Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – April 2, 2018

1. UCF’s Day of Giving on March 29 was a smashing success thanks to YOU! Your combined efforts blew by the donor goal of 1,000, and your love for UCF supported a variety of scholarships and programs at the university. Read more about the day and check out the results:
Day of Giving Infographic

2. In addition to the buzz of UCF Day of Giving on March 29, the Florida Board of Governors unanimously confirmed the selection of Dale Whittaker, PhD, as the University of Central Florida’s next president. Whittaker, who currently serves as UCF’s provost and executive vice president, will become the university’s fifth president on July 1.

3. UCF Alumni announced the recipients of its fourth annual 30 Under 30 Awards on March 30. The winners will be recognized in a formal ceremony on campus at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center on May 19. View the complete slate of honorees.

4. What do sea turtles, veterans, language programs, science and football have in common? They’ll all be better off thanks to the generosity of Jim ’81 and Julia Rosengren, who have committed $6.6 million to support those programs at the University of Central Florida. Combined with their previous donations, the Rosengrens have committed $7.95 million to UCF – the largest total from an alumnus in university history.

5. If you missed news from UCF’s Pro Day last week, get yourself caught up with this recap. In addition to 60-plus scouts and executives from around professional football in attendance, nearly 70 members of the media were credentialed to cover the event. That media contingent included two crews from ESPN and one from NFL Network, in addition to coverage from Sports Illustrated, Yahoo! Sports and every local outlet that usually covers the UCF football team.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – Feb. 26, 2018

Blake Bortles will suit up for the Jacksonville Jaguars through 2020

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.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – Feb. 5, 2018

1. UCF’s annual faculty and staff fundraising campaign Believe started Feb. 1 and will run through the duration of the month. Last year, the Believe campaign saw 2,045 staff members contribute more than $1 million in philanthropic support to the university. We’re proud to report that one-third of UCF’s faculty and staff are alumni. Learn more about this year’s campaign.

2. With the Philadelphia Eagles’ win on Sunday night in the Super Bowl, former UCF cornerback D.J. Killings ’16 became the 10th Knight to earn a Super Bowl ring. Killings, who was a four-year letterwinner for the Knights before graduating with his bachelor’s degree in human communication, started his NFL career with the New England Patriots before being released and picked up by the Eagles in October 2017.

3. Another Presidential Search Committee meeting is being held Feb. 5 at 10 a.m. at the UCF Global Collaboration Room. The Orlando Sentinel published a story Saturday about the 21 candidates who have applied for the job so far. You can also stay informed about the process through UCF’s Presidential Search website.

4. News last week out of the College of Medicine reports that a strain of bacteria commonly found in milk and beef may be a trigger for developing rheumatoid arthritis in people who are genetically at risk. A team of UCF College of Medicine researchers are the first to report the connection. Read more about the study.

5. Rollins College is hosting a conversation with UCF President John C. Hitt on Feb. 8 at 7:30 p.m. at the Knowles Memorial Chapel in Winter Park. This is a free event, and no tickets are required, however, space is limited. Doors open at 7 p.m.  Further event details can be found on Facebook.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – Jan. 29, 2018

1. Did you and your significant other meet at UCF? Share the details of your #UCFLoveStory with us and you might be picked to be featured during Valentine’s Day week on our official social media pages. Fill out this online form.

2. UCF Provost and Executive Vice President Dale Whittaker announced last week that the university will create an Academic Health Sciences Center at Lake Nona as well as a new college and new interdisciplinary, inter-college school that will anchor UCF Downtown. Some changes mean that the College of Education and Human Performance and College of Health and Public Affairs will no longer exist, but no academic majors or programs are being eliminated. Read Whittaker’s full announcement and learn more about the restructuring from this FAQ.

3. Florida Governor Rick Scott surprised the football team to congratulate the Knights on their undefeated season. The celebration continued at the NFL Pro Bowl over the weekend when the team was recognized on the field at Camping World Stadium during the game.

4. UCF’s men’s basketball team will play both of its games this week at home. The Knights will first tip off against UConn on Wednesday at 9 p.m. at CFE Arena before holding a double-header with the women’s basketball team on Saturday. The men will take on Houston at noon before the women face Memphis at 2 p.m.

5. The UCF police department is still searching for a suspect in recent battery cases at UCF (see sketch below). The suspect is described as a thin, dark-skinned, dark-haired college-aged male who is about 5-foot-7 or 5-foot-8, wears glasses and speaks with an accent.

