Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week – Feb. 4, 2019

1. You only have a handful of days left to nominate your favorite 20-something for the 30 Under 30 Awards program! This event recognizes outstanding young alumni who are dreaming, innovating and accomplishing big things in their professional and personal lives since graduation. Young alumni currently make up one third of the UCF alumni population, and we want to celebrate all that they are doing to make our community a better place. If you know a young alum who is making an impact, submit a nomination on their behalf before 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7.

2. In terms of things that are BIG, attention-getting, conversation-starting, and phenomenon-building, the musical Hamilton is like the UCF of the theatre world. So we were curious what it’s like for UCF Alumna Abby Jaros ’14 to be a part of both. As a cast member in the hit musical that’s currently showing at the Dr. Phillips Center until Feb. 10, Abby says, “What I love about Hamilton is it’s creating conversation everywhere. [When I look back on this] I will remember the honor that it has been to be a part of something that will live on for a very long time. I get to be an original cast member of that. Who knows if I’ll ever get to experience that again? I will remember all the hard work it still took to maintain the dream.” Read more about Abby’s experience here.

3. We are still accepting submissions for UCF Love Story. If you and your partner found your roots at UCF and spent your early days holding hands on Memory Mall, we want to hear about it! Submit your story soon and you may be featured leading up to Valentine’s Day.

4. Megan Shub ’09 worked hard to climb the ladder of success for a major airline, got right up near the top, looked around, and leapt right off that ladder to the bottom of the production-industry barrel. From account manager to 27-year-old intern. From salary, health benefits and structure to who-knows-what-happens-next. It was risky and it was courageous and it was such a good decision that she is now a segment producer for “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.” Read more of her story right here.

5. If you’re looking for a fresh go-to excuse to bring up your pride in your alma mater, we’ve got you covered. The UCF Business Incubation Program is celebrating its 20th year of improving the chance of survival for small businesses in the area. Since its inception, the Incubator has assisted over 500 companies in their early stages. Companies like Grubhub, Orange Blossom Pilsner, OptiGrate, AVT Simulation and NanoSpective have all grown in part because the Incubator was available to help with essential guidance. Yep. Your university did that.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week – Jan. 28, 2019

1. There is just a little bit more time left to nominate that really excellent 20-something alum you know for the 30 Under 30 Awards program! This event allows us the opportunity to celebrate the incredible success of our UCF graduates who are doing big things and representing their alma mater well. You can’t nominate yourself, but if you’re an alum, you’re going to be younger than 30 years old once April 13, 2019 rolls around and you’re out there making an impact — drop a subtle hint to a family, friend or coworker to submit a nomination on your behalf before 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7.

2. The fifth-annual UCF Celebrates the Arts is April 5-14 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and it’s going to be a great one. Over the course of 10 days, this festival will include more than 30 events and exhibitions. Collaboration abounds as the School of Visual Arts and Design and the School of Performing Arts come together with other university and community partners (Orlando Repertory Theatre, Orlando Shakes, the Creative City Project, the Nicholson School of Communication and Media and more) to put an event together that will underscore the resilience of humans and the healing power of art. If you are a graduate of the College of Arts and Humanities, an arts-enthusiast or just looking to immerse yourself in something really cool happening in our community, be there.

3. Shaquem Griffin ’16 is continuing to make Knight Nation proud. Last Wednesday, Jan. 23 Shaquem accepted the 2019 Inspiration Award at the NCAA Honors Celebration. This award is reserved for people who used perseverance, dedication and determination to overcome a life-altering situation, and most importantly, are role models giving hope and inspiration to others. Pretty much sounds like the definition of Shaquem Griffin, right?

4. Unlike those little conversation heart candies, the tradition of UCF Love Story is returning this year! We are gathering tales of love that had their starting line at UCF and have no finish line to speak of. So if you and your partner have hearts that only beat for each other and all things UCF, let us know and you could be featured leading up to Valentine’s Day.

