1. UCF’s Presidential Search Committee selected four finalists for UCF’s next transformational leader, and each finalist will visit UCF to meet with students, faculty, alumni, donors and community partners and also will give a presentation at an open forum. The campus community and public are invited to attend presentations by each of the candidates scheduled for March 2 and March 6-8. Attendees will be able to provide feedback. Visit www.ucf.edu/presidentsearch to learn more about the finalists and their soon-to-be scheduled visits.
2. DUUUVAL! Former UCF football great Blake Bortles signed a contract extension over the weekend with the Jacksonville Jaguars to lead the team through the 2020 season. “This is definitely the place I wanted to be,” the quarterback said, also citing personal reasons such as Jacksonville being close to his hometown of Oviedo, Florida.
3. Radio-TV alumna and former Order of Pegasus recipient Kaitlyn Chana ’13 overcame three eating disorders from the time she was in middle school until she was ready to get help in college. Now, she’s using her experience to help others and raise awareness for mental health. Check out this National Eating Disorders Week spotlight
4. UCF has brought in 1,575 new football season ticket accounts since Jan. 1, its highest amount since the stadium first opened in 2007. Season ticket renewals are also around 90 percent sold. Shannon Green breaks down all the rewards from the best football season in school history in this Orlando Sentinel article.
5. FAIRWINDS Credit Union will fund a new $1.1 million endowed professorship for a proposed UCF FinTech program, the first of its kind in the State University System. The gift to benefit financial-technology education, to be fulfilled over the next eight years, was announced Feb. 20.
UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center celebrates its first decade on campus
By Angie Lewis, ’03
A decade ago, the UCF Alumni Association was nearly bursting at the seams of its former office space in Central Florida Research Park. But, on Nov. 4, 2005, it finally got a much larger — and permanent — home on campus, in the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center.
It all began with the vision of Tom Messina,’84, former associate vice president of alumni relations, and the late Manny Rodriguez, ’75, former director of alumni relations, who knew an on-campus alumni center was critical to the growth of our ever-growing alumni population.
And, with the generosity of a $1.2 million gift from FAIRWINDS Credit Union, the dream became a reality, with the help of its president and CEO and UCF alumnus, Larry Tobin, ’83.
“Tens of thousands of UCF alumni help shape the Central Florida community,” he says. “We wanted to be one small part of that. The alumni center was a natural fit for us. Not only are we able to give back to the school that gave so much to us, but we are also supporting an effort that strengthens the ties between alumni and their university.”
Boasting more than 23,000 square feet of space, the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center sits at a prime location on Memory Mall and across the street from the CFE Arena. It’s home to the alumni association’s seasonal Indoor Tailgate parties, and more than 200 other annual events. It was even the site of a successful marriage proposal (made on a brick in the Knights Terrace)!
Christine Anderson, ’90, event manager for communications and government affairs at Siemens, has booked many of her company’s meetings at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center. But, it’s her personal connection as an alumna of the university that makes the building special to her.
As guests entered the lobby, they were greeted by the a cappella sounds of UCF’s Voicebox, before being directed to four different catering stations — located in the John C. and Marth Hitt Library, on the Manglardi-Knight patio, in the SGA Boardroom and in the Grand Ballroom — for some delicious samplings.
The building’s original rendering and blue prints decorated the hall to the Grand Ballroom, where everyone mingled and enjoyed a slideshow of the past 10 years, before Vice President of UCF Advancement Mike Morsberger presented a beautiful, framed photo of the alumni center to Larry Tobin, thanking him for the generosity of FAIRWINDS Credit Union. Associate Vice President of Alumni Relations Julie C. Stroh also addressed attendees, thanking them for their support, before the elegant evening concluded with a champagne toast made by Louis Lubin, ’97, director of events, sales and operations, celebrating the past 10 years and looking forward to the next decade.
“For the past 10 years, the alumni association staff has had the honor and pleasure of serving our fellow Knights in this beautiful alumni home on campus,” he said. “It’s been our privilege to give alumni a helping hand in planning business meetings, networking events and guest lecture series. We’ve been excited to play a role in organizing wedding receptions, baby showers and even a marriage proposal.
“We’ve helped alumni stay connected to UCF and to each other. To FAIRWINDS Credit Union and our generous donors: Thank you! And, to our Knights Nation of more than 250,000: Go Knights! Charge On!”
Dianne Owen, ’93 | Chair, UCF Alumni Board of Directors
By Angie Lewis, ’03
In addition to her role as executive vice president of marketing for FAIRWINDS Credit Union, Dianne Owen, ’93, also serves as the chair of the UCF Alumni Association Board of Directors. She’s stayed involved with her alma mater in many other ways too, including having taught as an adjunct professor for the College of Business, served on the Annual Fund committee, judged The Joust competition, mentored students and volunteered on industry panels for the alumni association.
10 Questions with Dianne
Q. Why do you do what you do?
A. My job is challenging and, at the same time, rewarding. I truly believe in credit unions — specifically, the mission of FAIRWINDS Credit Union.
Q. Favorite thing about your job?
A. Building awareness about what FAIRWINDS has to offer and then hearing “thank you” from members who we have helped to save money.
Q. Most memorable experience on the job?
A. It was the moment I found out that we were awarded the UCF Student Banking Services provider. I was so excited to get started helping students at UCF to get on the right financial path early.
Q. Favorite UCF memory?
A. When my art professor was grading my final exam, he told me I should stop taking art classes and stick to business. It makes me laugh to this day.
Q. Why do you serve on the alumni board?
A. UCF alumni are a powerhouse group of individuals. I want to leverage that group to build stronger students, a stronger university and a well-connected community. The board is a great conduit to try and make that happen. And, I just love my school and want to give back in as many ways as I can.
Q. What’s the most important piece of advice you would give to your fellow Knights to help advance our university and our alumni association?
A. ENGAGE with your university. It can be done in a multitude of ways and can be mutually beneficial.
Q. What/who makes you laugh out loud?
A. My dog. He puts the biggest smile on my face always.
Q. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
A. A chef or a winemaker. Both would be really cool.
Q. What do you do for fun?
A. I love to cook. I also like to play tennis and hang out at the beach. And, lately, I’ve developed a freakish obsession to Candy Crush.
Q. Last thing you Googled?
A. What do you call someone who makes wine?