Five Things Alumni Need to Know – Sept. 9, 2018

Indoor Tailgates

  1. With a win for No. 18 UCF Football and the wild success of our first Indoor Tailgate of the season, it was quite the weekend for Knights fans! If you had as much fun as we did, see if you can find yourself in our photo gallery – and don’t forget to mark your calendar for the next Indoor Tailgate on Sept. 21.

2. Another day, another ranking! U.S. News & World Report ranked UCF at No. 10 most innovative in its annual list of best colleges – above Harvard, Princeton, Duke and Johns Hopkins.

3. Is Pluto a Planet? New research from planetary scientist and UCF alumnus Philip Metzger suggests that it is! The debate is on, and we’re backing our guy in black and gold.

4. Meet UCF’s fifth president and learn more about the future of our alma mater at two special receptions this October. All UCF alumni are invited to join us for An Evening with President Dale Whittaker in D.C. on Wednesday, Oct. 3 and A Breakfast with Dale Whittaker in Atlanta on Wednesday, Oct. 17.

5. Last but certainly not least, a BIG thank you to the Virga family. Last week, Vince ’95 and Joyce ’98 Virga committed $10.25 million to UCF, making theirs the single largest alumni gift in university history.

“It’s truly an honor to be able to give back to an institution that has given us so much.” – Joyce Virga ’98

What a way to start a week. Charge On, Knights!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week – Aug. 27, 2018

UCF Watch Parties

1.UCF FOOTBALL IS BACK THIS WEEK! We know our alumni are pumped for the season opener this Thursday against UConn. In fact, we have more than 30 official #UCFWatchParty locations across the nation where Knights fans will gather to cheer for a black and gold victory!

2. Speaking of football, our first home game is Saturday, Sept. 8 against South Carolina State. Get game day ready with this Fan Guide to UCF Football Season, featuring information on parking, tickets, traditions, and our favorite, Indoor Tailgates!

3. News from the heart of Downtown Orlando: UCF Downtown will open its doors to 7,700 students in less than a year! Take a look at how this game-changing campus will increase access for students and foster collaboration with our partners.

4. Our Knights are out of this world! The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation has awarded alumnus Larry Bradley ’94 the Neil Armstrong Award of Excellence for his contributions to space exploration. The foundation has also named two UCF students as Astronaut Scholars.

5. Last week, the Orlando City Council, Orange County commissioners and the UCF Board of Trustees approved the transfer of the Sanford Burnham Prebys building in Lake Nona to UCF so the university can repurpose the facility into a comprehensive cancer research and treatment center. The new UCF Lake Nona Cancer Center will house cancer researchers, clinical trials and treatment for patients.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week – Aug. 20, 2018

  1. First day of school, first day of school — and a BIG one at that! Today, our alma mater celebrates the 50th anniversary of its first classes and welcomed the most accomplished class of Knights to date. What a day! Follow along with the fun on social media using #UCFirstDay.

2. In his welcome message this morning, President Dale Whittaker shared that he will host two forums to hear what Knights want the future of UCF to look like. If you’d like to attend a forum, join us on Monday, Sept. 24 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the College of Medicine in Lake Nona or on Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Pegasus Ballroom at the UCF Student Union.

3. Chip on our shoulder? Maybe. The first Associated Press Top 25 Poll of the 2018 season was announced, and UCF Football came in at 21st in the nation.

4. Speaking of football season, there’s still time to stock up on game day gear! Get prepped for #UCFFansWear at UCFAlumKnights.com.

5. If you’re looking for a way to get involved with fellow Knights, look no further than our UCF Alumni events calendar. We’ve got events for our grads all over the nation!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week – Aug. 13, 2018

  1. Seriously, this is BIG! Tim Eggert ’02, alumnus of the Burnett Honors College and UCF College of Arts and Humanties, took his painting skills to the Orlando BIG Chair and turned it into a throne fit for Knight Nation. If his name sounds familiar, you might recognize Tim’s recent work as the designer for the new City of Orlando flag.

2. Following the Knights just got a whole lot easier, thanks to a newly-updated mobile app! Download it now to stay up to date with all things UCF Athletics.

3. How has your life changed since graduation? Show us, and you could win some sweet prizes! Enter our #KnightsThenVsNow contest on Instagram by this Friday – just make sure you check out the official rules for entry first!

4. We’re excited to share that UCF President Dale Whittaker will join us for the UCF ChargeOn Tailgate at UNC! Tailgate festivities will feature special appearances by UCF fan favorites, a catered breakfast buffet, three drink tickets per adult, a retractable stadium banner and a spirit sticker. Register now.

5. Speaking of our fearless leader, our UCF Alumni family wishes a very happy birthday to President Whittaker. May it be another great year of  transforming lives and livelihoods.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – Aug. 6, 2018

UCF ChargeOn Tailgate

  1.  We’re headed to Chapel Hill this fall! UCF fans of all ages are invited to join us for the UCF ChargeOn Tailgate ahead of the UCF vs. UNC game. Tailgate admission includes a breakfast buffet, drinks, a retractable stadium banner and a spirit sticker. To register for the tailgate, learn more about the event and get parking/transportation details, visit ucfalumni.com/ChargeOnTailgate.

