1. A mural was painted in the heart of campus as a tribute to two Knights who died at Pulse Nightclub in honor of the one-year anniversary of the tragedy. It was designed by artists Michael Pilato and Yuriy Karabash and features UCF student Juan Ramon Guerrero and two-time alumnus Christopher Andrew “Drew” Leinonen.
2. Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook and author of the bestseller “Lean In,” will be on campus June 27 at 7:30 p.m. to take part in a conversation with alumnus George A. Kalogridis, president of the Walt Disney World Resort. Tickets for the event are available through Eventbrite.com, and in addition to a guaranteed seat, all ticket holders will also receive an autographed version of Sandberg’s new book, “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy.”
3. You may have heard that tickets to TEDx Orlando – featuring two Knights – are SOLD OUT, but we’ve got you covered. If you didn’t claim a ticket to this coveted event, join us for a LIVE simulcast of TEDx Orlando at the Pop Parlour UCF location on June 24 at 2 p.m. RSVP here.
4. It was a record-setting year in fund-raising for UCF Athletics as the Knights have received more than $10 million in cash gift revenues from fund-raising in the 2016-17 fiscal year and strive to reach $10.5 million by the end of June. Learn more.
5. Here’s a heartwarming story just in time for Father’s Day. Yina Wu ’14 and her husband, fellow UCF doctoral student Qing Cai, thanked UCF engineer professor Mohamed Abdel-Aty for his role in the start of their relationship by naming their son after him. Abdel-Aty said he was surprised and honored that the 3-month-old was named after him, and a picture of the baby and himself sits on his desk alongside one of Cai and Wu’s wedding.
1. In case you missed it, kickoff times have been announced for three of UCF’s first four home football games of the 2017 season. Some good news that will beat the heat – they’re all night games. Full details can be found on UCFKnights.com.
2. As part of “UCF Remembers” on June 8 for the Pulse anniversary, a fleet of Big Red Blood Buses will be at UCF’s Veteran’s Commemorative Site from 2 to 8 p.m. and are currently accepting appointments. Free parking will be available in garages H and I. Register to donate blood by visiting: https://admfin.ucf.edu/blooddrives/special-event/
4. UCF Theatre’s summer production of “The Lion in Winter” opens June 8 at 7:30 p.m. Performances are scheduled through June 18. Purchase tickets at theatre.cah.ucf.edu.
5. A UCF trio that included alumnus Josh Linge ’14 ’16MS rose to the top at a national computer programming competition. In addition to the team’s national title, the group finished 13th in the world out of more than 12,000 entries. Linge’s next stop: Facebook’s Seattle office.
2. In case you missed it, big news from everyone’s favorite big man, Tacko Fall, who chose to forego this year’s NBA Draft and return to UCF for his junior season in 2017-18. Read his heartfelt letter to fans about his decision.
3. As the Orlando community prepares for the one-year mark of the Pulse tragedy, UCF has several events scheduled to honor and remember the 49 lives taken on June 12, 2016. The public is encouraged to come together at blood drive, remembrance ceremony and art exhibit all scheduled to take place on campus June 8.
4. After graduating May 6 with her bachelor’s degree in political science, Burnett Honors College alumna Rebecca Fate almost aced the LSAT and is headed to Harvard. And how sweet is this – she credits an elementary school teacher for her success. Good luck Rebecca, and we expect to see you sporting black and gold around Harvard Yard!
5. UCF’s rise to national prominence under the direction of President John C. Hitt is featured in the latest edition of Florida Trend magazine, which hit stands over the weekend. “Strength in Numbers” is the cover story in the June edition that focuses on higher education in the state.
1. If you’re dragging because of Daylight Savings Time, we’ve got some news that should provide the jolt you need. The UCF men’s basketball team is back in postseason play for the first time in five years, and better yet, the Black and Gold will be back in action at CFE Arena this Wednesday. The Knights (21-11) will participate in the National Invitation Tournament for the second time ever when they host fifth seeded Colorado (19-14) Wednesday at 7 p.m. with coverage on ESPN3 and FM 96.9 The Game.
Tickets to Wednesday’s game are available now on UCFKnights.com. Season ticket holders can login to their account and purchase tickets by clicking here. Tickets for the general public can be purchased by clicking here.