5. Maybe you’ve never been to space before (but if you have, you should definitely tell everyone that story), but if you want to tell people your university has, you can. Because we have. The research of UCF planetary scientists, Joshua Colwell and Adrienne Dove, was launched into space Jan. 23 from a facility in west Texas. Research like this, which leads to samples from asteroids, is what can help get us to new discoveries about the origins of life and the solar system. As a UCF Alum, we give you full permission to take partial credit for being a very small part of this.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week – Jan. 14, 2019

1. Alumna Abby Jaros ‘14, is young, scrappy, hungry and currently in the touring company of “Hamilton” that opens in Orlando Jan. 22! Jaros majored in musical-theater during her UCF years and is described by former professor, Mark Brotherton, as always being able to rise above a challenge. “She works so hard,” Brotherton told the Orlando Sentinel. “In every class she got better and better and better.” As a member of the “Hamilton” touring company, Jaros has performed the story of Alexander Hamilton more than 400 times since February of 2018. She is looking forward to adding to that number in her college town!

2. Any chance you know a 20-something alum who just so happens to be excelling personally and professionally? Now’s your chance to celebrate them and their success and nominate them for the 30 Under 30 Awards program! This event recognizes and honors young alumni who are making an impact. You must be an alum to be nominated, but any family, friend or coworker can submit a nomination on your behalf any time before 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7.

3. It’s the season of new beginnings and we think now is as good a time as any to resolve to get more involved with your alma mater as a mentor! For students at UCF, having a mentor who can show them the ropes and guide them along as they prepare for their future career is a big deal.  It’s both a learning and networking opportunity for the student and a philanthropic and resume-building opportunity for the alum. It’s Knights helping Knights and we hope you’ll be a part of it.

4. Remember when you were a kid and you’d jump from one couch in the living room to another? Well this is kind of like that, only considerably more complicated and cool. Thanks to a collaboration between a private space company and UCF, it is now possible for spacecrafts to use steam to propel from asteroid to asteroid. This development in spacecraft travel can have a profound impact on future exploration because, currently, once a spacecraft runs out of propellant, its interplanetary mission is halted. The new spacecraft (nicknamed “WINE” for World Is Not Enough) is designed to never run out of propellant and thus saves time and money.

5. Mark your calendar now — UCF Day of Giving is March 28, 2019 and we’ve got big things planned this year! UCF Day of Giving is a chance for all Knights to come together and support what they love about UCF. We can’t wait to see the ways you all will make an impact for the future of our university!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week – Jan. 7, 2019

1. A 25-game streak of perfection was certainly something unpredictable, but in the end it was so right and Knight Nation had the time of its life. The PlayStation Fiesta Bowl game against LSU may have brought our winning streak to an end, but the impact, momentum and heart of our football team these past two seasons isn’t going anywhere. Thank you to every one of you who came out to Arizona to cheer on our team, to those of you who purchased tickets so over 1,200 military members and their families from Luke Air Force were able to attend and to all of you Knights who proudly started the new year in your black-and-gold. We loved getting to host so many of you at our ChargeOn Tailgate before the big game! It’s always a big deal to support your team, but it’s another thing entirely to travel from any distance and show up at a 7 a.m. tailgate fully energized to chant “UCF!” as many times as Zombie Nation plays. Check out pictures from the tailgate here. OK. Now. Who’s ready for next season?

2. While we were out in Arizona, Knights made it a priority to give back to the community that was kind enough to host us! Over 70 people from the UCF community came together on Dec. 31 to come alongside an incredible organization, Arizona Helping Hands, which is the largest provider of essential needs for children in foster care and their families in the state. Not only did the group compile 173 first-aid kits, 85 birthday bags and sort all the toys and diapers that came in over the holidays, but our Phoenix UCF Alumni Club has committed to continue serving with Arizona Helpings Hands!

