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.”

Then & Now: Eight Ways UCF Has Changed in 25 Years with President Hitt

The 1992 comedy “Wayne’s World” summed it best: “Party Time! Excellent!” On March 1, we’ll be commemorating the man, the myth, the legend that is President John C. Hitt, who will celebrate his 25th anniversary at UCF.

When Hitt first accepted the job in 1992, UCF’s enrollment was 21,267 (In 2017 we’re at 64,318) and just five of the current 12 colleges on campus existed. As we take a look back over the last 25 years, here are some events and moments that captured the headlines in 1992 and how they relate to life at UCF today.

 

1. We Want Ducks!
In 1992, a cargo ship container tumbled into the North Pacific, dumping 28,000 rubber ducks that were headed from China to the U.S. We can neither confirm nor deny that some of these ducks have been spotted at Spirit Splash. One of the nation’s best campus traditions celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2015.

2. Baby Bortles
On April 28, 1992, Rob and Suzy Bortles brought their son Blake into the world. Years later, after guiding the Knights to their best season in history – largely in the on-campus stadium that President Hitt had built – and a BCS Championship, the highest drafted football player in UCF history is suiting up for the Jacksonville Jaguars every Sunday in the fall.

3. Up In Smoke
Remember when smoking was a thing? In 1992, the first prescription nicotine patch went on sale. In April 2012, President Hitt announced that UCF would become a smoke-free campus by that August.

4. Happiest Place on Earth
Our neighbors Mickey and Minnie unveiled Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom in October 1992. Twenty-three years later, Knights football players, coaches, band members, cheerleaders, fans and the main man himself, President Hitt, flooded the park to celebrate UCF’s BCS Fiesta Bowl win in a one-of-a-kind parade down Main Street – and of course take a ride down the 56-foot drop.

5. Skate Culture
Longboards are almost as prevalent at UCF as flip flops and tank tops. While you’re gliding through Memory Mall on your skateboard during a class break, think about this: The OG skateboarder Tony Hawk opened his own company, Birdhouse Skateboards, in 1992.

6. We Salute You
A Few Good Men – YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH – was one of the most popular films of 1992 and nominated for four Oscars that year, including Best Picture. UCF has a few good men and women of their own in the ROTC program, whose building was dedicated by President Hitt in 2013.

7. Not Just A Dream, But Reality
In 1992, the Dream Team was the biggest story of the Barcelona Summer Olympics. Fast forward to 2016 and UCF’s own Dream Team of Olympians participated at the Rio Games in August. If you want to talk about the remarkable things Knights can do, check this out – In university history, seven former Knights have participated at the Olympics, and four of them were involved in Rio.

8. Big-Time Gamers
We have one word for you: Kirby. That loveable pink orbed character first appeared in Kirby’s Dream Land for Game Boy in 1992. In the years since, the video game industry has exploded – even right here at UCF.

In 2005, the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, UCF’s graduate game-design program, held its first class of 12 students. Today, it is ranked as the best grad game design program in the world by the Princeton Review. And following the ideology of President Hitt to “dream big,” by 2019, FIEA will become a part of UCF’s new downtown campus, which will bring more than 7,000 students to help grow the Orlando gaming, film and digital media economies.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Oct 17

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1. All hail, UCF’s newest royalty! Kevin Louidor and Sabrina Jérôme were named Homecoming King and Queen on Saturday. Jérôme is a regional and cultural studies/political science senior and is a member of the President’s Leadership Council. She aspires to attend law school and eventually serve as a social justice advocate for immigrant populations. Louidor is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi and a health service administration junior.

2. Knights Give Back, UCF’s annual day of volunteer service to the community, will celebrate a decade of commitment this week. Through the years, volunteers have provided about $600,000 in services to the community. To see all the opportunities and register for the event on Oct. 22, click here.

3. There were a couple of honorary UCF spirit team members at the football game Saturday from Limbitless Solutions. “Ironman kid” Alex Pring and fellow Limbitless kid Annika Emmert helped lead the March to Victory to the stadium before taking part in the Black and Gold cheer during a timeout on the field. The Limbitless team, led by two-time alumnus and current doctoral student Albert Manero, was invited to be recognized at the game for their revolutionary work in bionic engineering.

4. U.S. Senator Marco Rubio and U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy will have a one-hour debate on Oct. 17 at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center – the on-campus home for all UCF alumni. The debate will be simulcast live on ABC affiliates throughout the state, as well as Cox Media Group radio stations. A livestream will be available online.

