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 – June 4, 2018

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1. The American Athletic Conference released game times and television partners for three of the UCF football team’s 2018 matchups. The season opener at UConn on Aug. 30 will kick off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU. UCF hosts FAU in a Friday night contest on Sept. 21, which is set to begin at 7 p.m. on ESPN. UCF’s Nov. 1 home game with Temple is slated to get under way at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.

2. UCF alumni are encouraged to help usher in the next generation of Knights at Freshman Welcome events this week in Tampa Bay (June 6) and Southwest Florida (June 7). Enjoy complimentary hors d’ourves, beverages and UCF-themed giveaways as we induct local high school seniors and their families into the UCF family.

For a full list of upcoming events hosted by UCF Alumni, visit ucfalumni.com/events.

3. The founder of uBreakiFix, Justin Wetherill ’07, is part of the UCF Alumni family. Hear how the UCF College of Business Administration helped Wetherill start and grow his business for the past decade.

4. Orange County is opening a new fire station today that is expected to improve emergency responses in an area that includes UCF. The new station is located at 10679 University Blvd.

5. Word on the street is that USF Athletic Director Mark Harlan has accepted the same position at Utah. We can neither confirm nor deny that losing the War on I4 rivalry trophy to UCF in back-to-back seasons played a part in his decision to leave Tampa, but we wish him well in his new endeavors.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – March 12, 2018

1. If you missed it, the UCF Board of Trustees named Dale Whittaker, PhD, the university’s president-elect Friday after a nationwide search. Whittaker, who currently serves as UCF’s provost and executive vice president, would become president July 1 if his selection is confirmed later this month by the Florida Board of Governors. He would replace John C. Hitt, who is retiring from the presidency on June 30.

2. UCF has announced ticket details for the 2018 UCF Spring Game presented by Dex Imaging on April 21. To sum up, the game is basically free to attend. If you are interested in checking out the premium seating areas (Tower Club, Stadium Club, Carl Black & Gold Cabana) and are not already a premium season ticket holder, you have the option to purchase tickets in those sections. Full ticket details can be found at ucfknights.com, and don’t forget, the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center is hosting its first-ever Spring Game Indoor Tailgate from 3-5 p.m.

3. The Space Coast UCF Alumni Chapter is accepting nominations for its annual Notable Knight Award. Established in 2012, the honor is presented to a Knight who best exemplifies a heart for volunteering and giving back to the Space Coast community. You can learn more about nomination criteria and submit your pick by visiting ucfalumni.com/sknomination.

4. Shout out to UCF College of Business Administration alumnus Jesse Wolfe ’15, whose company O’Dang Hummus just scored a new deal with Walmart. His hummus salad dressings, featuring flavors Ranch, Buffalo Ranch, Honey Mustard, Caesar, Roasted Red Pepper and Greek Tzatziki, will be placed in 2,000 of Walmart’s stores. You might remember Wolfe and his company from ABC’s Shark Tank. Read more about this new partnership in the Orlando Sentinel.

5. The UCF baseball team will look to extend its 12-game win streak this week with five home games on the docket. The Knights are coming off back-to-back victories over the No. 1 Florida Gators and a weekend sweep of Siena. Get yourself to John Euliano Park!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – March 5, 2018

1. On March 29, the UCF community — alumni, parents, students and friends — will come together and give generously to the academic or athletic programs most meaningful to them. UCF Day of Giving is the day to support what YOU love about UCF, too.

At UCF we dream BIG, so we’ve set a goal to reach 1,000 donors in 24 hours. Whether you’re a first-time donor or a loyal annual donor, we need your support to achieve this ambitious goal that will help to ensure a strong future for UCF.

2. If you’ve been keeping tabs on Shaquem Griffin ’16 at the NFL Combine, then you’ll know the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Defensive MVP ran away the competition — quite literally. Here’s a recap of Griffin’s record-breaking performance.