3. Nominations for the 30 Under 30 Awards program are officially open! This event recognizes and celebrates the young alumni who are making an impact through their professional and personal successes. You have to be alum to be nominated, but any family, friend or coworker can submit a nomination on your behalf anytime before 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7. If you know a worthy knight, we want to know!

4. We’re only a few days into 2019 and UCF is already out here doing big things. Last week it was announced that the Nicholson School of Communication and Media will be offering a doctorate in strategic communication starting next fall AND THEN the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering announced the launch of its Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering. Both of these new programs are just the beginning of an exciting 20Knighteen for the university!

5. Imagine being able to come back to your alma mater and spend a few nights on campus without having to return to your old dorm. In 2020 UCF will open its first on-campus hotel, Pegasus Hotel and Conference Center. Near the campus’ main entrance, the hotel will be five stories and will cater to an upscale clientele as part of the Marriot brand at the northeast corner of University Boulevard and Alafaya Trail. Keep an eye out at the end of 2019 to book a reservation!

Tips from A to Z for your #UCFiesta Trip to AZ!

Out of 292,117 UCF alumni, 148, 572 do not live in Central Florida. Imagine shopping in Target and seeing someone else’s hometown team represented instead of yours. Upsetting, right? This is the life over half of our alumni population must lead. But thanks to our UCF Alumni chapters and clubs, a common bond is found, Watch Parties are hosted and UCF pride is reaching far beyond the 32816 area code.

One of the spots it has spread to is Phoenix, AZ. (Hey! That’s where the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl is!)

Chris Fleming ’06, who moved out to Arizona for work in February of 2016, is the current chair of the Phoenix UCF Alumni Club.

“Getting involved with the alumni group out here is actually one of the first things I did when I found out I was moving,” Chris explains. “I wanted to figure out if there was a group because if there wasn’t I was going to start one.”

Chris is really passionate about the importance of alumni chapters and clubs. He’s also really helpful as a guide for us longtime Floridians that don’t really know what to expect when planning a trip to Arizona. So we asked him about both!

What was it like for you when you first got involved with the Phoenix UCF Alumni Club?

My wife and I moved here after the 0-12 season, so our Alumni group had kind of been getting kicked around. We had some bad luck before I got here, it seemed like every restaurant we went to got closed down the next year. But my goal was and is to make this the best alumni group in the country. For last year’s season, we had our first kickoff for a game at 4 o’clock on a Thursday. We had found a bar called Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers — which is a great name for a place and the food is amazing — we asked if we could start coming as an alumni group. That first game was just my wife and I, and Adam, who was the chair before me. Now we’re somewhere between 20-30 people on a Saturday. But according to LinkedIn there are 500 alumni in Phoenix! My goal is the group keeps growing.

Why do you think it matters that alumni far and wide be a part of community together?

We already have a common bond and that’s the hardest thing about a community. In so many neighborhoods across the country, people close their garage doors, go inside and don’t ever talk to each other. So when we were building this community, we knew we already had something in common. Honestly, at a lot of our Watch Parties there’s a lot of not-watching going on. It’s more of catching up with each other.

Let’s talk Fiesta. What was your response when you found out that was the bowl game UCF was heading to?

It’s good to have it close to the west coast. I know it’s a lot harder for people to travel from the east coast, but there are a lot of hungry fans who couldn’t make it last year to the Peach Bowl from places like San Francisco, Vegas, Seattle…and now they can come and see their team play. Plus, Phoenix is probably one of the most friendly cities I’ve ever been to. It’s a really cool town.

What’s the food situation?

First off, right next to the airport there’s a place called Speedy Street Tacos. Whenever someone comes to town, that’s where I take them. It’s a little shipping container that they cut out a restaurant in and they cook all the steak and chicken outside on a charcoal grill. And Cold Beers and Cheeseburgers is a great spot to get together and they definitely deserve some of our business for being as great to the Alumni group as they are. There’s really good food across the board. There’s a big influence from Chicago and the Midwest, so there’s a lot of really good deep dish pizza.