2. A UCF police officer is being called a hero after helping save the life of a university employee who was choking last week. Alumna Julie Wilk, who graduated with a criminal justice degree in 2006 and has been with the department since 2011, performed the Heimlich maneuver to help the woman cough up what she was choking on. We salute you, Officer Wilk!
3. A UCF librarian, who serves as president of UCF’s Pride Faculty and Staff Association, is looking to photograph people with Pulse-themed tattoos for an exhibit that will be featured at the UCF Art Gallery in June. Carrie Moran and current Ph.D. student David Moran ’14 will be working on the project together. Got a Pulse-tribute tattoo or know someone who does? Then, you’ll want to click this.
4. Academy Award-winning actress and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Mira Sorvino will speak at UCF on March 23 about combating human trafficking. The event is at 3 p.m. in the Student Union’s Pegasus Ballroom and is free and open to the public.
5. The UCF Alumni e-newsletter is heading to your inbox today for your reading pleasure! Make sure you check it out for all the latest news.
ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 22, 2016) – Chris Johncke, ’08, founder and CEO of iFixYouri, attributes his success in life to the laws of attraction: If you exude positivity, positivity you shall receive.
It’s how the UCF alumnus credits building his company from a Craigslist ad to a 15-store-and-counting enterprise – one that has grown so much it is now the official device repair shop of the Boston Red Sox.
“Who would think that fixing phones would get you tied in doing business with the Red Sox?” Johncke said. “It’s an honor and a testament to hard work. If you put forth hard work, you’re going to get great results. If you’re going to put out positive energy, positive things are going to come back to you.”
Johncke did not set out to create a burgeoning technology business. iFixYouri is a result of a Plan B.
After graduating from UCF with a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology, Johncke started working for a tech company in Lake Mary. When the economy dipped, Johncke was laid off.
The South Florida native moved back to the Palm Beach area and lived with his sister Michelle while he job hunted. To supplement his unemployment checks, he advertised computer repair on Craigslist.
He stumbled into the phone repair business out of necessity. When his own cell phone screen shattered, he figured out how to fix it on his own to save himself Apple’s repair fee.
When his friend asked him to fix her phone, too, Johncke updated his Craigslist ad and started driving around Palm Beach to work on customers’ devices with supplies he stashed in the trunk of his car.
“I always had an entrepreneur’s mindset. I always wanted to own my own business,” Johncke said. “You never know how things are going to pan out, but if you tell yourself something enough, you eventually figure out your path.”
Johncke’s business has now blossomed to more than a dozen stores and a mail-in center in the Palm Beach, Central Florida and Boston-area regions. With half of their stores in Central Florida, including one across from UCF’s main campus, they currently employ roughly a dozen UCF alumni or students in addition to students from Valencia College and Seminole State College.
“We pride ourselves in being a business that’s been founded by Knights,” he said.
His sister, Michelle Zausnig, ’03, an advertising/public relations alumna, joined the team in 2011. She described a feeling of similarity in iFixYouri’s growth with that of UCF’s rise in notoriety.
“When I started, nobody really knew who UCF was. Over the years, UCF became such a big thing,” she said. “It’s the same thing when I talk about the company we have here. Chris started from the back of his car and … it’s been nonstop, explosive growth throughout the years. It carries that same sense of pride that I had seeing UCF grow so much.”
Johncke and his team are loyal to their roots. It’s important to them that the company maintains a close-knit feel within the local community.
That’s why Johncke whole heartedly agreed to have a Pulse tribute mural painted on the side of the Mills 50 District store on the corner of Colonial Drive and Mills Avenue.
“I gave them free reign to put whatever on the building. [Artist Andrew Spear and Mills 50 executive director Joanne Grant] came up with a great concept, and the feedback from the community has been amazing,” he said. “Being that’s such a highly trafficked intersection in the Orlando area, it spreads a lot of care and love. It’s something for not only iFixYouri, but for everyone that lives in Orlando. It’s something they can be proud of.”
Johncke’s love for the city seems to go hand in hand with his feelings about his alma mater.
“What UCF gave to me was an education that was second-to-none. I was able to learn who I am and what I want to do,” he said. “Some of my best friends that I have to this day are UCF Knights. It wouldn’t have been possible to get on this track right now had it not been for all the resources that UCF was able to provide for me.”