3. It’s March, so bring on the madness! Post-season basketball is already in full swing with the women’s basketball team set to face USF in the American Athletic Conference semifinals at the Mohegan Sun in Connecticut today at 4:30 p.m. on ESPNU. The winner of the matchup will advance to face either UConn or Cincinnati on Tuesday for the league title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Meanwhile, the UCF men’s basketball team clinched the sixth seed in its conference tournament, which will be held in Orlando at the Amway Center starting Thursday, March 8. The Knights will tip off against ECU at 9 p.m.

If you’re planning on heading to Amway to cheer for the Knights, stop by Ember for a reception from 4:30-7 p.m., hosted by alumni organizations from the American Athletic Conference. This event will offer drink specials, first-come-first-serve appetizers and best of all, is free to attend! UCF fans should register online and  check in on site with UCF Alumni for an opportunity to win a special prize pack, including two tickets to the Knights’ opening round game against the Pirates later that night. You can also buy game tickets through UCF.

4. The UCF College of Nursing is accepting nominations for its Outstanding Alumni Awards Program. Through this program, five distinguished alumni and one student will be presented an award at the 2018 UCF Alumni All-Class Nursing Reunion on April 14. Applicants and recipients of these awards have demonstrated remarkable work in the field of nursing in one of six categories: Community Service, Education, Innovation, Mentorship, and/or as an outstanding UCF College of Nursing faculty member, or Senior Noble Knight.The deadline for nominations is Friday, March 16.

5. The UCF Board of Trustees aims to select the university’s president-elect this Friday. Three of the four finalists are on campus this week for their interviews – Matthew Wilson, JD, president of Akron University, was the first to complete his visit on Friday, March 2. Once the trustees makes their selection on March 9, the Florida Board of Governors will vote on the decision March 28 or 29.

BONUS:  Make your Monday more fun with this career quiz!

Class Gift: Five Funds You Need to Know

gt-graphiccropWe’re one day away from #GivingTuesday, a global celebration of giving. On Nov. 29, you can get involved by making your class gift of $20.16. We know you’ve got passion, especially when it comes to UCF. There are so many worthwhile areas to support fellow students like you, but here are a few in particular we think you should know about. When you’re ready to contribute on #GivingTuesday, please donate here — just select the area you’re passionate about from the designation drop down menu.

1. First-Generation Scholarships
One in four UCF students are first-generation scholars. They are people like President Hitt, who has now conferred more than 200,000 degrees for UCF graduates. Or alumna Kim Wyant, who was the first goalkeeper for the U.S. Women’s National Team and is now the head coach of the NYU men’s soccer team. Or Samantha Ogden, who cried tears of joy on her porch in her two-stoplight hometown when she read the email that said she would be graduating this past August.

For first-generation college students, earning a degree can transform their future in remarkable ways along with everyone in their family for generations to come.

BONUS: Your donation to this particular fund is like the Daily Double on “Jeopardy!” minus the risk. For every dollar you donate, the state of Florida will donate another, effectively DOUBLING the impact your gift. So if you donate $20.16, it’s really $40.32.

2. Knights Helping Knights Pantry
The Knights Helping Knights Pantry has grown over the last seven years from a closet in the Student Union to its own mini market that provides food, clothes and toiletries to students in need.

And they know how to make a dollar stretch. Their top two highly in demand items are peanut butter and pasta. One donation of $50 translates into 40 jars of peanut butter or 60 one-pound bags of pasta.

“Without the donations and the funding, we would not be able to provide any of these services to students,” said Jessica Roberts, a manager at the Pantry. “If you really look at it, all the food is donated or purchased through monetary donations. Every clothing item, every food item is donated by someone in the Orlando community. Without those donations we wouldn’t be here.”

3. Everyday Champion Student-Athlete Scholarships
Everyday Champions Scholarships enable student-athletes to fulfill their aspirations on the field and in the classroom. There are numerous stories of how a scholarship has changed a student-athlete’s life. Here’s one of our favorites:

Before beginning her freshman year at UCF, rower Leonie Hamel was in a terrible boating accident while training with her native Ireland national team. She nearly drowned and broke her back in six places. She thought she lost her chance to come to UCF, but head coach Becky Cramer said her scholarship would be waiting for her when she was recovered, no matter how long that took.