5. Fans now have a chance to own UCF’s special edition reflecting helmets from its Homecoming matchup against Temple. A limited number of the helmets, which feature special reflective decals that pay homage to Spirit Splash, are now up for auction on UCFKnights.com. A select number are autographed by head coach Scott Frost.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Oct. 10, 2016

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IT’S HOMECOMING WEEK!

1. We’re kicking off Homecoming Week with a special Black-and-Gold-spirited edition of Five Things. Fun fact: This year is the 45th anniversary of Homecoming at UCF, which started in 1971. It originally was held to coincide with basketball season, which was the university’s first varsity sport.

2. This year’s theme is “Celebrate The Knight.” Alumni looking to attend Concert Knight (Ludacris, Ty Dolla $ign) or Comedy Knight (Nick Swardson) can purchase discounted tickets to these events at the CFE Arena box office or on Ticketmaster. Use the code “HC2016” to receive $5 off the regularly priced $25 tickets.

3. Spirit Splash, one of the most unique campus traditions in the nation, will go down at the Reflecting Pond from noon-2 p.m. Friday – the actual splash is expected to commence at 1 p.m.

4. UCF Alumni’s annual golf tournament and the Black & Gold Takeover will also take place on Friday. Connect with fellow AlumKnights as we start the fun-filled weekend early. Find out more information about these events, including how to register, here.

5. It all leads to Saturday – UCF football’s matchup against Temple under the lights at Bright House Networks Stadium. History is on the Knights’ side as the football team holds a 25-11 mark on Homecoming. The UCF Alumni Indoor Tailgate will start at 4:30 p.m., and #UCFansWear any color – black and gold approved, of course – for the game. You can also check out the UCF Tailgate Concert Series prior to kickoff where Better Than Ezra will be playing.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Oct. 19, 2015

(PHOTO: Steven Diaz)
Homecoming fireworks will light up the sky over campus Friday night.
(PHOTO: Steven Diaz)

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. It’s time to “Come Together” and celebrate Homecoming 2015! There are plenty of activities to attend this week, including the family-friendly Kidz Carnival, Movie Knight and fireworks, in addition to all of our great alumni events. Plus, this year, for the first time, you can watch Spirit Splash live!
  2. Fewer UCF alumni give back to their alma mater than those at UF and USF. A Homecoming week campaign is hoping to change that! Stay tuned to your email and social media accounts for some inspirational videos, and let’s show those other universities who has the most alumni pride! Are you ready?
  3. Besides all of the Homecoming fun this week holds, the UCF College of Sciences will also host an important discussion on “Examining Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” presented by Deborah Beidel, Pegasus Professor of Psychology and Medical Evaluation, as part of its Distinguished Speaker Series.
  4. The UCF College of Medicine and Hospital Corporation of America are expanding their partnership to create more than 550 residency slots in hospitals across northern Florida, including communities in Orlando, Gainesville and Ocala.
  5. Did you know that UCF produces more graduates who get jobs with aerospace and defense companies than any other university in the nation? It’s true!

Knights to Remember 2014

A few of our favorite stories from the past year

Rob Brunjes, '11, proposed to Michele McGlamory, '10, on a brick at the Knights Terrace.
Rob Brunjes, ’11, kneeled beside the brick he purchased on the Knights Terrace to propose to his longtime girlfriend Michele McGlamory, ’10, on Nov. 21.

By Angie Lewis, ’03

As we prepare to bid farewell to 2014, we can’t help but reflect on all of the great UCF stories that have been shared over the last 12 months. Celebrating a new year with a BCS bowl win, welcoming more than 16,000 new alumni over three semesters of graduation ceremonies, getting to know an inspirational teacher, helping a little boy get a “robo-arm” and witnessing a Knights marriage proposal are enough to run the emotional gamete on their own. But, we’ve got more!

Here are our top 10 favorite stories of 2014:

10. Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
On Jan. 1, 2014, our Knights won their first-ever BCS bowl after defeating Baylor 52-42 in Glendale, Ariz. (Seems like a fitting story for our list of favorites, as our Knights play in their third-consecutive bowl, facing N.C. State in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl on Dec. 26, after celebrating back-to-back AAC championships. Go Knights! Charge On!)

9. Graduation
The UCF Alumni Association welcomed more than 5,000 new alumni during fall 2014 commencement ceremonies held Dec. 12-13. With these graduations, UCF has awarded more than 271,000 degrees since classes began in 1968. In total, the alumni association welcomed more than 16,000 new alumni in 2014, including spring and summer graduations.