2. Over the weekend, we welcomed 3,700 graduates into the UCF alumni family. Among those who walked the stage Saturday were a first generation college student and mother, the proud daughter of Colombian immigrants, the manager of the Knights Pantry and a former Russian exchange student devoted to “saving humanity one day.” It’s safe to say that our graduates are nothing short of incredible.

3. More effort after a grueling practice? No thanks! Coach Heupel had a big surprise for the UCF Football team: a slip and slide, courtesy of the fire department. You’ve got to see this one for yourself!

4. Speaking of football, where are you watching the season opener against UConn? Hopefully, in the company of fellow Knights at a UCF watch party near you: www.ucfalumni.com/watchparties.

5. The fall semester is around the corner, and this year, UCF will celebrate its 50th anniversary of the first day of classes, so we want to hear from you! Alumni of all ages are encouraged to share throwback photos from their own first day as Knights. Photos and memories collected will be considered for use on UCF’s official social media platforms and news site, UCF Today. Please submit your photo by Aug. 15.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – July 2

1. The Whittaker era has officially begun! UCF’s fifth president, Dale Whittaker, assumed office yesterday, with today being his first official day on the job. He and his wife, Mary shared a special message with Knight Nation and encouraged us to follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @UCFWhittaker.

2. The Heisman hype is real for UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton. The Hawaiian-born Knight dominated the 2017 season and is one of the top returning players in the nation heading into 2018. We got chills watching UCF’s debut #HIsman campaign video, which you can watch for yourself below.

3. UCF recently became a member of the Blue Community Consortium, which aims to help develop sustainable and economically successful coastal communities worldwide. The consortium’s Members share best practices on a global basis while simultaneously learning from best practices developed by other network members from around the world.

4. UCF placed a record 243 student-athletes on the American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team, which was announced by the league last week. The Knights posted a department-wide record grade-point average of 3.33, marking the 21st consecutive semester that UCF student-athletes have achieved at least a 3.0 GPA as a department — the longest streak in school history. What can we say? Knights just do it better.

And in case you missed it, former UCF men’s basketball star Matt Williams ’16 joined the Chicago Bulls for the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas. The Summer League will feature all 30 NBA Teams from July 6-17. Williams made three appearances for the Miami Heat in his rookie season last year.

5. UCF offers courses in just about any subject you can think of, and that includes perhaps the most famous wizard of all time, Harry Potter. UCF English Professor Tison Pugh says the series is “just as meaningful as my literature classes on Chaucer or the King Arthur legends.” This fun Q&A with Pugh is great for some light summer reading.

P.S. Wishing you and yours a happy and safe Independence Day!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – June 25, 2018

Photo of John and Martha Hitt

1. UCF President John C. Hitt H’17 and his wife Martha H’17 will retire this week from the Office of the President after 26 years of service to the university. Several alumni took the opportunity to share memories of this beloved couple as a humble way of saying thank you for all they have done.

2. Speaking of the president, that means Dale Whittaker will take over as UCF’s next great leader this week. He recently outlined some lofty goals he has in store to continue the university’s upward trajectory.

3. UCF’s Spectrum Stadium will play host to a professional football team coached by former Florida Gators coach Steve Spurrier, part of a new spring league that will start next year. The Orlando team, which will be part of the new Alliance of American Football, will play at least five games each season at the stadium on UCF’s campus for three years.

4. Two alumni are changing the game for public transportation around Orlando with their startup company, Omnimodal. The company, launched in early 2017, merges real-time information from public transit systems (I-Ride Trolley, Sanford Trolley) with existing navigation apps on mobile phones (Google Maps, Transit App) so users can plan how to get around and make adjustments on the fly.

5. Summer has officially begun, and our Knights around the nation have rounded up tips for your travels to their cities. Whether you’re planning on heading to the beach, the city or the mountains, check out these recommendations first from locals about food to eat and must-do activities!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – June 18, 2018

Graphic of UCF Football

1. Some scheduling news out of UCF Football: When the Knights host South Carolina State in week two of the 2018 college football season, kickoff at Spectrum Stadium will be 6 p.m. on ESPN3. UCF also announced it has finalized its non-conference slate for the 2019 season with the addition of FAMU as its season-opening matchup.

2. Thanks to researchers at UCF, squeezing oranges may give us a new way to deliver medicine or to detect bridge failures before they happen. Engineering Assistant Professor Andrew K. Dickerson and graduate student Nicholas M. Smith have figured out the mechanics of how oranges release that thin stream of fragrant oil when squeezed. By mimicking nature’s mechanism of an orange layer, pharmaceutical companies may be able to develop a less expensive and less complex way to deliver airborne medication.

