Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Dec. 5

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 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. knightro-santa


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.

Alumni Association Hosts UCF Downtown Forum


By Angie Lewis, ’03

Fred Kittinger, ’80, associate vice president for University Relations and director of state and local government affairs for UCF, spoke with fellow Knights about the continued plans for the UCF Downtown project during an open forum held at the UCF Executive Development Center on May 11.

Kittinger, who’s a member of the project’s steering committee and executive council, among other teams, began the presentation with a video:

Inspired by a visit to the downtown Phoenix campus of the nation’s largest university, Arizona State, UCF President John Hitt envisioned a similar downtown presence for the nation’s second-largest university.

Kittinger cited that 75,000 people work and 15,000 people live in downtown Orlando. He also mentioned Central Florida’s addition of the SunRail commuter train and planned I-4 expansion. “When people ask, why downtown Orlando? I say, why not downtown Orlando?” he said.

The new campus will include countless opportunities for students within a 15-minute walk radius, much like on the main campus. In six to eight years, Kittinger said it will host 10,000-13,000 students. He added that 60 percent of colleges and universities in the U.S. have less than 13,000 students, and reinforced that UCF Downtown will be a full campus, not a satellite or branch campus.

As part of the project, America’s Leading Partnership University will also partner with Valencia College, helping to make it more accessible — especially to Parramore residents and their children, who will see a new K-8 school built in their neighborhood in the next few years.

Kittinger’s colleague Paul Lartonoix, assistant vice provost at UCF, explained more about the project’s committees and how the 170 members cross-collaborate. He also discussed the academic programs proposed for the campus, including those in the School of Visuals Art and Design, Nicholson School of Communication and College of Health and Public Affairs. With the current timeline, he said the plan is to begin building in July 2016, and open in July 2017. (All of this, of course, is dependent on funding.)

Former UCF Student Government Association President Mike Kilbride, ’12, talked about the look and feel of the downtown campus, showing examples with photos of the Institute of Design at Stanford and other functionally diverse university spaces.

The trio then fielded questions from alumni, who asked whether or not transportation will be provided between the main campus and downtown (it will), if parking will be an issue (it won’t), and how they’re addressing safety (UCF Police, the Orlando Police Department and Valencia Police are working together to ensure students’ safety).

Learn more about the plans for UCF Downtown.