Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Dec. 19

1. Although the football team didn’t get the result it wanted at the AutoNation Cure Bowl, the Orlando Sports Foundation and AutoNation combined to donate $1.15 million to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. UCF researcher Annette Khaled, PhD, and Dean of UCF’s College of Medicine Deborah German, MD, were on hand to support the cause.

P.S. We enjoyed seeing so many alumni and friends at our last tailgate of the season. We’re already counting down the days until 2017, but in the meantime, you can relive Saturday’s fun and tag yourself in this Facebook gallery.
2. “There was no way I was going to miss his graduation. He changed my life.” – That’s original bionic kid Alex Pring, who surprised Limbitless Solutions founder Albert Manero as he walked across the stage at commencement on Saturday. Manero is now a three-time UCF alumnus after receiving his doctorate over the weekend. Twenty-nine other Limbitless members earned degrees among the nearly 5,400 Knights who graduated this December.

View: UCF 2016 Fall Graduation Exposure Gallery

3. Switching gears to basketball, both the men’s and women’s teams are off to great starts in their new eras. Senior guard Zykira Lewis became UCF’s record holder for all-time 3-pointers over the weekend. Everyone’s favorite big man Tacko Fall dropped a career-high 31 points on Sunday, and he’s still leading the nation in field goal percentage, converting an average of 83 percent of the shots he attempts. Both squads have home games this week and several over the holiday break. Check out their schedules: Men | Women (Helpful hint: ticket links are listed for each game).

4. We’d like to send a big congratulations to the Jonnie Morgan Band, named for its founder, UCF alumnus Jonnie Morgan ’10. The band won a national contest on Friday that featured judges Quincy Jones and Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, and will get to record at legendary Village Studios in Los Angeles. Be on the lookout for a story this week on about the band’s journey to victory.

5. UCF is coming for you, Naples! The next stop on the IGNITE Tour is headed to Florida’s west coast on Jan. 23. Register for this event and learn more about future stops on the tour by visiting

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Dec. 12


1. Heading to the AutoNation Cure Bowl game this Saturday to cheer on the Knights? Don’t miss out on the Official UCF Tailgate at Tinker Field! Hang out with hundreds of fellow Black and Gold fans while enjoying food, beverages, a pregame concert featuring the Eli Young Band as well as special appearances from UCF Director of Athletics Danny White, the cheer team, Marching Knights and leading breast cancer researchers. To secure your spot at the tailgate, click here.

2. Nearly 5,400 UCF students are expected to graduate this weekend, including a business administration student who will receive the university’s 300,000th degree since classes began in 1968. Here’s something to hang their cap on: 48 percent of UCF students graduate without any educational debt. Nationally, only 33 percent of students graduate debt-free.

3. Here’s something that will make you feel good: several groups around UCF’s campus are collecting toys, blankets, gift cards and miscellaneous items to share with others in the community during the holiday season. There’s still time to help the cause, if you’re interested.

4. The year 2030 seems a long way off, but UCF is always looking ahead to the future. In this Orlando Sentinel article, Provost Dale Whittaker predicts that by 2030, UCF will become one of the state’s preeminent research universities, a title that’s currently only held by the University of Florida and Florida State.

5. The UCF men’s soccer team hired a new head coach on Dec. 6, Scott Calabrese. A conference and NSCAA region coach of the year at FIU, he took the Panthers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in over 10 years by capturing the 2015 Conference USA Championship. He has ties to the Central Florida area, beginning his career as an assistant coach at Stetson from 1998-99.