As UCFPD continues to aggressively investigate the case, it needs the community to remain alert and to speak up if anyone has any related information that could help. UCFPD can be reached 24/7 by calling 407-823-5555.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – Jan. 22, 2018

30 Under 30’s 2017 honorees

1. Nominate a worthy Knight before Feb. 9 for UCF Alumni’s 30 Under 30 awards! The 30 Under 30 Awards program recognizes outstanding young alumni who have found success in their professional and personal endeavors. Nominees must be alumni of the university, but anyone can submit a nomination. Note: Award candidates must be age 29 or under on May 19, 2018.

2. The UCF Board of Trustees voted unanimously last week to extend the tuition reduction, which started this spring, through the spring 2019 semester for students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have been displaced by Hurricane Maria. “We should view this as an opportunity to serve,” said UCF President John C. Hitt.

3. Rollins College’s prestigious Winter Park Institute will host “A Conversation with UCF President John Hitt,” moderated by Rollins President Grant Cornwell. Expect a thought-provoking talk on an astonishing career in education. The event is Thursday, Feb. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Knowles Memorial Chapel on the Rollins campus. This is a free event – no tickets required, however, space is limited. Doors open at 7 p.m.

4. The UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center is holding a symposium on athlete health featuring UCF leadership and retired NFL players on Saturday, Jan. 27. This event begins with a champagne luncheon with former NFL pros (included in ticket price) honoring retired NFL players who attended UCF, including Bobby Spitulski ’98, Rick Hamilton ’98, Marquette Smith ’95 and Elgin Davis. Tickets are limited, so act fast!

5. UCF extended its lead in the War On I4 rivalry series over the weekend thanks to the men’s basketball team’s 71-69 road win. And it is with sad hearts that we pass along the news of Tacko Fall’s season-ending shoulder injury. We wish him well on his surgery this month!

Philly Alumni Club Welcomes Knights from Six Other Regions

UCFatTemple-Philly-Alumni-Club

By Angie Lewis, ’03

The Philadelphia UCF Alumni Club welcomed Knights from Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Connecticut, New York and Washington, D.C., to their city for last Saturday’s UCF football game against Temple.

Nearly 125 (chilly!) UCF fans were in attendance at Lincoln Financial Field, which is home to the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.

“Despite the loss, it was great to welcome fellow Knights to the City of Brotherly Love, and to make so many new friends,” says Brittani DiPaolo, co-chair of the Philadelphia UCF Alumni Club.

Learn More

UCF Alumni Chapters and Clubs

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Oct. 5, 2015

kitten
After discovering her under the hood of his car last Monday, Steve Collins,
a UCF journalism professor, adopted 6-week-old Honda,
who joins a 12-year-old sister named Cocoa.
(PHOTO: UCF Nicholson School of Communication Facebook page)

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. We’ve got lots of fun alumni events happening this week, including the return of UCF MedTalk, which will discuss “Tackling Breast Cancer,” on Wednesday; the UCF Alumni Indoor Tailgate for the UCF vs. UConn game on Saturday; and the Tampa Bay UCF Alumni Chapter’s AlumKnight Out at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, as Blake Bortles and the Jaguars take on the Buccaneers! The Space Coast UCF Alumni Chapter will also be making the trip to Tampa for the game!
  2. On Wednesday, President Hitt discussed the transformative power of higher education, his belief that a university has a responsibility to lift up its community, and — when it comes to the size of the student body — you can be both big and good during his annual State of the University address.
  3. Two UCF professors landed multi-million-dollar NASA grants, focused on asteroids, comets and Venus, for missions that could take flight as early as 2020.
  4. It was a purrrfect ending for a 6-week-old kitten that was discovered under the hood of a UCF journalism professor’s car last Monday.
  5. An Orlando bar made national news, offering patrons free beer during UCF football games until the Knights can break their losing streak.

Knights in the NFL

josh-sitton-GB
The Knights’ Josh Sitton now plays offensive guard for the Green Bay Packers.

By Brian Ormiston
Senior Associate Director, UCF Athletics

The NFL regular season kicks off on Thursday, and yet again the Knights will be well represented in 2015.

Last season, 13 Knights made 53-man rosters out of training camp, and at the end of the NFL regular season there were 18 former UCF players in the league (both on active rosters and on practice squads).

This year, 14 Knights are on active rosters with three more making practice squads including Jacoby Glenn (Chicago), Rannell Hall (Tampa Bay) and Terrance Plummer (Washington).

