UCF’s History is in Her Hands

Alumna Mary Rubin ’12 preserves more than 1,050 boxes of UCF history in her role as UCF Libraries’ senior archivist.

By Jenna Marina Lee

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 3, 2017) – She has not yet reached her 30th birthday. She has tattoos of a tortoise and a hippopotamus on her biceps. And while she does work in a library, she doesn’t get to read all day, although she wishes she did.

Meet the keeper of UCF’s past: alumna and senior archivist Mary Rubin ’12.

“Libraries and archives is something I feel very strong about, especially for this school,” Rubin said. “It’s grown so much and to see that history, to be able to preserve it, will help future generations.”

Rubin explains the duties of her job as collecting, preserving and making historical records available.

She always loved libraries and reading as a hobby, but she never considered a profession in the field. In her final year as an undergraduate interdisciplinary studies student at UCF, she got an IT job in the library. In addition to helping students, she troubleshot problems for staff, and as a result, got a pretty good grasp of the library’s organizational chart.

The archivist at the time hired Rubin for her coding skills and tasked her with fixing the digital inventories for the collections.

UCF Marketing then hired Rubin temporarily ahead of UCF’s 50th anniversary in 2013. Rubin was given a 68-page timeline of events with the directive to verify as many as she could. She spent the next six months alone sifting through boxes of materials and turned the 68-page document in a 200-page timeline with citations.

She kept her wits intact by listening to “a lot of Pandora” and brought in a heating lamp when sweaters weren’t enough to keep her warm all day in the cold room.

“My passion started with UCF so that really helped, learning all about it. My love for archives came once I finally started working in it,” she said.

She eventually took over the archivist position in 2013 and has since earned her master’s degree in library and information science from USF. Her first priority every day when she walks into her office is to answer requests for archived materials, which usually involves photographs. After requests are handled, she works on processing her logs of new and old materials to add to the archive collection.

As of June 30, 2017, University Archives possesses more than 1050 boxes of records, which includes administrative files, multimedia materials, photographs, publications and memorabilia.

Among the collection includes a tiara from the 2010 Miss UCF. There’s a football signed by Daunte Culpepper. And the groundbreaking shovel from 1967. It’s the same shovel that was used ceremoniously at the groundbreaking of UCF’s College of Medicine in 2007 and the Downtown Campus in May 2017.

They have a full set of Spirit Splash ducks dating back to 2002. The archive’s collection was missing the 2003 and 2005 ducks until Rubin did a social media campaign last year around Homecoming. A generous Knight offered up her own personal ducks to fill the gaps once she learned they were missing.

But Rubin’s favorite item in the archives is a set of meeting minutes from 1969. It took place less than a year after UCF had opened for classes, but the Board of Regents were already discussing a name change for Florida Technological University.

“It’s my favorite item because they were thinking about changing the name to University of Florida at Orlando,” she said. “Our abbreviation would have been UFO.”

Every day, Rubin can see past the words on a paper or the images on black and white photographs. The records tell her a story.

“You can see the genius behind some of these things,” she said. “It’s the heart of the people. The heart of the organization. It shows the culture. UCF’s impact on the community is amazing.”

Pair of Knights Strive for Miss America Crown

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By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 8, 2016) – And the winner of this year’s Miss America competition is… hopefully a Knight.

This Sunday’s 96th installment of the annual pageant features two UCF alumnae.

Miss Florida Courtney Sexton, ’15, and Miss Missouri Erin O’Flaherty, ’15, are vying to become the latest Knight to claim the title of Miss America. Ericka Dunlap, ’05, was awarded the crown in 2004 and served on the UCF Alumni Board of Directors from June 2013 until mid-July 2016.

The competition will air live Sept. 11 from Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall at 9 p.m. on ABC.

O’Flaherty has made headlines nationwide via CNN, Good Morning America, the Huffington Post and People and Cosmopolitan magazines as the first openly gay Miss America contestant in the pageant’s nearly century-long history.

The 23-year-old legal studies alumna owns and operates Rachel’s Grove Boutique in Chesterfield, Missouri. A former Miss UCF, her pageant platform has always been suicide prevention, a topic of concern to her because she had a friend in high school who committed suicide. She opened up about the loss of her friend Joseph when she was a columnist for the UCF Forum opinion series in 2013.

Sexton, 23, from Starke, received an $18,000 scholarship for claiming the title of Miss Florida in early July. Sexton earned her bachelor’s degree in health services administration in May 2015 and is pursuing a master’s degree in health services administration.

Sexton’s platform is Get up! Get moving! Volunteer!, which she describes as connecting others through a cause or organization they are passionate about.

According to MissAmerica.org, contestants contribute tens of thousands of community service hours annually and have raised more than $14 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Miss America scholarships since 2007.

Five Things Alumni Need To Know — July 6, 2015

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Miss UCF 2015 Brittany Vasile, ’15, is spending her summer in New York City, with the dream of becoming a Radio City Rockette. (Photo: Courtesy of Brittany Vasile)

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. The UCF Alumni Association is launching its inaugural 30 under 30 awards, recognizing outstanding young alumni who continue to reach for the stars in their professional and personal lives. Know someone who should be honored? Nominate him or her today!
  2. The UCF Foundation’s new CEO, Mike Morsberger, aims to raise $500 million by 2018 through a multi-year campaign (not expected to go public until next year) to help the university expand to Downtown Orlando, dramatically increase endowment funds for scholarship support and have a competitive edge in athletics.
  3. The UCF Nicholson School of Communication Alumni Chapter invites participants to join the Florida Public Relations Association’s area chapter for a night of networking at its Sip & Savor Scholarship Fundraiser on Thursday.
  4. The Kenneth G. Dixon School of Accounting in the UCF College of Business Administration was recognized for its B.S. and M.S. programs, which were ranked among the top 50 in the nation by accounting.com.
  5. This week, Miss UCF 2015 and KnightMoves dancer Brittany Vasile, ’15, returns to the Rockettes Summer Intensive Dance Program in New York to assist other dancers in training before re-auditioning for her own shot at becoming one of the nation’s most iconic performers.