“There was always that light at the end of the tunnel for me,” Hamel said.

After months of recovery, she did come to America. And she has helped UCF clinch back-to-back conference championships and NCAA Championship appearances over the last two years. The health sciences major has also participated in Knights Without Borders (an international service learning group) and served on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee executive board.

4. UCF Student Emergency Fund
The UCF Student Emergency Fund is used for students who face emergency financial hardship and need scholarship to continue to pursue their higher education. It can help pay for a plane ticket home when a student’s loved one passes away unexpectedly. Or assist students who are unable to complete forms for federal student aid because of citizenship or other hardship.

5. Area of Greatest Need
If you just aren’t sure where to donate but want to help, this is the fund for you. UCF will make sure your gift gets put to good use.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Oct 17

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1. All hail, UCF’s newest royalty! Kevin Louidor and Sabrina Jérôme were named Homecoming King and Queen on Saturday. Jérôme is a regional and cultural studies/political science senior and is a member of the President’s Leadership Council. She aspires to attend law school and eventually serve as a social justice advocate for immigrant populations. Louidor is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and a health service administration junior.

2. Knights Give Back, UCF’s annual day of volunteer service to the community, will celebrate a decade of commitment this week. Through the years, volunteers have provided about $600,000 in services to the community. To see all the opportunities and register for the event on Oct. 22, click here.

3. There were a couple of honorary UCF spirit team members at the football game Saturday from Limbitless Solutions. “Ironman kid” Alex Pring and fellow Limbitless kid Annika Emmert helped lead the March to Victory to the stadium before taking part in the Black and Gold cheer during a timeout on the field. The Limbitless team, led by two-time alumnus and current doctoral student Albert Manero, was invited to be recognized at the game for their revolutionary work in bionic engineering.

4. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy will have a one-hour debate on Oct. 17 at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center – the on-campus home for all UCF alumni. The debate will be simulcast live on ABC affiliates throughout the state, as well as Cox Media Group radio stations. A livestream will be available online.

5. Fans now have a chance to own UCF’s special edition reflecting helmets from its Homecoming matchup against Temple. A limited number of the helmets, which feature special reflective decals that pay homage to Spirit Splash, are now up for auction on UCFKnights.com. A select number are autographed by head coach Scott Frost.

Olympic Knights: Ricardo’s Road to Rio

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By Jenna Marina

Orlando, Fla. — If anyone knows the true meaning of “timing is everything,” it is UCF alumnus Ricardo Gouveia ’14. By qualifying for the Summer Olympics in Rio, the former men’s golf standout will be part of history as the sport returns to the Games after a 112-year hiatus.

Golf was first played at the Olympic Games in Paris in 1900, only to be removed after 1904. It was voted back in seven years ago by the International Olympic Committee, setting in motion Gouveia’s road to Rio where he will represent his home country of Portugal.

“It feels great,” Gouveia told UCFKnights.com. “It’s one of those sporting events that you dream to be a part of at least once in your life. It’s going to be special being in Rio where the native language is Portuguese.”

Gouveia is one of threRicardo-tweete UCF alumni who will participate in the Olympics this year. He along with Aline Reis ’11 (Brazil, soccer) are making their first Olympic Games appearances while 2008 gold medalist Phil Dalhausser ’02 (USA, beach volleyball) is set for his third and potentially final appearance.

Gouveia was a two-time all-region and All-America honorable-mention honoree as a Knight from 2011-14. He turned pro after graduating with a degree in interdisciplinary studies with a business administration minor.

“The whole experience that I had at UCF was crucial to reach the level of play and the stability that I have right now,” he told UCFKnights.com. “I learned so much from a lot of people while attending school. I can’t thank them enough.”

Gouveia competed in his first PGA event in 2016 when he was invited to join the field at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, Fla.

