Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—July 17

1. A story for those young at heart: A new program at UCF pairs seniors and children to play games together. The goal is for participants to become more active and to have positive social experiences, where the adults feel a greater sense of well-being and purpose by helping the children, and the kids learn more about aging.

2. UCF recently was selected to receive two awards totaling $3.1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative that is focused on making solar energy systems more efficient and affordable. The research projects will be led by two alumni, Kristopher Davis 07 ’11MS ’15PhD and Joe Walters ’13MS.

3. The American Athletic Conference preseason poll for football will be unveiled Tuesday at its annual media day. Fans can tune in at 8:30 a.m. on The American’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

4. You might learn a thing or two in this Ted Talk with alumna Gail Lovelace Menasco ’08:

5. The latest issue of Pegasus examines how UCF grads are at the center of a creative boom in Central Florida.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—July 10

1. Matt Williams ’16 is making UCF proud in the NBA Summer League with the Miami Heat. After netting 14 points on July 6, he started against San Antonio on July 8. The Heat have a game at 4:30 p.m. today against the Wizards, which will air on NBA TV. Williams is one of more than 10 Knights who started professional careers in their sport in 2016-17.

2. Florida sunshine making it hard to read your phone screen while you’re spending your summer days at the beach? UCF professor of optics and photonics Shin-Tson Wu, PhD, and his team of researchers developed a film that coats cellphone screens to cut down the glare. Their inspiration? The eyes of a moth.

3. A team of UCF researchers has discovered a potential new weapon in the fight against tuberculosis, which is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. Their research studied extracts of sponges and other marine organisms to see if they could kill the dormant tuberculosis bacteria. Findings of the study published in June in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

4.  An associate professor of computer science at UCF recently had his startup get picked up by Uber.

5. A new restaurant is expected to open on University Boulevard this week. Toasted’s menu features a variety of types of grilled cheese sandwiches as well as burgers and salads. The restaurant plans to hire 20 new workers and has signed a five-year lease.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—June 26

UCF student Cole Kolasa is kayaking 800 miles this summer

1. The Rosen College of Hospitality Management is getting a new food service lab thanks to a $1.5 million commitment from the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation. Construction is expected to be completed by 2019. By the way, Rosen is ranked among the top five hospitality management programs in the world, enrolling more than 3,700 students and offering five undergraduate and two graduate degrees, in addition to a doctorate in hospitality management.

2. UCF stands for opportunity, and that’s true of a recent study of head coaches nationally. UCF was the only school to earn an ‘A’ for racial and gender hiring practices for women’s teams’ head coaches in a new report released June 23 that examined 94 schools from eight different conferences. Charge On!

3. Two alumni walk into an Italian restaurant… no joke here. UCF Alumni Board member Dean Caravelis ’02 ’03MBA recently sat down for a Q&A with co-founder and CEO of RIP-IT Jason Polstein ’02 ‘03MS to discuss successful startups, career challenges and life as an entrepreneur. Here’s a snippet of the full interview:

“The people who really stand out during interviews are the people who show up and say, ‘Hey, this is my skill set. I can show you in the past how I move x to y, I can tell you how I did it, and by the way, this is my 90-day roadmap of how I can create value for your company once you hire me.’ That really shows that this person hasn’t only done something in the past that’s of value, but spent the time to try and understand our business and came to the interview prepared in pitching themselves in how they’re going to generate more value for our company.”
— Jason Polstein ’02 ’03MS, co-founder and CEO of RIP-IT

4. UCF has received a silver rating for its sustainability by a program within the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. UCF’s ranking is credited to numerous categories including its energy-efficient buildings, how campus is used as a living laboratory and its commitment to diversity.

5. Cole Kolasa, a UCF environmental engineering major, is making waves as he paddles nearly 800 miles down Florida’s Gulf Coast this summer. Why? He hopes to raise $10,000 to support artificial reefs in Hernando County. Follow along with his journey.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—June 13

1. A mural was painted in the heart of campus as a tribute to two Knights who died at Pulse Nightclub in honor of the one-year anniversary of the tragedy. It was designed by artists Michael Pilato and Yuriy Karabash and features UCF student Juan Ramon Guerrero and two-time alumnus Christopher Andrew “Drew” Leinonen.

2. Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook and author of the bestseller “Lean In,” will be on campus June 27 at 7:30 p.m. to take part in a conversation with alumnus George A. Kalogridis, president of the Walt Disney World Resort. Tickets for the event are available through Eventbrite.com, and in addition to a guaranteed seat, all ticket holders will also receive an autographed version of Sandberg’s new book, “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy.”

3. You may have heard that tickets to TEDx Orlando – featuring two Knights – are SOLD OUT, but we’ve got you covered. If you didn’t claim a ticket to this coveted event, join us for a LIVE simulcast of TEDx Orlando at the Pop Parlour UCF location on June 24 at 2 p.m. RSVP here.

4. It was a record-setting year in fund-raising for UCF Athletics as the Knights have received more than $10 million in cash gift revenues from fund-raising in the 2016-17 fiscal year and strive to reach $10.5 million by the end of June. Learn more.