Besides the game, what should people do when they’re in town?

As far as things to do in the valley, golfing is a big one. I think we have more golf courses than McDonald’s. There’s a cool little course in north Phoenix called Rancho Manana that I always take people to when they come to town. It’s up and down the side of a mountain. It’s a real outdoor city, so Camelback Mountain is great. There’s a lot of ability to hike this time of year because it’s 70 degrees and gorgeous outside.

Let’s pretend I’m a lifelong Floridian who doesn’t understand enough about geography to know how to pack for a trip to Arizona. What advice would you give me?

Well, there’s no humidity. So bring chap-stick and lotion. It does get down in the low 50s, high 40s this time of year, so at night you are going to need a jacket. It’s the opposite of Florida, with the mountains and the ability to be outside and hike — it’s a different atmosphere.


We know a lot of you are heading out to the Phoenix area for the first time ever and are clamoring for more tips for how to spend your time. We’ve gotten some great feedback through friends on social media that we thought we’d pass along!


Cartel Coffee and Jasmine Jo – Jay Veniard

You have to go to Dutch Bros. Super popular, several locations and there’s a secret online menu! Also, Snooze for breakfast and coffee. The pancakes are amazing -Jessica Combest


Watch basketball! There are a couple Phoenix Suns games happening right around the day of the Fiesta Bowl, so catch one.

Taste it Tours. It’s a food tour with a 5-star rating on Trip Advisor and exposes guests to 5-6 of the not-tourist trap restaurants in Scottsdale, Phoenix and Gilbert. – Jay Veniard

Must check out Old Town Scottsdale. Great shopping off Main Street, Old Town also has free trolleys you can jump on and off. A lot of people like the Musical Instrument Museum. I recommend going to Sedona, it’s breathtaking. -Jessica Combest



Barrio Queen. Order the green chili pork appetizer, the pollo and chorizo taco and the cochinita pibil taco, along with a house margarita. And Cornish Pasty. Everything on their menu is amazing and made from scratch. I like their salmon pasty and Pilgrim pasty. You also have to try the tomato soup! – Jay Venierd



Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week – Dec. 17, 2018

  1. Congratulations to all of our new alumni! Your caps made us chuckle, your stories made us feel and your determination all the way to the finish line made us swell with pride. Yep, you did that. Now that you’re officially an alumnus, there are all sorts of perks and ways to stay involved with UCF for you to hit the ground running with. Congratulations again and welcome to the UCF Alumni Family!

2. We know this may sound crazy, but there are only 13 days left in 2018, which means a lot of things but mostly it means there are only 13 days left ‘til we’re heading to Arizona for the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl! Our knights are kicking off 2019 by taking on the LSU Tigers and we need you there to help cheer them on to victory. If you’re still on the fence about going, we get it (kinda), but take it from an alumnus who went to the 2014 Fiesta Bowl, “Take advantage of the opportunity and find a way to make it happen.” Sports Illustrated even ranked our game as the number 1 bowl game to watch this post season, so why would you even consider not being there for it?

If you know you’re in and you just haven’t actually solidified all the details yet, we’ve got all the information you need right here. Also the food menu for the ChargeOn Tailgate is up and wow it looks good. Register for the tailgate soon so we can all experience that southwestern breakfast burrito together.

3. Whether or not we’ll see you at the game, we hope you’ll consider donating a ticket to make sure our military personnel can be there to cheer on the Knights. Randall Family Companies, owned by UCF Athletics donors Jeff and Debra Condello, will match purchases of up to 500 tickets for a total of 1,000 that will be distributed to military personnel from Luke Air Force Base. Ticket recipients will be sent a UCF T-shirt to wear the day of the game, ensuring the black-and-gold is well represented!

4. Last week President Dale Whittaker announced the launching of a $40 million initiative called the Constellation Fund. This money will go toward scholarships and other institutional aid that supports student success by helping students graduate faster and with less debt. Take a minute to read what President Whittaker said about the initiative. We have a feeling it’ll make you proud to call this your university.

