1. UCF is all about helping out the procrastinators in need of Valentine’s Day date ideas. The UCF Theater Department will be featuring William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet from Feb. 16-26. Tickets are $20 or $10 with a UCF ID. You can purchase them online or by calling the box office at 407-823-1500. The men’s basketball team will square off against Tulsa on Feb. 14 and is offering a special Valentine’s Date Night package. For $40 receive two tickets to the game as well as one Cupid-inspired Knightro Bobblehead.
2. CFE Arena announced Monday that UCF alumnus Daniel Tosh ’96 will return to campus April 25 for a standup comedy show featuring writers and comedians from his Comedy Central hit “Tosh.0.” Tickets go on sale Feb. 17.
3. Opening Night for UCF Baseball will be held Friday, and best of all – IT’S FREE! The Knights are beginning a new era under first-year head coach Greg Lovelady. First pitch against Siena is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Before you head to the field, learn more about the John Euliano Park Expansion.
4. Late last week, the 2017 UCF Football schedule was unveiled. It includes a record four September home games, 11 Saturday kickoffs and a Black Friday War On I-4 showdown with rival USF. Start making your tailgate plans and purchase season tickets now. Pro tip: Renew your season tickets before March 1 and swing yourself some cool prizes.
5. Calling Knights in Georgia! IGNITE: Atlanta will take place Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at the Intercontinental Buckhead Atlanta. Space is limited but there is still time to reserve your spot. The event is free. Click here to RSVP.
1. Get ready for #Bowlando! The UCF football team will play Sun Belt champion Arkansas State in the AutoNation Cure Bowl on Dec. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. Tickets are as affordable as $25 on ucfknights.com. We cannot stress buying through UCF enough: in doing so, you’re directly supporting the Knights financially.
Fun fact: In NCAA history, there have been seven FBS teams to go winless and then appear in a bowl game the very next season. UCF is now the eighth, accomplishing the feat for the second time in program history.
While at the bowl game, you’ll get to see UCF linebacker and American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year Shaquem Griffin in action. Griffin was recognized by the conference with the honor on Nov. 30 and featured on ESPN again for his sensational season. This comes one month after a special segment aired on ESPN’s College GameDay.
2. The UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center is the epi-center of graduation preparation as the fall 2016 soon-to-be grads pick up their cap and gowns this week. Commencement is always a wonderful reminder of Knight Pride, so UCF Alumni created special Facebook cover photos for each grad year since UCF’s first – 1970. Find your class and feel free to add a little black-and-gold to your profile. And if you’re a fall 2016 grad, UCF Alumni encourages you to check out the details for the #MyUCFMemory contest as well as our graduation central page.
3. Thank you to all AlumKnights and friends who made #GivingTuesday a rousing success! In support of the global day of giving, a record 260 donors from 16 states made gifts totaling $33,597. More than $10,000 was designated to first-generation scholarships. At UCF, one in four students are the first in their family to attend college.
4. The power of positivity continues to stem from Limbitless Solutions, UCF’s student group that creates 3-D printed bionic arms for children and donates them to families at no cost. Last week, the UCF Board of Trustees voted unanimously to make Limbitless Solutions the university’s newest direct support organization, meaning it will be a nonprofit entity formally affiliated with the university. Although Limbitless has used UCF lab space and worked closely with some faculty members, the group previously has operated as an independent nonprofit group. That same day, it was announced that a video game collaboration from Limbitless and UCF’s School of Visual Arts & Design won the Best Serious Game Innovation award at the Serious Games Showcase & Challenge.
5. The UCF men’s and women’s basketball teams are a combined 13-3 in their first month of the new season. Even better, they are helping out people in need to brighten up the holidays, and you can get your hands on a December Knightro Bobblehead by joining the cause.
Junior guard Aliyah Gregory started a toy drive last year to benefit The Spring of Tampa, a domestic violence shelter in her hometown. The cause is important to Gregory because her aunt died as a result of domestic violence in 2011. [Read more of that story here.] On Sunday, the women’s team encouraged fans to bring a toy to the game – and did they deliver!
Toys will be collected again on Dec. 10 at the men’s game against Maryland Eastern Shore. The first 100 fans who bring a toy for the 5 p.m. tipoff will receive the surfing Santa Knightro Bobblehead.
1. The College of Medicine’s 10-year anniversary was one for the books. Missed the celebration? Check out the Facebook gallery. And now a word from Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the medical school:
“After a decade together, I am still continually amazed by what we can achieve when we work together. Ten years ago, President Hitt’s vision was of a medical school that would serve our Central Florida community by offering the very best in medical education, research and patient care. Today that dream has become a reality.”