3. There is now a UCF Alumni persona on the official UCF Mobile app! Download the app for iOS or Android and select the Alumni experience to stay informed about all things black and gold. For more information about the app, please visit ucfmobile.ucf.edu.

4.  Although the 2018-19 men’s basketball schedule isn’t completely finalized, we did find out which American Athletic Conference opponents will be visiting the CFE Arena. The Knights will host nine league opponents, including two NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago in Cincinnati and Houston, and a pair of teams rich in history with first-year head coaches in Penny Hardaway’s Memphis and Danny Hurley’s UConn.

UCF will play Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis, SMU, Temple, UConn and USF twice during the year, once at home and once on the road. The Knights will only host ECU and Tulsa, and only go on the road to take on Wichita State and Tulane. Fans excited for the upcoming 2018-19 UCF men’s basketball season can purchase tickets today by calling (407) 823-1000 or online: https://ucfknights.co/mbb1819tix.

5. A big thank you to Police Chief Richard Beary ’04MS, who retired last week after 11 years at the head of UCF’s police department and 41 years serving Central Florida in law enforcement.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – June 11, 2018

Photo of President Hitt and Knightro1. The new issue of Pegasus magazine is out, and it is dedicated to President John C. Hitt H’17 in honor of his 26 years at UCF. The publication is a great tribute to a great man, and we were particularly struck by these words written by Hitt himself: “That’s the modern-day version of a knight: You do what has to be done, and you try to do what’s best for all.” Give it a read, and have the tissue box nearby.

2. The ChargeOn Tour is headed to Tampa tonight at Tropicana Field for the Rays’ game against the Toronto Blue Jays. You must purchase a ticket to the baseball game at the box office in order to attend the program that will feature Director of Athletics Danny White and football head coach Josh Heupel. Here’s the rundown:
6-6:50 p.m.: Pregame UCF ChargeOn Tour appearance with entrance at Gate 4 through Republic Bank Draft Room
6:50-7:10 p.m.: Autograph session at the Press Level by section 221
7:10 p.m.: First pitch of Rays vs. Blue Jays game

3. As Police Chief Richard Beary ’04MS prepares to retire after 11 years at UCF and 41 years of law enforcement service, UCF is conducting a comprehensive, transparent search for a new campus safety leader. Four UCF Police chief finalists will be on campus this month to meet with students, faculty and staff members, and other partners.

4. Hawaii is looking to ban sunscreens with the ingredient oxybenzone because of  research conducted by UCF associate professor John Fauth. Fauth and a team of international researchers in 2015 published a study that showed oxybenzone disrupted coral reproduction and caused bleaching.  Coral bleaching is destroying reef and impacting local economies and ocean species that depend on the reefs for survival. Legislators in Hawaii crafted a bill to ban sunscreens with the ingredient in May. The legislature approved the bill, which awaits the governor’s signature.

5. This week, the Orlando community unifies in remembrance, love and action as we honor the 49 lives lost and those impacted by the attack at Pulse on June 12, 2016. A vigil at UCF will be held June 13 from 7-8:30 p.m. in front of the Pulse mural at the Student Union, and Millican Hall will be lit up after dusk.

In addition to UCF’s vigil, there are several events from blood drives to art exhibits to remembrance ceremonies taking place around Orlando.  View the list here.

Photo of Pulse mural at UCF
A mural, located on the Student Union, memorializes Juan Ramon Guerrero and Christopher Andrew “Drew” Leinonen ’07 ’09MA, two Knights killed on June 12, 2016.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – May 21, 2018

UCF Football Game Time Graphic

1. The UCF baseball team earned the No. 5 seed in the 2018 American Athletic Conference Tournament at Spectrum Field in Clearwater. The Knights will play the first game of the tournament on Tuesday at 9 a.m. against the No. 4 seed ECU. (The game was originally schedule for 3 p.m. but due to the threat of inclement weather, the game was moved up) For more information about the tournament, including tickets, please visit The American’s championship central page.

2. Good news for UCF’s cutting edge RESTORES clinic, which helps people coping with post-traumatic stress disorder. The program has been awarded a $10 million grant to expand its work.

3. Professionals from Walt Disney World, the Orlando Magic and City of Orlando — all UCF alumni — shared some of their wisdom and experiences at a career enhancement panel, and we’re loving their five career tips. The panel was part of Hospitality Knight hosted by UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management Alumni Chapter. For more chapter and club events on the horizon, take a look at the alumni events calendar.

4. The first game time of the 2018 football season has been set. UCF’s Sept. 15 road trip to North Carolina will be played at noon in Chapel Hill. The matchup between the Knights and the Tar Heels will be broadcast on either ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, with the exact network to be named at a later date. Complete 2018 Schedule

5. A former Air Force fighter pilot; a 4-foot-2 woman who refused to let a rare genetic disorder keep her from pursuing her dreams; a 27-year-old cancer survivor; and a couple who are both active duty Army officers were all part of the 2018 graduating class from the College of Medicine. Read about them all in this Orlando Sentinel feature article.