5. This is our last Five Things for 2018. This year has been an especially memorable year in the life of Knight Nation and we’re glad you were a part of it with us! Our friends over at UCF Today put together The 30 Best Photos of 2018, so take a stroll down memory lane and we’ll see you in 2019.

Fiesta Bowl: Alumnus Shares 2014 Experience and Why He’ll Be Back

From left to right: Robert Muramatsu, Todd VanHoozier ’94, Matt Assenmacher ’93 and Jeff Downing in Arizona for the 2014 Fiesta Bowl

For those of you new to the exciting world of UCF Football, this year is actually the second time we’ve been invited to head out to Arizona for the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (only back then we called it the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl). We sat down with alumnus and UCF Alumni Board member, Matt Assenmacher ’93, to ask him a little about his experience for the 2014 game, what he’s looking forward to this year and what he’d tell people on the fence about attending.

What led you to the Fiesta Bowl in 2014?

It was the last year of the BCS era and we had joined the Big East, which was restructured to the American Athletic Conference. So this was the last year that our conference had an automatic tie-in to a BCS (now New Year’s Six) bowl. When it got to the point that at the end of the season, we realized UCF was going to go, I talked to some of my friends and we just said — we’re not going to miss this opportunity because we didn’t know if it would happen again. Obviously not knowing at the time that three years later the Peach Bowl would happen and then we’d be going back to Arizona again, but at the time we thought this opportunity may not present itself again.

And what was it like?

We had a great time. We didn’t get there that much earlier than the game, so we didn’t get to do a lot of sight-seeing. We just really focused on the game and went to the alumni tailgate, which we had a blast at. The game was amazing. UCF never trailed in the game. Everyone was saying we were going to lose and we were going to get destroyed, and it was just a great feeling afterwards because — at that point, it was the biggest win we’d ever had. It’s funny too because some of the Baylor fans, when we were walking into the stadium with them, they were real nice to us because they figured we didn’t have a chance. And they were really quiet on the way out.

Did you think twice about making the trip? Because of the Arizona of it all?

No not at all. And not this time either. I’m taking my son and we’re spending a little extra time there. We’re going to see the Grand Canyon, Sedona, if we get time we’re going to go down to Tombstone and just see some of the sights around Arizona.

What were some of your favorite experiences in 2014?

Besides the game, definitely the alumni tailgate. We actually spent a good chunk of that day at the alumni tailgate and just had a great time.

What has been most exciting to you the past few years as a UCF Knight?

It’s amazing just to see them go undefeated in one season. That doesn’t happen very often. And to do it back-to-back seasons is amazing, especially with the coaching changes. It’s been really exciting to see the student support growing and the fan support from the community. I had season tickets both times when we were win-less, and through good and bad, it’s important to support the team. It’s great to see the success they’ve had. And I think a lot of it too has to do with the things that Danny White has put in place to try to make all of our athletic programs successful. It all brings a lot of really good exposure to the university.

What are you looking forward to the most?

Well, the game. Number one. Getting a chance to get back out there again and seeing some sights and taking advantage of the location.

What advice would you give people considering to head out to this year’s game?

Figure out a way to make it happen. At that 2014 game, that was kind of a first-time thing, so we never knew if it was going to happen again. Last year we had the Peach Bowl and we can get kind of spoiled with success too, where people may be thinking “well I’ll just wait until it comes back to the Peach Bowl or somewhere close.” But there are no guarantees. You never know what’s going to happen. I hope UCF continues to have great success and we continue to have these great opportunities, but don’t take it for granted. Take advantage of the opportunity and find a way to make it happen. I’ve seen some postings online where students are planning to drive. I understand that it’s not cheap to get out there, but you can find ways to make it work. The work that the coaches and the players have put into the season and how much support they’ve had at home all year, let’s help continue that support for the last game of the season at the Fiesta Bowl.