5. Here’s a heartwarming story just in time for Father’s Day. Yina Wu ’14 and her husband, fellow UCF doctoral student Qing Cai, thanked UCF engineer professor Mohamed Abdel-Aty for his role in the start of their relationship by naming their son after him. Abdel-Aty said he was surprised and honored that the 3-month-old was named after him, and a picture of the baby and himself sits on his desk alongside one of Cai and Wu’s wedding.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—May 15


1. The ChargeOn Tour begins Tuesday and will feature UCF head coaches Scott Frost (football) and Johnny Dawkins (men’s basketball), Director of Athletics Danny White and other Knights coaches over five stops from May 16-18. Here are the full details – including RSVP links – for the events.

2. In case you missed it, the Central Florida community came together last week to break ground on the new downtown campus that is expected to serve 7,700 students from UCF and Valencia College when it opens in 2019.

Adding some extra flavor to the event were local businessmen and brothers, Brandon ’10 and Adam Chandler of Pop Parlour. They honored the special occasion with a cool new frozen pop, which is still available in stores this week.

3. Shout out to the UCF rowing team for earning its third-straight American Athletic Conference trophy over the weekend! With the win, these Knights join the UCF women’s golf and indoor track and field teams as league champions this year.

Speaking of conference championships — the baseball team has a chance to clinch its first crown since 2004. And they are about to go head-to-head against USF for all the marbles this Thursday-Saturday at home in the final series of the regular season. You won’t want to miss this. Buy tickets

4. The U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence will look to UCF for training and research support as a result of a new memorandum of understanding. UCF is qualified to provide the training because of its status as a designated National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by both the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

5. A group of UCF students who make up the Lunar Knights Mining Club will compete this month in NASA’s national Robotic Mining Competition that was developed to help in the exploration of Mars. The competition is designed so NASA can be presented with outside ideas of how to mine on Mars, a goal of future space exploration.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—May 8

 

1. The UCF Alumni Giving Challenge is closing in on its goal, and it needs your help. Here are three key questions answered:
a. What is the Alumni Giving Challenge?
It’s a giving challenge inspired by the Class of 2017, who saw more than 500 student donors make gifts to support UCF’s future. Now they are challenging the alumni community to do the same.
b. When is the UCF Alumni Giving Challenge?
The campaign started May 1 and has been extended through May 15.
 c. How do I participate?
Visit ucfalumni.com/challenge to make a gift.

2. Nearly 7,900 University of Central Florida students earned their diplomas May 4-6 at spring commencement ceremonies on campus. UCF has awarded more than 302,000 degrees since classes began in 1968, and it’s evident that graduation is just the beginning because we all know Knights go on to change the world!

Check out this special Exposure Gallery featuring the newest members of the alumni family.

3. The ChargeOn Tour begins next week and will feature UCF head coaches Scott Frost (football) and Johnny Dawkins (men’s basketball), Director of Athletics Danny White and other Knights coaches over five stops from May 16-18. Here are the full details – including RSVP links – for the events.

4. Lake Nona is about to get beautified by artwork courtesy of some Knights. A team of UCF engineering and computer science students designed a solar-powered art sculpture that was selected by the Orlando Utilities Commission and Tavistock Development to be built in the innovative, master-designed Lake Nona community later this year.

5. The groundbreaking ceremony for UCF’s downtown campus is scheduled to take place on Thursday and the UCF community is invited to attend the festivities at the UCF Center for Emerging Media, 500 W. Livingston St., with partners from Valencia College, the City of Orlando, Dr. Phillips Charities, the Parramore Kidz Zone and many more. Local food trucks will be on location for fun lunch options and people are encouraged to stay after the event to sign UCF’s interactive wall.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—April 10

 

Courtesy of Tony Firriolo
1. Season tickets for the 2017 UCF Football campaign are now on sale. Several new seating options are available to fans for the upcoming season. Included in the new offerings are a family plan, a number of sections now available in the south end zone, an even lower price for access to the Carl Black & Gold Cabana and a new Stadium Club.

Don’t forget, the 2017 UCFastival and Spring Game are around the corner on April 22.

2. Other news out of Athletics: The Knights will face off annually against a new league foe. Wichita State will join the American Athletic Conference in men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports beginning July 1.

3. UCF Celebrates the Arts got a thumbs up in the Orlando Sentinel. The team’s production of “Oklahoma!” was praised for its collaboration. Read the story here.

4. Flags will be at half-staff and a remembrance ceremony will take place Tuesday in the Pegasus Ballroom of the Student Union for an Eternal Knights Memorial Service honoring 18 students who passed away in the past 12 months. One of those students is Kailyn Jones, whose legacy is living on through scholarships.

5. A group of UCF students is working to develop a robot that could revolutionize the medical industry. The robot is intended to assist doctors in performing precise medical procedures. Doctors will input start and endpoint markers on the human body, and the robot will follow instructions. “We have outstanding students, and I think they are the future workforce,” said Zhihua Qu, a professor who is leading the group. “And while they’re studying, they can already make a contribution.”

