Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Nov. 16, 2015

UCF students, from left, Heather Lawrence, Carrie Chenicek, Austin Sturm and Jonathan Haas compete in CyberSEED. Photo courtesy CyberSEED
UCF students (left to right) Heather Lawrence, Carrie Chenicek, Austin Sturm and Jonathan Haas
won more than $25,000 in prize money competing in CyberSEED,
a cybersecurity conference hosted by the University of Connecticut.
PHOTO: Courtesy of CyberSEED

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. Later this morning, the UCF Nicholson School of Communication Hall of Fame will induct Michael Griffin, ’84, vice president of public affairs for Florida Hospital. And, on Wednesday, UCF’s College of Business and Rosen College alumni chapters will host a joint Networking Knight, with both colleges’ deans as special guests.
  2. Last week, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center! Whether you attended an event in the building, gave to the Manny Rodriguez ’75 Endowment or have been a sponsor, we sincerely thank everyone who has supported the alumni center during its first decade.
  3. This month also marks the 10th anniversary of DirectConnect to UCF, which guarantees students’ admission to the university with an associate’s degree from one of the university’s partner colleges. Happy anniversary, DirectConnect!
  4. UCF’s teams of cybersecurity experts cleaned up at another cyber competition, bringing home more than $25,000 in prize money and besting Ivy Leaguers from Yale and Brown universities, the Air Force Academy and others. Go Knights!
  5. On Friday, Light Up UCF returned to campus for its eighth season. The family-friendly activities — including ice skating, rides and holiday attractions — continue through Jan. 3.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — April 27, 2015

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(Photo: UCF Today)

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. Engineering students showed off their inventions and new technologies during the Senior Design Showcase on Friday. From a three-in-one ocean rescue trailer, to a detection-and-alert system for parents who travel with infants in their cars’ backseats, to a drone laser tag game, the projects gave students a chance to illustrate their readiness to work in the field of engineering.
  2. It’s finals week! Remember those days? Well, now, the UCF Student Government Association rewards dedicated students “caught” studying in the John C. Hitt Library. Tonight, as part of its annual Kram for the Exam event, SGA members will reward studiers with drawstring bookbags filled with note cards, Post-it Notes, pens, pencils and highlighters, as well as tummy satisfiers like mints, gummies, Cheez-Its and bottles of water.
  3. On April 22, FAIRWINDS Credit Union was presented with the UCF Partnership Award for its philanthropic support, service and commitment to the university. The award was accepted by the company’s president and CEO, Larry Tobin, ’83, during the President’s Partnership Reception at The Burnett House. In 2004, FAIRWINDS made a significant donation to construct the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center.
  4. Ever been to UCF’s Public History Center in Sanford? This weekend is a great time to check it out, as a new demonstration wildflower garden makes it debut for MayFest! Plants include blanketflower, southern beeblossom, meadow beauty and blazing star, which are part of two dozen Florida native wildflowers on display.
  5. Noteworthy alumni events:
    • Wednesday, April 29 — Rosen College alumni, faculty, staff and students commence for the college’s fourth annual Hospitality Knight. This networking and career development event features Tim Miles, an international marketing strategist, speaker and best-selling author, as the evening’s guest speaker.
    • Friday, May 1 — A group of selected College of Engineering and Computer Science alumni will participate in the college’s AlumKnights at Work series. This time, Knights will get a special, behind-the-scenes look at Kennedy Space Center.
    • Saturday, May 2 — The UCF Community Volunteers Alumni Chapter hosts a coastal cleanup at New Smyrna Beach. Family and friends are welcome!

Sponsor Spotlight: FAIRWINDS Credit Union

Thanks to a $1.2 million gift from FAIRWINDS Credit Union, in 2005, the UCF Alumni Association finally established its permanent home on campus. It was a friendship between fellow Knights Tom Messina, ’84, executive director of the UCF Alumni Association; Mike Hinn, ’92, former alumni board member; and Dianne Owen, ’93, ’97, executive vice president of marketing for FAIRWINDS Credit Union, that built the foundation of this special partnership, which provided UCF alumni their own place on campus to attend and host events.

UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center
The UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center opened in the fall of 2005.

As the official student banking provider of the university, FAIRWINDS’ on-campus reach extends beyond the alumni association. So, we sat down with Dianne, who is also the immediate past chair of the association’s board of directors, to find out more about this important partnership.

Q. Why did FAIRWINDS Credit Union choose to partner with the UCF Alumni Association?
A. The bigger question to ask is why wouldn’t FAIRWINDS partner with the UCF Alumni Association? UCF is a critical part of the foundation of the Central Florida community. The university is committed to building a better community for us all, not just for Knights. FAIRWINDS shares that same philosophy. As the largest Central Florida-based financial institution, FAIRWINDS is committed to serving the members of our community. UCF alumni make up a significant portion of that population, with so many UCF graduates remaining in Central Florida. We realize the impact that UCF alumni have on our local economy, and we want to be there to serve their financial needs and help improve their financial well-being.

Q. How many alumni are employed by FAIRWINDS Credit Union?
A. Approximately 22 percent of our employees are UCF alumni, with even more currently attending UCF. More specifically, FAIRWINDS’ eight-member Executive Management Team consists of seven UCF alumni. As a team, we really do bleed black and gold!

Q. How has FAIRWINDS benefited since partnering with the UCF Alumni Association?
A. Partnering with the UCF Alumni Association has afforded us exposure to a large influential group of graduates responsible for shaping our Central Florida community. The alumni association is a strong and relevant network of “movers and shakers.” Our partnership has afforded us numerous opportunities to interact and put our name and our mission in front of this successful group. Additionally, the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center alone, with its numerous events, has provided significant brand exposure for us as well.

Q. How does FAIRWINDS contribute to the UCF Alumni Association?
A. In 2001, FAIRWINDS committed $1 million to the UCF Alumni Association to help build an alumni center on campus, now known as the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center. We continued with this commitment beyond its original term due to the mutually beneficial relationship we have fostered with the alumni association. FAIRWINDS has also committed human resources. President and CEO, Larry Tobin ’83, served on the UCF Foundation Board of Directors for six years, and I have served on the UCF Alumni Association Board of Directors for 12 years, which includes serving as immediate past chair.

Q. How is FAIRWINDS involved with UCF Homecoming?
A. FAIRWINDS and its crewmembers always take an active role in Homecoming. From the golf tournament and football game to the Black & Gold Gala, FAIRWINDS crew will be there. And, for the past couple of years, and again this year, FAIRWINDS sponsors the UCF Alumni Homecoming Suite Sweepstakes. All alumni are invited for their chance to win the FAIRWINDS Suite at Bright House Networks Stadium for the Homecoming game. Watch your email for this year’s sweepstakes!

Q. Are there any other points you’d like to share about the partnership?
A. Financial literacy and improving our members’ financial well-being is at the heart of what FAIRWINDS represents. We are excited to work with UCF alumni to achieve this goal, and we are equally excited to be able to work with UCF students prior to graduating. As the UCF Student Banking Partner, it provides us with the opportunity to get students on the right path to financial success upon becoming proud UCF alumni.