8. The Origins of Pegasus Magazine
In 2014, Pegasus Magazine celebrated its 20th year in production. The inaugural issue in July 1994 was printed and mailed to 59,861 alumni. Today, the award-winning publication is sent to more than 205,000 (addressable) alumni. Pegasus was created by Tom Messina, ’84, along with fellow Knights Mike Hinn, ’92, and Jim Hobart, ’91.

7. Little Legacy
Marlie Kai Dodson dreamed of being a UCF Cheerleader and attending the College of Nursing. However, pediatric brain cancer claimed her life on Dec. 31, 2011, leaving behind a little legacy that would make a big impact. Thankful for the nurses who cared so much for her daughter, Marlie’s mom, Sarah Dodson, ’01, along with her family of other UCF Knights, established the Marlie Kai Dodson Endowed UCF Oncology Nursing Scholarship, which was awarded this year for the first time.

6. 180 Degrees
Although Jill Schenk, ’90, was an “American Gladiators” contestant, her spirit wasn’t as strong as her body. After struggling with addiction and attempting suicide, she was finally able to learn how to love herself, and now inspires her students as a teacher at San Diego High School.

5. Homecoming Highlights
Homecoming 2014 proved to be another exciting week of alumni and student events, including the Black & Gold Gala, Spirit Splash, Black & Gold Takeover, Golf Tournament, Indoor Tailgate, CECS BBQ/Reunion, and a repeat victory against Temple!

4. Magazine Names UCF Leaders, Alumni to Orlando’s Most-Powerful List
Five UCF leaders and several alumni were named to Orlando magazine’s 2014 list of the region’s 50 most powerful people.

3. Orlando’s University
UCF’s new downtown Orlando campus is in the works, and will be a “game changer” for the university, according to its top supporter, UCF President John Hitt.

2. Kid-Approved
Six-year-old Alex Pring received a new prosthetic arm, thanks to e-NABLE, an international organization that connects families with inventors and 3-D printer enthusiasts creating solutions for children with special needs. That’s where his mom, Alyson, met Albert Manero, ’12, an e-NABLE volunteer who would change their lives forever.

1. Proposal Knight
Having a brick engraved with “Marry Me?” was how Rob Brunjes, ’11, decided to propose to his longtime girlfriend, Michele McGlamory, ’10. Now, the Knights Terrace outside the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center will always hold a special place in their hearts.

We hope you enjoyed our favorites as much as we did. Here’s to bigger and better stories in 2015!

With Knight Pride,
Your UCF Alumni Association Staff

Homecoming Highlights 2014

Alumni and students celebrated another awesome week of Homecoming activities

More than 1,000 students ...
More than 1,000 students stormed the Reflecting Pond, hoping to catch one of this year’s Homecoming-themed rubber ducks at tradition-favorite, Spirit Splash. Homecoming is the only time of the year students are allowed in the pond. (PHOTO: Brandon Chestnut)

By Angie Lewis, ’03

Homecoming 2014 was the best yet!

On Thursday night, the UCF Alumni Association hosted its annual Black & Gold Gala, an awards ceremony honoring alumni who “Reach for the Stars.” (Check out the Alumni Awards page for more info about all of this year’s recipients.) Knights, dressed in their best black and gold, sipped cocktails, nibbled on passed hors d’oeuvres and bid on silent auction items, raising more than $22,000 for student scholarships. As attendees entered the CFE Arena for dinner and the awards presentation, the room sparkled with shiny gold chairs, black and gold tablecloths, and golden candlelight. The evening was emceed by Central Florida News 13 Anchor Ybeth Bruzual, ’05, who brought her fun energy and spirit to the festivities.  Overall, it was a perfect Knight!

Friday morning, alumni hit the links at ChampionsGate Golf Club for the annual Homecoming Golf Tournament, where Knightro made a special appearance to get some help with his putting game. That afternoon, students jammed to live music and got fired up for the big game, with the help of UCF football players, cheerleaders and dancers, as well as members of the Homecoming Court, before jumping into the Reflecting Pond for Spirit Splash. And, later that night, the Young Alumni Chapter hosted its annual Black & Gold Takeover at Ember in downtown Orlando, where Knights relaxed and reminisced before the next day’s match up against the Owls.

On Saturday afternoon, the UCF Alumni Association hosted a very busy Indoor Tailgate party, while the College of Engineering and Computer Science Alumni Chapter hosted a Homecoming barbecue and reunion tent party on the lawn of the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center. To top it all off, UCF beat Temple 34-14 in a Homecoming victory!

Check out all of the photo galleries:

We don’t know about you, but we can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Go Knights! Charge On!