You heard Matt. Make it happen!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week – Dec. 10, 2018

1. Anyone else very aware after this weekend just how boring a Saturday can be without some Knights football? Thankfully we’re approximately 22 days away from the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl and another chance to cheer our team onto victory!

There are a lot of moving pieces and details to being a part of the festivities, so we put it all in one place to be most helpful to you all. We’ve seen time and time again how important it is to have fan support in the stadium for our games and the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl will be no different — we need you there cheering with every ounce of black-and-gold spirit you have!

2.What’s a UCF football game without a tailgate? We’re packing up our best beads and tailgate accouterments and heading out to McFadden’s Restaurant in Glendale, AZ for the UCF ChargeOn Tailgate! This is the official UCF tailgate and all alumni, friends and fans are invited to join us. There will be a hearty brunch buffet (‘cause 7 a.m.), drink tickets and appearances by UCF fan favorites.

BUT WAIT! Don’t just get excited and keep scrolling. Advanced registration is required. So do that. Seriously, do it now. Why would you even wait? There are only 22 days left! Let’s do this thing.

3. We know you’re pumped on the Fiesta Bowl, we know you want to be a part of the ChargeOn Tailgate (wait, did you register yet?) but the travel details of it all are hanging you up. Well stop Googling “flights to Arizona New Year’s Day” and let us help you out. We are partnering with Anthony Travel and they have put together a handful of packages to help us help you in shaking out all the necessary things needed for a great experience. And here’s the deal, the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl requires each school participating in the game to guarantee a specific number of hotel rooms. The hotel selection is mandated by the bowl. So, when you purchase your hotel accommodations through Anthony Travel, you’re supporting UCF Athletics. Which is a really good thing! Thanks for doing it.

4. Commencements are happening this weekend, which means we are about to add more than 5,700 new members to our UCF Alumni Family. If you’re one of those 5,700 — first off, welcome and congratulations! In addition to a lifetime of getting to say “oh, UCF? Yeah, I went there. No biggie, I’m a Knight.” for the rest of your life, there are alumni benefits you oughta know about.

5. “The University of Central Florida’s football players are not the only Knights dominating their field in 2018. This year was also a spectacular one for research at UCF.” UCF Today has compiled a top-10 list for research at UCF in 2018 based on web traffic and media success. It’s just one of those things that you read and feel extreme pride in your alma mater.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week – Dec. 2, 2018

1. Pretty uneventful weekend for Knight Nation, huh? Oh wait. Our Knights proved again that we are a team worthy of respect. The 1-0 mantra that has defined this season carried us all the way to 12-0, a 56-41 win over the Memphis Tigers and another AAC championship trophy. As Coach Heupel said Saturday night, “It wasn’t pretty early, but it was pretty late.” A special shout-out to all of our fans who proudly donned their black-and-gold, threw on a lei or two and brought the bounce to the Bounce House on Saturday night. It’s been an incredible season and we can’t wait for what’s next.

2. Speaking of what’s next…who’s coming with us to Arizona? It was announced yesterday during the College Football Playoff selection show that UCF is heading to the Fiesta Bowl to take on the LSU Tigers. And yes, we did just beat some Tigers. So let’s all plan to be at the State Farm Stadium on Jan. 1 to root our team on to do it again! At every game this season, our fans being in the stands cheering loud has been a pivotal factor in all the Ws we’ve pocketed. We need your support again! Get all the details on tickets, travel and the UCF ChargeOn Tailgate and we’ll see you there!

3. Each Indoor Tailgate is an opportunity for us to gather together in solidarity, around a common desire to get hyped with fellow Knights, but this past Saturday’s tailgate we also got to support a fellow Knight. In addition to our usual festivities (BBQ, Spirit Team, Getting-Ridiculously-Pumped-For-Another-Win) there was a banner for McKenzie Milton, created by a spirited group of alumni, for fans to sign with well wishes for #10.

