Endowed Fund Created to Honor Life of Journalist and UCF Alumnus Steven Sotloff

By Marina Guerges
Central Florida Future

Nearly nine months after the Islamic State group beheading of former UCF student and journalist Steven Sotloff, UCF has established a fund to commemorate his life.

The Steven Sotloff Memorial Endowed Fund at UCF, created by Sotloff’s family, was made not only to honor his life, but to preserve his work.

“His family wanted to establish a legacy for Steven,” said College of Sciences’ Director of Development Ray Allen.

Allen said he interacted with Sotloff’s family at UCF, where they came up with a way to remember the former Knight.

Through donations, the fund aims to provide scholarship support to UCF students majoring in journalism. The fund was also established to advance journalism education, as well as endowments for lectures and programming.

“We have set up the memorial fund to invite other donors to support this fund in Steven’s honor,” Allen said.

Longtime UCF donors Tony and Sonja Nicholson — after whom the Nicholson School is named — have committed to match donation gifts to the fund.

“Every dollar will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $25,000 matched,” Allen said.

Contributors can visit www.ucffoundation.org/sotloff, where they will be directed to fill in their donation amount, billing information and add whether they want this donation to be a one-time gift, recurring or a series of installments.

“While Steven was in captivity, he managed to smuggle out a letter to us stating he wanted to give back. We would like to continue Steven’s legacy for generations to come by working with UCF to establish a fund in Steven’s honor,” said his parents Shirley and Arthur Sotloff in a statement on the donation page.

Sotloff attended UCF from 2002 to 2004, where he studied journalism. He then left to focus on working as a Middle East correspondent, wanting to travel to war zones like Libya and Syria.

Sotloff was abducted by the Islamist extremist group and held in captivity.

In September 2014, in an attempt to send “A Message to America,” the Islamic State group beheaded Sotloff in a distributed video as a way to reach President Barack Obama.

UCF students from the athletics fan group “The Gauntlet,” UCF’s Syrian American Council and the UCF chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists joined together to host a vigil that same month to honor Sotloff.

Along with UCF’s contribution, Sotloff’s parents established a fund at his high school, Kimball Union Academy in New Hampshire.

The Steven Sotloff ’02 Fund aims to inspire Kimball students to follow Sotloff’s passion: seeing the world through a different lens, while following global and cultural awareness.

Keep on Truckin’

UCF alumni donate (literal) tons to UCF Football

UCFtruck-web

Giving | Mike Maudlin, ’03, and Darren Cunningham, ’95, Maudlin International Trucks

By Jason Cannon

Alumni support their schools in many different ways, but showing up on game day and making an occasional donation wasn’t good enough for Mike Maudlin, ’03, and Darren Cunningham, ’95, two UCF grads who pegged their football fandom at a 10 out of 10.

Maudlin, a business major, and Cunningham, an accounting major, wanted to be sure their football team was able to travel to away games in style by providing the team use of a brand new truck and trailer.

“We want to support them,” says Maudlin, vice president and general manager of Maudlin International Trucks. “They had a great season last year.”

This season, the Knights have already hauled their equipment from Orlando to Missouri, Houston and Connecticut on Maudlin’s truck and trailer, with [final] stops in South Florida and East Carolina before the season ends Dec. 4, capping an 8,500-mile journey.

The truck is an 2015 International LoneStar, fully customized and upgraded, sparing no expense to get the Knights on the road.

“We wanted to go to the top of the top for the tractor set up,” Maudlin says.

“For us, we wanted to offer to our alma mater something that would suit them the best in terms of being able haul its football equipment and to showcase the program,” Cunningham adds.

The truck and trailer (a 43-footer they bought specifically for the school) are owned by Maudlin International, which also provided the driver.

“We paid for the wrap — For everything,” Cunningham says. “The only thing they stroke us a check for is the gas. The insurance and everything falls on us.”

The trailer will remain with the school for storage after the season, but the truck will come back to Maudlin and go into the company’s rental fleet.

As a token of appreciation, UCF provided the dealership with a handful of tickets, which the company uses to invite customers to tailgates and build networking opportunities, and also helps Maudlin International establish a business relationship with the school and other program supporters.

“It helps us showcase just how good our product is and how we can back it up,” Maudlin says.

Watch time-lapse video of the truck being wrapped in black and gold:

This article originally appeared in an Oct. 15, 2014, news story on successfuldealer.com.