2. Thanks to a solid defensive effort – no kidding, UCF safety Drico Johnson outscored Tulane himself – UCF Football nabbed a 37-6 win on Saturday to kick off its three-game homestand. The UCF Alumni Indoor Tailgate helped get gameday started (Photos:Indoor Tailgate | Game ), and this Saturday, you can do it all again. FAIRWINDS Alumni Center will open its doors at 9 a.m. for the noon kickoff against Cincinnati on ESPNU. #UCFansWear gold to the game. Out-of-towners, need a watch party?
3. In a salute to Veterans Day Weekend, UCF Football’s game Saturday is Military Appreciation Day. Military, veterans and first responders receive free entry to the game. Those looking to secure tickets are encouraged to do so ahead of Saturday by registering here. They will also be eligible to purchase tickets at a discounted rate for friends and family attending the game with them.
4. We’ve got three words for ya: Light Up UCF. It’s bigger and better than ever in its ninth year. The festivities begin Nov. 18 with a new light show featuring more than 30,000 lights and music. The nightly activities run through Jan. 7. More details.
5. Just in time for Election Day, Knightro’s latest bobblehead has been revealed, and he pulls off red, white and blue just as well as black and gold. One guaranteed way to get your hands on “Knightro For President” is to purchase men’s basketball season tickets. Speaking of basketball, heads up: the women’s team holds its home opener this Sunday at 2 p.m. and the men will tip off at CFE Arena a day later (Nov. 14) at 7 p.m.
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.
Knightro turned 22 on Oct. 18 and partied with a cute pup. It was awesome.
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.
1. To Bennu and back! On Friday, the OSIRIS-REx launch could be seen from UCF’s campus — home of physics professor Humberto Campins and associate professor Yan Fernandez, who will have an active role in analyzing data of the seven-year mission. OSIRIS-REx is bound for Bennu and is scheduled to encounter the mountain-sized asteroid in 2018. It’s NASA’s first mission to return a sample of an asteroid to Earth. A successful mission will provide scientists enough material from the asteroid’s surface to better understand how planets formed and how life began in the solar system.
2. UCF Football is hosting Family Weekend at 7 p.m. on Sept. 17 against Maryland, one week after playing in front of the largest crowd in program history (109,295) at Michigan’s Big House. Saturday’s Indoor Tailgate will start at 4 p.m. and is free for all UCF alumni and their guests.
3. Everyone’s favorite bobbleheads have returned! The Knightro Bobblehead Series kicked off for the 2016-17 season with a football-themed Knightro donning a black uniform. There are several ways to start collecting the new set – those details can be found here.
4. The UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center hosted a GoBabyGo car-building event for 10 toddlers late last week. GoBabyGo is a national effort to provide children without the ability to walk, a way to get around. The organization retrofits motorized toy cars for children with special needs. Dozens of volunteers, including UCF alumni, helped at the event and capped the day by cheering on the child drivers in a race on Memory Mall.
5. Courtney Paulson, an alumna of UCF and The Burnett Honors College, will look to defend her title on “Jeopardy!” tonight, Sept. 12. The 2011 graduate won the quiz show at the end of its season on July 29 with a total prize of $11,700. Tune in locally on WFTV Channel 9 at 7 p.m. Good luck, Courtney!
Taking any UCF classes this fall? Want some free money? Apply for one of our many alumni scholarships! (Scroll to the bottom of the page for application instructions.)
February is Matching Gift Month, which means your monetary donations may be worth double if your employer participates in the matching gift program. While we hope UCF is tops on your list of giving priorities, we encourage you to give to whichever organizations mean the most to you!
The UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center is taking part in a Green Office Certification pilot program, also known as the “GreenUP UCF” campaign. Over the next year, our staff will be making changes to help our building become a more sustainable part of our beautiful campus.
Looking for something to do this weekend? If you’re in the Titusville area on Saturday, join our Space Coast UCF Alumni Chapter as they cheer on Knightro in the Mascot Marathon! Or, if you’re out and about in Orlando on Saturday, support our student-athletes at the UCF Baseball FanFest prior to the Knights’ basketball game against Temple (where you can enter your little one in the Second Annual UCF Baby Race during halftime)!
Join the College of Sciences on Feb. 10, as it hosts its next Distinguished Speaker Series. This month’s topic is “Understanding Violence against Women in Rural Communities,” presented by Walter DeKeseredy, professor of sociology at the University of West Virginia.
The UCF Alumni Association’s partnership with UCF Career Services has been a success over the past year, with more than 600 alumni receiving individual career counseling, and 450 more impacted by workshops and outreach.
Before our Knights take on the FIU Golden Panthers Thursday, we’ll kick off the 2015-16 football season with our annual UCF Alumni Indoor Tailgate, from 3-5 p.m., at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center. Don’t miss it!