This was our last Indoor Tailgate of the year and you all made it one to remember! Thank you for coming out this season and cheering hard. Check out pictures from the event here.

4. That underlying theme of Knights supporting Knights was certainly on display on Giving Tuesday last week! In one (1) day, 645 of you stepped up and donated $88,000 to more than 100 different UCF causes. That is big. That is really big. In fact, $88,000 is the most UCF has ever raised on Giving Tuesday. The most popular funds were Area of Greatest Need, First Generation Scholarships, Football Excellence Fund and the John and Martha Hitt Athletic Scholarship Fund. That means that $88,000 isn’t just some abstract number to read and move along from — it’s $88,00 toward furthering the education of worthy applicants who may not have had the chance to go to college. It’s $88,000 that helps us continue to recruit and develop excellent student-athletes. It’s $88,000 that will be the reason future leaders dream big and innovate without limits.

Thank you for being a part of Giving Tuesday! Especially the nearly 150 of you who served as social media ambassadors and shared the cause. (Wondering what this means and want to be one next time? We got you covered.)

5. Remember those cute little bears dressed in UCF Nursing scrubs? Of course you do, they were adorable. And last week they all officially found their homes! All of the 300 panda bears from the 2018 “Give Thanks, Give a Bear” campaign were sponsored, raising $15,000 for scholarships, faculty research and medical mission trips, and distributed to hospitalized children at multiple locations throughout Orlando. Thank you for being a part of this campaign, supporting UCF College of Nursing and bringing this smile to a child in our community.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week – Nov. 26, 2018

1. We’re not completely certain, but we have a feeling the word “bittersweet” was created to describe days like last Friday. As you likely know, McKenzie Milton went down in the second quarter of the game against USF this weekend. Knight Nation has since offered an outpouring of support for #10, and we at UCF Alumni send him our best and wish him a speedy recovery. As for our Knights on the field, they were emboldened to give it all they had and win over the Bulls 38-10. That win bumped us up to #7 in both the AP Poll and the Coaches Poll.

We’re proud as ever for the ways our team rallied and showed the nation what we all already knew — to be a Knight is to be a part of a devoted family that supports each other, laughs together and keeps on charging on.

2. To show our support for McKenzie and just how grateful we are to be a part of his #10hana, Knights will be sporting leis this upcoming weekend for our American Athletic Conference Championship game against Memphis. If you’re in Orlando and want to show your solidarity for our team, join us for the Indoor Tailgate Dec. 1 at the FAIRWINDS Alumni Center at 12:30. If you can’t be in Orlando, find out details for Watch Parties here (and don’t forget to stock up on leis!).

3. If you’re looking for other ways to support Knight Nation this week, you’re in luck! Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday, the worldwide day of charitable giving. You’ve eaten all the Thanksgiving turkey your stomach could hold, taken advantage of all the Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday deals your heart desired, and tomorrow is the day to exercise your generosity and give.

With 68,00 current students, there has never been a more important time to support your alma mater. We encourage you to check our post Five Things Knights Need to Know About Giving Tuesday at UCF to learn more about how you can be a part of all the undefeated athleticism, unmatched academia and unwavering momentum at UCF.

4. “I love baseball so much and that’s the only sport I wanted to get involved with. Back then, I didn’t think I would ever become a world champion, but the dream was to get there someday.” We get pretty excited when a UCF student’s dream becomes a UCF alum’s achievement! Kiyoshi Momose ’00MS, who is the sports and conditioning coach for the Boston Red Sox, can now add a check-mark next to the bucket list item of winning the World Series in Dodger Stadium. We’re proud to call you a part of the #UCFamily, Kiyoshi! Read more here.

5. With Thanksgiving in our collective rear-view mirror, it’s officially not out-of-bounds to start prepping for December holidays and there’s no better way to do so than to pretend that Florida is colder than it really is and attend Light Up UCF! There’s ice-skating, light shows and even a Ferris Wheel. Get into the holiday spirit and be there.