Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – Dec. 18, 2017

1. “It’s not enough to have a successful career. Success should be defined in terms of doing everything you can so everyone in your community has the same opportunities.”

That advice is from NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was one of the speakers during commencement weekend. Read the Orlando Sentinel feature.

2. The latest issue of Pegasus magazine is out, and its cover story explains how UCF’s history department is working with Florida veterans to preserve their stories.

3. If you’re heading to Atlanta for the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, remember to check out the complete list of bowl weekend activities at ucfalumni.com/bowlbound.

4. UCF research may lead toward an exciting future where the blind see again, neurostimulator implants help relieve chronic pain and war veterans feel the sensation of touch in their prosthetic limb. Melanie Coathup, PhD, an internationally recognized specialist in bone regeneration and implant design, has been hired to lead the university’s new Prosthetic Interfaces faculty research cluster, which will work on big problems like these.

5. This is the last Five Things post of 2017. UCF Alumni wishes you and yours a happy holiday season and a great new year! Go Knights!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – Dec. 11, 2017

1. Headed to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl? Start off the New Year celebrating with Knights fans of all ages at the UCF ChargeOn Tailgate in the heart of downtown Atlanta at the College Football Hall of Fame. You can expect special appearances by UCF fan favorites as well a drink ticket, breakfast buffet, fan giveaways and cash bar beverages. Register today!

2. As UCF’s presidential search committee aims to find the university’s fifth president, your opinion matters to them. UCF will host four opportunities for the campus and Central Florida communities to provide input at public forums. The university has also launched an online survey, available at www.ucf.edu/leadership/presidential-search.

3. Kyle Dencker ’08 ’16MA, a computer science teacher at Timber Creek High School, is now in the running for Florida top teacher honors after being named Orange County’s Teacher of the Year last week.

4. About 3,980 UCF students are expected to graduate in three ceremonies Dec. 15-16 at the CFE Arena. Former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is among this semester’s commencement speakers.

5. In case you missed it, UCF Football announced Josh Heupel as the Knights’ 11th head coach. He quickly named Randy Shannon as the new defensive coordinator. Read what they’re saying about this dynamic duo.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—July 31

1. Roughly 3,700 UCF students are expected to join the alumni family when they graduate in two ceremonies Aug. 5 at the CFE Arena. Graduating members of the UCF Summer Class of 2017 can enter the UCF Alumni Instagram contest by posting a photo of their decorated grad cap to their Instagram account. Tag @UCFAlumni and use the hashtag #UCFGrad in the caption for a chance to win.

2. UCF and HCA Healthcare’s North Florida Division will start building a new hospital next to the College of Medicine in Lake Nona within 18 months. The state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) gave the final certificate of need approval for a 100-bed medical and surgical hospital that officials hope will be open for patients by the end of 2020.

3. Save the date for a rare solar eclipse that will occur on the first day of fall classes, Aug. 21. The Planetary Sciences Group at UCF, the College of Sciences, and the student-run Astronomical Society will host a viewing party 2-3:30 p.m. in front of Millican Hall and the Reflecting Pond to mark the occasion.

4. Although the full 2017-18 men’s basketball schedule has not been released yet, fans can scope out a few dates that have been set against teams from the SEC and Big Ten. With the return of big man Tacko Fall and under the leadership of Johnny Dawkins, UCF has high expectations for the upcoming year. Fans looking to purchase new tickets can call (407) 823-1000 or click here: www.ucfknights.com/jointhefamily to secure them today.

5. If you want to convince your boss it’s cool to play video games at work, a UCF alumnus has found the proof to back you up. Michael Rupp ’09BA ’09BS ’12MS, a UCF doctoral student in human factors and cognitive psychology, and his co-authors evaluated whether casual video game play during rest breaks is an effective way to combat workplace stress. This Newsweek article discusses the team’s findings.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—May 22

1. Congrats to the UCF baseball team and first-year head coach Greg Lovelady who hit it out of the park over the weekend with their series win over nationally ranked USF for the Knights’ first conference championship since 2004. UCF clinched the No. 1 seed in the American Athletic Conference Tournament in Clearwater and will face East Carolina on Tuesday at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. For complete championship information, including how to buy tickets — we’re looking at you Tampa Knights – please visit theamerican.org.

2. If you know a young alumnus or young alumna doing great work, we want to hear about it! Nominations for UCF Alumni’s 30 Under 30 are now open until May 28. FYI, those nominated must be age 30 or under on June 30, 2017, and self-nominations are not considered.

3. Just when you thought graduation was over… we bring you the graduating class of the College of Medicine! Congrats to the 113 M.D. students who received their degrees over the weekend, including this former Broadway actor.

4. UCF Alumni is hosting several Freshman Welcome events around the state in June and alumni are welcome to attend to support our newest Knights! These free events with light hors d’ouvres and beverages are a great opportunity to share your black and gold bond with the next generation. Check for events in your area:
*Southwest Florida – June 3, 2-4 p.m.
*Jacksonville – June 4, 1-3 p.m.
*Southeast Florida – June 8, 6-8 p.m.
*Tampa — June 28, 6-8 p.m.

