Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Jan. 4, 2016

student-therapy-dog-Nemours
(From No. 5 below:) Palmer Vorkapich, a 6-year-old patient at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, lights up during a visit from Ion, a therapy dog owned by UCF College of Medicine student Christa Zino.

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. Knights had much to be proud of last year! Check out just a few of them in this list from UCF Today of the “15 Moments that Made Your Heart Burst with Knight Pride in 2015.”
  2. With $20 million needed in community support for the UCF Downtown campus, alumnus and CEO Alex Martins, ’01, and the Orlando Magic stepped up, contributing $1.5 million toward the project. And, just this morning, it was announced that the CFE Federal Credit Union has committed its own $1.5 million. Keep up with all the latest developments on the UCF Downtown campus at ucf.edu/downtown.
  3. UCF economist Sean Snaith says Florida’s economic future is merry and bright, with the state’s housing market continuing to improve, and job growth forecasted to continue to outperform the U.S. labor market.
  4. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected a UCF team to receive a P3 Award — a first in UCF history — which recognizes student projects that benefit people, promote prosperity and protect the planet by using environmental solutions that move the nation toward a sustainable future. The winning project focuses on ways to make algae biofuel easier and less expensive to produce.
  5. To help cheer up patients at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, UCF second-year medical student Christa Zino regularly brings her therapy dog, a 2-year-old boxer named Ion, for visits.

Alumni Honored as “Everyday Heroes”

Last year, Nancy Ellis, '07 (left), and Sarah Goldman, '14 (right), were selected as Everyday Heroes by News 13  and Bright House Networks. On March 19, the two Knights were invited to a special Salute to Everyday Heroes luncheon,  recognizing all of the 2014 honorees. (Photo: News 13)
Last year, Nancy Ellis, ’07 (left), and Sarah Goldman, ’14 (right), were selected as Everyday Heroes by News 13 and
Bright House Networks. On March 19, the two Knights were invited to a special Salute to Everyday Heroes luncheon,
 recognizing all of the 2014 honorees.
(Photo: News 13)

Two UCF alumnae were honored at a special Salute to Everyday Heroes luncheon on March 19, 2015. Nancy Ellis, ’07, and Sarah Goldman, ’14, were among those who have made a difference in their Central Florida communities. Last year, both were featured on News 13’s Everyday Heroes segment, which airs on Mondays.

Ellis, the director for the Center for Community Partnerships in the UCF College of Health and Public Affairs, helped to create The Hub, a center at the Evans Community School that includes after-school tutoring, a career center and a health clinic that will benefit the entire community.

Goldman, who has cerebral palsy, is proving people wrong, working as an advocate for the disabled. While she was still a student at UCF, she launched the Student Advocates Reaching for Awareness and Hope Project, also known as the S.A.R.A.H. Project, on Facebook, dedicated to educating people about disability rights.

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Everyday Hero: Nancy Ellis
Everyday Hero: Sarah Goldman

Sponsor Spotlight: FAIRWINDS Credit Union

Thanks to a $1.2 million gift from FAIRWINDS Credit Union, in 2005, the UCF Alumni Association finally established its permanent home on campus. It was a friendship between fellow Knights Tom Messina, ’84, executive director of the UCF Alumni Association; Mike Hinn, ’92, former alumni board member; and Dianne Owen, ’93, ’97, executive vice president of marketing for FAIRWINDS Credit Union, that built the foundation of this special partnership, which provided UCF alumni their own place on campus to attend and host events.

UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center
The UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center opened in the fall of 2005.

As the official student banking provider of the university, FAIRWINDS’ on-campus reach extends beyond the alumni association. So, we sat down with Dianne, who is also the immediate past chair of the association’s board of directors, to find out more about this important partnership.

Q. Why did FAIRWINDS Credit Union choose to partner with the UCF Alumni Association?
A. The bigger question to ask is why wouldn’t FAIRWINDS partner with the UCF Alumni Association? UCF is a critical part of the foundation of the Central Florida community. The university is committed to building a better community for us all, not just for Knights. FAIRWINDS shares that same philosophy. As the largest Central Florida-based financial institution, FAIRWINDS is committed to serving the members of our community. UCF alumni make up a significant portion of that population, with so many UCF graduates remaining in Central Florida. We realize the impact that UCF alumni have on our local economy, and we want to be there to serve their financial needs and help improve their financial well-being.

Q. How many alumni are employed by FAIRWINDS Credit Union?
A. Approximately 22 percent of our employees are UCF alumni, with even more currently attending UCF. More specifically, FAIRWINDS’ eight-member Executive Management Team consists of seven UCF alumni. As a team, we really do bleed black and gold!

Q. How has FAIRWINDS benefited since partnering with the UCF Alumni Association?
A. Partnering with the UCF Alumni Association has afforded us exposure to a large influential group of graduates responsible for shaping our Central Florida community. The alumni association is a strong and relevant network of “movers and shakers.” Our partnership has afforded us numerous opportunities to interact and put our name and our mission in front of this successful group. Additionally, the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center alone, with its numerous events, has provided significant brand exposure for us as well.

Q. How does FAIRWINDS contribute to the UCF Alumni Association?
A. In 2001, FAIRWINDS committed $1 million to the UCF Alumni Association to help build an alumni center on campus, now known as the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center. We continued with this commitment beyond its original term due to the mutually beneficial relationship we have fostered with the alumni association. FAIRWINDS has also committed human resources. President and CEO, Larry Tobin ’83, served on the UCF Foundation Board of Directors for six years, and I have served on the UCF Alumni Association Board of Directors for 12 years, which includes serving as immediate past chair.

Q. How is FAIRWINDS involved with UCF Homecoming?
A. FAIRWINDS and its crewmembers always take an active role in Homecoming. From the golf tournament and football game to the Black & Gold Gala, FAIRWINDS crew will be there. And, for the past couple of years, and again this year, FAIRWINDS sponsors the UCF Alumni Homecoming Suite Sweepstakes. All alumni are invited for their chance to win the FAIRWINDS Suite at Bright House Networks Stadium for the Homecoming game. Watch your email for this year’s sweepstakes!

Q. Are there any other points you’d like to share about the partnership?
A. Financial literacy and improving our members’ financial well-being is at the heart of what FAIRWINDS represents. We are excited to work with UCF alumni to achieve this goal, and we are equally excited to be able to work with UCF students prior to graduating. As the UCF Student Banking Partner, it provides us with the opportunity to get students on the right path to financial success upon becoming proud UCF alumni.