-11 campaign. The UCF softball team notched its first win over a Top 25 opponent this season with a 4-2 victory over No. 14 Baylor on Sunday afternoon. Up next, the Knights host the nation’s No. 1 team, Florida State, on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. A standing room only crowd is expected, so be sure to purchase tickets in advance to guarantee your seats to the matchup.

2. Here’s a story that will make you feel good: a record number of UCF students volunteered their time last week on service projects abroad through the Alternative Break Program during their spring break. More than 50 students traveled on one of three trips to Guatemala, Dominican Republic or Costa Rica as part of UCF’s Alternative Break Program that connects students with volunteer opportunities across the U.S. and the world.

3. Twenty-two UCF graduate programs were ranked in the top 100 in their respective fields by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools of 2018 released last week. UCF’s best ranked program is counselor education in the College of Education & Human Performance, which moved up two spots to No. 7.

4. Each year UCF Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving awards more than $50,000 in scholarships to UCF students demonstrating strong academic ability and significant extracurricular and community involvement. UCF Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving is pleased to again offer more than a dozen scholarship opportunities for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Apply for scholarships by April 2 based on eligibility by following these simple steps:
1. Read all scholarship criteria online at http://ucfalumni.com/students/scholarships and complete ALL required supporting documents prior to submitting your application.
2. Log into myUCF.
3. Select “Student Self Service.”
4. Click on “Scholarship Application” > “Home Page” > “Add New Scholarship.”
5. Complete and submit application(s).

5. The UCF College of Medicine had its best Match Day yet — of the 114 senior medical students, 113 were matched to residency programs last week. Match Day is the culmination of medical students’ fourth year, when they decide on a specialty and find out where they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives, depending on their specialty. Some of this year’s class are staying in state at programs such as Florida and USF while others are going to programs such as Baylor, Brown, Harvard, Mayo Clinic, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Yale.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—March 13

1. If you’re dragging because of Daylight Savings Time, we’ve got some news that should provide the jolt you need. The UCF men’s basketball team is back in postseason play for the first time in five years, and better yet, the Black and Gold will be back in action at CFE Arena this Wednesday. The Knights (21-11) will participate in the National Invitation Tournament for the second time ever when they host fifth seeded Colorado (19-14) Wednesday at 7 p.m. with coverage on ESPN3 and FM 96.9 The Game.

Tickets to Wednesday’s game are available now on UCFKnights.com. Season ticket holders can login to their account and purchase tickets by clicking here. Tickets for the general public can be purchased by clicking here.

2. A UCF police officer is being called a hero after helping save the life of a university employee who was choking last week. Alumna Julie Wilk, who graduated with a criminal justice degree in 2006 and has been with the department since 2011, performed the Heimlich maneuver to help the woman cough up what she was choking on. We salute you, Officer Wilk!

3. A UCF librarian, who serves as president of UCF’s Pride Faculty and Staff Association, is looking to photograph people with Pulse-themed tattoos for an exhibit that will be featured at the UCF Art Gallery in June. Carrie Moran and current Ph.D. student David Moran ’14 will be working on the project together. Got a Pulse-tribute tattoo or know someone who does? Then, you’ll want to click this.

4. Academy Award-winning actress and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Mira Sorvino will speak at UCF on March 23 about combating human trafficking. The event is at 3 p.m. in the Student Union’s Pegasus Ballroom and is free and open to the public.

5. The UCF Alumni e-newsletter is heading to your inbox today for your reading pleasure! Make sure you check it out for all the latest news.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—March 6

1. UCF Athletics basically won everything last week. Here’s a rundown of what happened from Feb. 27 (when we last posted Five Things) to today:
• Feb 28: Baseball trounced the No. 2 Florida Gators, 11-2, in front of the third-largest crowd (3,852) to see a game at the UCF Baseball Complex
• March 1: Softball picked up a road win at Florida Gulf Coast.
• March 2: Men’s basketball wrapped up the fourth seed and a first-round bye in the American Athletic Conference Championship thanks to the Knights’ win at USF in the regular season finale. The Knights now lead the Bulls in the War On I4 rivalry series, 30-15.
• March 3-5: Baseball swept Stony Brook over the weekend with three-straight wins to improve their season record to 11-1. The team currently ranks among the top five in the nation for win-loss percentage (.917).
• March 3-5: Softball kept momentum rolling with three wins over the weekend against Providence and Florida Gulf Coast – two of which came off walk-off homers.
• March 5: Rowing collected five first-place finishes in six events to open the spring season and clinch its seventh-straight Robin Yeuell Trophy at the 37th annual Metro Cup in Winter Park.
• March 4: Women’s basketball won its first American Athletic Conference Tournament game in program history to advance to the semifinals.
• March 5: Men’s tennis topped Davidson, 6-1, at the USTA National Campus.
• Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams earned their 20th victories of the season. More than 90 percent of Division I schools can’t claim the same feat in 2016-17.