5. UCF police chief and alumnus Richard Beary was inducted into the Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame on Saturday. Beary, who earned his master’s in criminal justice in 2004, has led UCF’s police force since 2007.

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—May 1

1. The UCF Alumni Giving Challenge launches today. Here are three key questions answered:
>What is the Alumni Giving Challenge?
It’s a week-long 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 before the end of their commencement week.
 >When is the UCF Alumni Giving Challenge?
The campaign runs from May 1 through May 7.
>How do I participate?
Visit ucfalumni.com/challenge to make a gift.

2. Another UCF alumnus is headed to the NFL. Former UCF defensive back Shaquill Griffin became the 36th Knight to hear his name called in the NFL Draft on Friday when he was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round, with the 90th overall pick. He is now the third highest UCF defensive back draftee, coming in behind only Josh Robinson (66th) and his position coach, Travis Fisher (64th). Griffin earned a bachelor’s degree in human communications in December.

3. UCF alumna Emily Kramer ’14PhD was honored when an asteroid was named after her to recognize her contributions to planetary science research. Asteroid 10282, aka 1981 ET46, is now officially named Emilykramer. Kramer is a scientist at Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and earned her doctorate in physics at UCF in 2014.

4. About 7,900 UCF graduates will earn their degrees later this week at CFE Arena. Welcome to the fam, fellow alumni! If you’ve got a cool cap to set you apart from the rest, we want to see it. Check out our #UCFGrad cap contest rules and you can score yourself a cool prize for your creativity.

5. Danny White talks the lazy river, priorities for 2017-18 and highlights of year one as UCF’s athletic director in this lengthy Q&A by the Orlando Sentinel.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week MEGA EDITION—April 24

*If you’re graduating and picking up your cap and gown this week, make sure you keep reading because we’ve got five more things especially for our newest alumni!

1. USA Today gave a shoutout to UCF football assistant coach Jovan Dewitt for an app he produced to help with recruiting. Dewitt, a math and physics double major during a two-time Division II all-America career at Northern Michigan in the late 1990s, considers the app a side project – so he’ll still be coaching up the linebackers and special teams come Fall.

2. Staff, alumni and friends of the Burnett Honors College raised nearly $38,000 to establish the Alvin Y. Wang Endowed Scholarship to honor the longtime dean’s service to the university. They surprised him with the news late last week at a celebration of his tenue. Dean Wang plans to step down and focus on teaching in the classroom, so luckily he’s still sticking around.

3. Hot air balloon rides, a rocking concert, food comas and a friendly battle on the gridiron – the UCFastival and spring game was a rousing success. And UCF has all the coverage you could possibly want, complete with videos, recaps and photo galleries.

4. The Orlando Sentinel featured 10 people who make Orlando great, and we’re happy to say we recognize some names as Knights! Chris Castro (Class of 2010) of IDEAS For Us; Mary Palmer, a former professor and the former Dean of the College of Education; and Ryan Rivas (Class of 2005), publisher at Burrow Press, all made the list – and here’s why they did.

5. Just in time for Earth Day, a UCF chemistry professor just found a way to trigger the process of photosynthesis in a synthetic material, turning greenhouse gases into clean air and producing energy all at the same time. The process has great potential for creating a technology that could significantly reduce greenhouse gases linked to climate change, while also creating a clean way to produce energy. Score one for science!

Five More Things – Graduation Style
To our newest alumni, we’ve got nothing but love for ya this week. Here are some need-to-knows about graduation that includes opportunities for free swag! Also, if you’ve got any questions about graduation, chances are, the answers lie here.

1. The #UCFGrad cap Instagram contest is in full swing and four prizes are up for grabs, including a legacy brick on Knights Terrace at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center. Here’s how to win:
> Decorate your grad cap
> Post it to Instagram
> Tag UCF alumni in the photo & use #UCFGrad in your caption!

2. Speaking of grad caps, the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center is hosting a decorating party all week. Visit us between 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. any day this week and get your hands on all the decorating materials you need to stand out in the crowd on graduation day. Plus, we’ve stocked a candy bar to give you the energy you need to get your cap on point.

3. Need some tunes to commemorate the occasion? Here’s a Spotify playlist made especially for the Class of 2017 by the members of the class themselves! Happy listening!

4. Planning on taking a much needed vacation after all that hard work and walking across the stage with diploma in hand? Consider checking out UCF’s worldwide travel packages.

5. Still need to make your class gift? You haven’t missed your chance. Help out future UCF students and be a part of a lasting legacy by making a gift of $20.17.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Dec. 26

As we countdown the final week of 2016, we take a look back at five memorable UCF moments that happened this year.

  1. IGNITE: The Campaign for UCF launched.
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  2. We united as one. #OrlandoUnited
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  3. We were inspired by those who know no limits.
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  4. Three athletes, one referee and one Paralympian made their countries and their alma mater proud beyond measure at the Summer Olympics.
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  5. The university handed out its 300,000th degree, and we feel like we’re just getting started.
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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.
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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 ucfalumnitoday.com 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 ucfalumni.com/igniteucf.

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

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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.