Amanda Carbonneau’s new student ID lanyard hung from her neck, a proud symbol of her freshman status.
Two hours before her first class Monday, she mentioned the hip-hop class at the gym she wants to try. She had already discovered how delicious school food can be and stumbled upon Knightro the UCF mascot, good material for a Facebook post.
This is what life is like moving on campus for Carbonneau, a pioneer at the University of Central Florida. She is one of six students enrolled in a test program aimed at making higher education more accessible for those with intellectual disabilities.
The program is debuting at a time when there has been a greater focus on helping disabled students get the necessary education to find good jobs.
Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, who has a son with Down syndrome, has pushed for the state to devote more resources to the issue. Although Gov. Rick Scott vetoed money for a statewide center for students with disabilities, UCF moved forward with its previously planned small test.
“We need to get the word out. This is an option,” said Debra Hart at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston.
“Students [with disabilities] can — and do — go to college,” added Hart, who advised UCF with the pilot.
Carbonneau now lives in a dorm room with a view overlooking a lake and the marching-band practice fields. The decorating process went fast: the turquoise comforter in place, her quilt made from old soccer T-shirts up and the heart lights strung up over her bed.
“It feels like home,” said Carbonneau, 21.
Growing up, Carbonneau took therapy to learn how to hold a pencil and improve her speech. She reads on a fourth-grade level.
“Amanda has really struggled with school her whole life,” said her mother, Janet, a UCF alum who met her husband at college in the 1980s. “She is one of the kids who in the public-school system falls through the cracks. She’s not severely handicapped. She’s not autistic. She doesn’t really have a diagnosis. She’s not Down syndrome. … She just has some learning issues.”
At one school, her teacher said Carbonneau would never graduate from high school. Her mother switched schools.
Janet and Guy Carbonneau wanted a normal life for their daughter, who liked roller coasters, played soccer, baby-sat, earned her drivers license and graduated in 2013 from what is now known as Willow Schools.
“Nothing makes her fearful. She just says, ‘I’m going to try,'” said her former Principal Carla Brandt. “You can just tell she wants to go into this world. Once she finds her place, her niche, she will just thrive.”
Her family, which lives 20 minutes away in Winter Springs, moved her in last week, battling a rainstorm. They didn’t want to miss a preseason NFL game, which only increased the urgency to get Carbonneau’s TV working.
“We love Amanda,” wrote her older sister, Jordan, on a white board on move-in day.
This semester, Carbonneau will take two classes, one on college skills and another on childhood education. She will get paired with other UCF students to help her adjust to school and campus social life.
Carbonneau and the other five students are not degree-seeking, so they will not get letter grades for their classes. They didn’t need high test scores or grades to gain admittance either.
The university is still working on the details, such as whether they will receive certificates or a special degree, said Adam Meyer, director of UCF’s Student Accessibility Services.
“We know at the state level we need to have those conversations,” Meyer said.
What makes UCF’s program unique is the buy-in, from top to bottom, Hart said.
For instance, Provost Dale Whittaker has touted the program to UCF leaders, and professors who support Carbonneau in their classes will adjust assignments so they are appropriate for her.
It also stands out because the majority of university programs don’t allow disabled students to live on campus, Hart said, amid concerns the students are exposed to sex and alcohol and other typical college issues.
Hart said she believes the UCF program is “very robust and rich for the students.”
“They want an authentic college experience, meaning it’s the real deal,” she said.
In a cheerful tone, Carbonneau listed off her plans for school: maybe join a club, meet new friends, go to the football games land a job at a university day care because she likes children.
Who knows? Maybe she will meet a nice boyfriend in college.
“I’m excited for that, too,” she said.
This story appeared in an Aug. 24, 2015, edition of the Orlando Sentinel online. It has been slightly edited in accordance with alumni association style guidelines. See original article.
New projects and construction will greet students, faculty and staff headed back to campus today. They include a Garage C expansion, UCF Health Center expansion, the Carl Black & Gold Cabana, the Wayne Densch Student-Athlete Leadership Center and the Libra Drive expansion.
On Friday, UCF alumnus James Wurst, ’05, presented Knightro with a new ride — a three-wheeled skateboard from his company, Trideck (see photo above).
PBS “NewsHour” premiered a segment on the Direct Connect to UCF program, which is helping more students to graduate, as well as save thousands of dollars for low-income students who may not have otherwise had the opportunity to earn a four-year degree.
To help students become excellent doctors with the kind of bedside manner you’d trust your elderly grandmother to, a private foundation provided the College of Medicine with a $116,225 grant that will establish the “Chapman Humanism in Medicine Initiative” at UCF.