2. Three alumni were inducted into the College of Business Hall of Fame recently: Sonya Dixon ’96 ’98MBA, chief financial officer and senior vice president at Holiday Inn Club Vacations; Antonio “Tony” Moreno Jr. ’91, managing partner/financial consultant, MPC Wealth Management; and Michael O’Donnell ’09, executive/entrepreneur for the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UCF. The Hall of Fame is the highest honor given by the college to graduates who have been in the industry for at least 20 years and have brought notoriety to the university through their professional achievements.

3. UCF Theatre alumnus Desmond Newson ’05 snagged a coveted spot in the national tour of the Tony-award winning Broadway musical, “Hamilton.” The tour of “Hamilton” will begin in San Francisco in March, followed by a 21-week run in Los Angeles, with more cities follow, including Orlando, for the 2018-2019 season.

4. The UCF Alumni family grew by two last week when John C. Hitt and his wife, Martha, received the Honorary Alumni Award at the celebration of the president’s 25th anniversary on March 1. It’s a fitting recognition — Hitt has conferred more than 80 percent of all degrees since UCF’s founding in 1963.

5. Recent film grad Dana Pellerin ’16 walked around spreading love around campus while creating an eye-catching video. It seems like a good way to start off the week – check it out for yourself!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Feb. 27

    1. In case you haven’t heard by now, Kenneth G. Dixon has made a gift commitment of more than $5 million to UCF Athletics. It is the largest cash pledge ever by an individual UCF alumnus. In recognition of this gift, a 95-acre section of campus will be named the Kenneth G. Dixon Athletics Village. Check out this gallery to see more of what UCF’s vice president and director of athletics Danny White envisions for the future.

2. “It was so special to walk off the court seeing fans rush the floor. It was a wonderful experience. And that’s what we want to see. We have always said we’re not going to get anything special done without all of us being committed. That’s our student body, our community, our players and staff. Tonight, I think it all came together where everyone was engaged. I thought the students were great. I thought our fans were amazing. It was electric in there again tonight.”

That’s UCF men’s basketball head coach Johnny Dawkins following Sunday’s big win over No. 15 Cincinnati, marking the fourth victory over a ranked opponent in program history.

3. President John C. Hitt will celebrate his 25th anniversary on March 1. At last count in  September 2016, President Hitt has conferred more than 240,000 degrees at UCF. Read more about UCF’s accomplishments under his leadership over the last 25 years.

4. UCF’s lead in the War on I4 series just got a boost from track and field’s title win at the American Athletic Conference Indoor Championships. Redshirt senior Anne-Marie Blaney was named the Most Outstanding Track Performer of the Meet. The NCAA Indoor Championships will take place in College Station, Texas, on March 10-11, one week before UCF opens the outdoor season at home with the UCF Black and Gold Challenge.

5. More than 200 faculty, staff and students from the UCF music and theatre departments are collaborating on Oklahoma! for Celebrate the Arts, which runs from April 7-14. All events are free but tickets are required for all performances and entrance into the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Visit http://arts.cah.ucf.edu for more information.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Feb. 20

1. Five alumni recently won regional Emmy awards of excellence for their work in television this past year. Among the accomplished group is Nicholson School of Communication Alumni Hall of Fame inductee Marla Weech ’79.

2. UCF partnered with Orange County Fire Rescue to launch two lifesaving apps, PulsePoint Respond and PulsePoint AED, late last week. The apps support first-responding agencies like Orange County Fire Rescue by encouraging CPR-trained citizens to respond to sudden cardiac arrest incidents as emergency crews are en route. Both applications are available as free downloads on mobile devices.

3. SAVE THE DATE for UCF Celebrates The Arts. The university’s annual showcase of student and faculty presentations will return April 7-14 to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando. The eight days of music, performances and visual displays are open to the public for free. For a sneak peek of the lineup of events, click here.

4. ICYMI, students from UCF’s College of Nursing delivered one-of-a-kind teddy bears to hospitalized children to make the week of Valentine’s Day a little sweeter. Although the college is finished taking orders for this year’s distribution of bears, it intends to make this an annual event. Take one look at this picture, and you’ll see why:

5. The College of Sciences Distinguished Speaker Series resumes this week with a talk on “2015 Homicide Rise and the ‘Ferguson Effect.’” The event, which is open to the public, begins at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Tuscawilla Country Club (1500 Winter Springs Blvd., Winter Springs, FL 32708).