He is ranked 34th of the 60-man field. Gouveia will tee off Aug. 11-14 on the Olympic Golf Course. The opening ceremony is slated for Friday, Aug. 5, and the Games last until Aug. 21.

Dog Days of Summer Graduation

Amanda and Ridley
Amanda Overend ’16 and dog-in-training Ridley

By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. — Amanda Overend takes pride in propagating what has become a life motto: “Help is a four-legged word.”

The Orlando native associates her college experience with volunteering – a passion she found five years ago.

Her most recent philanthropic endeavor has been helping raise puppies for Canine Companions for Independence, a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs.

UCF is the first public university in Florida to have an agreement with the organization and allow dogs to be raised on campus. Overend has trained three dogs: Deacon, Asland and her current golden-lab mix, Ridley.

“It’s had a huge impact on me,” she said.

So much so that she included the dogs’ names on her cap and will have Ridley in the audience on graduation day along with her parents and best friend since middle school.

Overend said it took her 11 years to earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology. In finding her way, she moved across the country and back, and changed degree paths several times from web design to biology to marketing and nursing before finally landing on psychology.

“When I switched to psychology, I fell in love once I found classes that I actually enjoyed,” she said. “UCF is home. My aunt went here, and I actually felt a part of the school of psychology.”

Although she calls it a long journey, she values her experience at UCF and encourages others to use their time in college to explore who they are and what is important to them.

“It’s really not a race,” she said. “Just go at your own speed and find a degree that you truly feel passionate about. Not just one that is going to be easy.”

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—July 25, 2016

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1. This is one for the books: The John C. Hitt Library is about to get a makeover. UCF’s first building, which was built in 1967, will undergo a complete transformation that will provide new amenities for students such as an automated book-retrieval system, additional open shelving for materials, 24-hour study rooms, and space for researchers to collaborate.

2. Big 12 expansion found its way back into headlines again after the Power 5 conference’s board of directors authorized commissioner Bob Bowlsby to start exploring expansion candidates. What does this mean for UCF? Too early to tell, but President Hitt said he believes “there ought to be a home for us in the Big 12.”

Butera3. While we’re on the sports beat, former Knight Drew Butera recently visited the White House with the Kansas City Royals. In November, the UCF catcher (2003-05) became the first Knight to win a World Series.

4. Eureka! UCF ranked 19th in the nation among public universities and 40th in the world for the number of U.S. patents it secured in 2015, according to a new listing by the National Academy of Inventors. UCF’s 50 utility patents (aka patents for invention) ranked ahead of Duke University, the University of Rochester and Indiana University.

5. Pegasus Magazine is kind of a big deal. The University and College Designers Association evaluated nearly 1,100 print entries in its annual competition, awarding 187 awards. Six awards went to Pegasus. Kudos to UCF Marketing and all the hard-working people who contribute to this incredible magazine. The Summer issue – dedicated to Space – is out now!

 

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—June 13, 2016

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  1. President Hitt proclaims UCF stands with Orlando against terror; his message is clear: “I tell our LGBTQ students, faculty, staff, and alumni this: You are not alone. Your university stands with you.
  2. UCF hosted several on-campus blood drives this week, in addition to campus conversations and therapy support sessions. On Tuesday night, a vigil was  held inside the student union.
  3. On Friday, UCF celebrated its 53rd birthday and hosted the inaugural Volunteer Leadership Summit; the summit brought together nearly 200 volunteers and faculty/staff together for a half-day think-tank designed to discuss IGNITE: The Campaign for UCF and its far-reaching impact on UCF’s future.
  4. A UCF College of Medicine researcher identified a tiny liver protein that when damaged, leads to heart disease. The discovery is the cover story of the June 10 edition of The Journal of Biological Chemistry.
  5. #‎UCFBusiness‬ is working to bring Elon Musk to ‪UCF‬ for a TED-style talk to a crowd of more than 10,000 business and engineering students to encourage them to take smart risks. Help support the ‪#‎MissiontoMusk‬ by supporting and sharing the Thunderclap campaign 🚀.