The full list of Knights on 53-man NFL rosters:

Offense
WR Kamar Aiken – Baltimore Ravens
QB Blake Bortles – Jacksonville Jaguars
WR Brandon Marshall – New York Jets
FB Bruce Miller – San Francisco 49ers
RB Latavius Murray – Oakland Raiders
WR Breshad Perriman – Baltimore Ravens
OG Josh Sitton – Green Bay Packers

Defense
CB A.J. Bouye – Houston Texans
DT Leger Douzable – New York Jets
S Clayton Geathers – Indianapolis Colts
S Kemal Ishmael – Atlanta Falcons
CB Josh Robinson (Physically Unable to Perform List) – Minnesota Vikings

Special Teams
LS Charley Hughlett – Cleveland Browns
K Matt Prater – Detroit Lions

For the current Knights, they are preparing for a trip to California to take on Stanford on Saturday, Sept. 12, at 10:30 p.m. ET.

Go Knights! Charge On!

More Info

For information on purchasing tickets for the 2015 season, check out UCFKnights.com, or call the ticket office at 407-UCF-1000.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Aug. 17, 2015

Knights-on-the-Mall-map

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. Knights on the Mall tailgating spots are up for grabs, as the new reservation system went live today for UCF’s first home game against FIU on Sept. 3.
  2. And, speaking of football, the Knights’ former QB Blake Bortles made his sophomore debut in Friday’s preseason game against the Steelers, helping to lead the Jags to a 23-21 victory!
  3. Alumna Jennifer Hamilton, ’14, turned her capstone project into multi-million-dollar Sleep/EEG Center for Nemours Children’s Hospital.
  4. Central Florida’s king of hummus, UCF student Jesse Wolfe, landed a deal with Publix Super Markets, which will now carry his new line of salad dressings.
  5. U.S. veterans are sharing personal stories about their service experiences to be preserved for future generations.

Life after College: Expect the Unexpected, Say Three UCF Grads

Rosen-alumnae

By Kathy Dorf
Rosen College Public Relations

Graduate. Get a job. Get promoted. Climb the ladder. Succeed. That’s what most students think life after college is all about. Three alumnae recently spoke to Wilfried Iskat’s Introduction to Lodging class at Rosen College about the unexpected curves and swerves that come after graduation and how to make the most of the journey.

Jamie Realander, ’11, Kate Thomas, ’05, and Jennifer Garcia, ’09, all traveled unconventional paths to their current jobs, but found that their experiences helped them realize their true potential and discover their professional passions.

Realander is a conference center sales manager for the Rosen Plaza Hotel in Orlando, and, although she just graduated in 2011, is already a veteran employee of the company. Realander started working for Rosen Hotels & Resorts in February 2006 and rotated through multiple positions learning hotel operations. Then, in June 2011, she took an opportunity to work for the new JW Marriott in Indianapolis. Personal matters led her to return to Orlando and the company she refers to as “family.”

Realander hopes the future holds the opportunity to open her own boutique hotel and credits Rosen College for guiding her in the right direction to someday realize that goal. She encourages students to make the most of their time before graduation.

“Life after Rosen has drastically changed and I am not quite sure how I juggled school and a full-time career before,” Realander said. “Take advantage of every opportunity and be sure to get your name out there. There is something to be learned in every experience. You may not realize it at the time, but hindsight is 20/20.”

Thomas, a marketing manager for the Hyatt Regency Orlando, found herself doing work she never expected on her way to her current position, including human resources, revenue management, digital media and email marketing. Thomas stressed the importance of volunteering for projects and trying new things, despite lacking prior education and training, in order to continuously learn and provide value to your employer.

“My life after Rosen has been unpredictable as far as a career path goes,” Thomas said. “What was predictable is that I graduated with the skills and work ethic to make a go of anything I pursued. Every experience counts, no matter what the job, volunteer experience or interaction — it will teach you something.”

Garcia says Rosen College taught her to dream big and reminded students to believe they can achieve their goals even if they can’t see a straight path to success. Garcia currently works for the Florida Panthers hockey team as a client management specialist, but infiltrating the sports industry proved difficult despite her persistence. With aspirations to become the senior vice president of events for the NFL and produce the Super Bowl, she encourages students to prepare for professional rejection, no matter how focused or accomplished they are while pursuing their degrees.

“Life after Rosen was eye opening,” Garcia said. “No matter how strategic your internships or how many hands you shake in college, there comes a time where you lose the ‘help me and hire me because I’m a student’ umbrella. My advice would be to prepare yourself for rejection because it makes it easier to power through. You learn the true value of resiliency and you become hungrier and hungrier to land the next interview.”

See original story on UCF Today.