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—April 3

1. UCF Celebrates the Arts, an annual showcase featuring an interactive exhibition of student artwork, starts Friday at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. To get your ready for your days at the theatre, read this alumni spotlight on Desmond Newson, who scored a role in the national tour of “Hamilton,” which began in San Francisco in March.

Also, check out the complete UCF Celebrates The Arts schedule.

2. The Board of Governors approved the UCF Lake Nona Medical Center late last week. Construction is pending a final state agency approval but could begin as early as 2020. This will mark a new era for our community, our students, our faculty and our researchers. Read more here.

3. The next time you settle in for a night of Netflix-ing, consider watching “The Discovery.” The new release featuring Robert Redford, Jason Segel and Rooney Mara was written by film alumnus Justin Lader ’06.

4. Do you know someone in need of some financial help for college? UCF Alumni awards more than $50,000 in scholarships every year. The deadline for scholarship applications is April 5. Learn more about how to apply, criteria, etc. at ucfalumni.com.

5. Baseball won its conference-opening series against No. 11 Houston over the weekend. The Knights are back in action at home on Wednesday against Stetson at 6:30 p.m before heading to Tampa this weekend for the War On I4 against USF.

Speaking of the War On I4, UCF added to its commanding lead, 36-15, thanks to the No. 39 men’s tennis team’s 4-2 win over No. 26 USF on Saturday’s Senior Day. USF is the fourth top-30 opponent that the Black and Gold has knocked off this season.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Feb. 27

    1. In case you haven’t heard by now, Kenneth G. Dixon has made a gift commitment of more than $5 million to UCF Athletics. It is the largest cash pledge ever by an individual UCF alumnus. In recognition of this gift, a 95-acre section of campus will be named the Kenneth G. Dixon Athletics Village. Check out this gallery to see more of what UCF’s vice president and director of athletics Danny White envisions for the future.

2. “It was so special to walk off the court seeing fans rush the floor. It was a wonderful experience. And that’s what we want to see. We have always said we’re not going to get anything special done without all of us being committed. That’s our student body, our community, our players and staff. Tonight, I think it all came together where everyone was engaged. I thought the students were great. I thought our fans were amazing. It was electric in there again tonight.”

That’s UCF men’s basketball head coach Johnny Dawkins following Sunday’s big win over No. 15 Cincinnati, marking the fourth victory over a ranked opponent in program history.

3. President John C. Hitt will celebrate his 25th anniversary on March 1. At last count in  September 2016, President Hitt has conferred more than 240,000 degrees at UCF. Read more about UCF’s accomplishments under his leadership over the last 25 years.

4. UCF’s lead in the War on I4 series just got a boost from track and field’s title win at the American Athletic Conference Indoor Championships. Redshirt senior Anne-Marie Blaney was named the Most Outstanding Track Performer of the Meet. The NCAA Indoor Championships will take place in College Station, Texas, on March 10-11, one week before UCF opens the outdoor season at home with the UCF Black and Gold Challenge.

5. More than 200 faculty, staff and students from the UCF music and theatre departments are collaborating on Oklahoma! for Celebrate the Arts, which runs from April 7-14. All events are free but tickets are required for all performances and entrance into the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Visit http://arts.cah.ucf.edu for more information.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Oct 24

hitt-ignite

    1. It started with spark in Orlando, but on Friday, Oct. 28, we’re taking IGNITE: The Campaign for UCF on the road. Our first stop? HOUSTON – and just in time for the UCF vs. Houston Football game. AlumKnights and friends of UCF are invited to join us for a special conversation with President Hitt. To learn more info on how you can be there for the start of the next great chapter in UCF’s history, click here.
    2. Knightro turned 22 on Oct. 18 and partied with a cute pup. It was awesome.

3. Three cheers for UCF Athletics, who had a BIG weekend. Before Football stole another road conference win, this time at UConn, linebacker Shaquem Griffin was featured on ESPN’s College GameDay.

Men’s Soccer also tamed the Huskies, who were ranked 24th in the nation, with a 2-1 win in overtime Saturday. The drama continued into Sunday when women’s soccer pulled out a double-overtime win on Senior Day over East Carolina. #ChargeOn

4. Knights Wake, UCF’s club wakeboarding team, recently won its third national championship in four years. Even sweeter…they did it by defeating USF at Quest ATX Cable Park in Austin, Texas. This is the third time this year the UCF Recreation and Wellness Center is celebrating a club team national championship. UCF has now won 14 club national championships since 2004. Charge On!

5. The fall issue of Pegasus is out today! Check out this story on alumna Cyndia Morales Muñiz ’13EdD, which is featured in the magazine. And if you’re looking for even more reading material on your lunch break this week, we’ve got you covered:
• The first scholarship from the Steven Sotloff Memorial Fund was given to journalism senior Adam Manno, who wants to shed light on important stories “like Steven did.”
• A love of chemistry bonded a two-time alumna and the recipient of her scholarship at the pair’s first meeting.