Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – July 9, 2018

Photo of lab technician and medical equipment

1. Thanks to a donation from a Winter Park cancer patient’s family, UCF College of Medicine researchers now have machines that can isolate, photograph and count cancer cells from a single tube of blood. With the technology, scientists can see if the cancer cells are spreading from the original tumor and if new therapies are stopping the cells in their tracks.

2. The 2018 UCF Countdown to Kickoff Luncheon is set for Thursday, Aug. 16, at CFE Arena. The annual start to the fall season — as football, soccer, volleyball and cross country get under way — will feature first-year UCF head football coach Josh Heupel and first-year UCF President Dale Whittaker. Single tickets ($115) and corporate tables ($800) are still available, but in limited quantities. Find out more.

3. Last week we told you about the #HIsman campaign for UCF quarterback McKenzie Milton. Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel shared an interesting story about Milton’s friendship with another Heisman Trophy contender, fellow Hawaiian and Alabama quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa.

4. UCF men’s basketball coach Johnny Dawkins has a simple message for his team as it works toward another season with high expectations: Keep getting better every day in every way. The team is on campus for summer practices and the Orlando Sentinel dropped by for a chat with Tacko Fall, B.J. Taylor and the rest of crew about the upcoming year. Season tickets are now on sale through UCFKnights.com.

5. From trivia nights to baseball games to volunteer outings, UCF Alumni has several events lined up across the country through the month of July. View the events calendar to get involved in your area!

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!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—July 31

1. Roughly 3,700 UCF students are expected to join the alumni family when they graduate in two ceremonies Aug. 5 at the CFE Arena. Graduating members of the UCF Summer Class of 2017 can enter the UCF Alumni Instagram contest by posting a photo of their decorated grad cap to their Instagram account. Tag @UCFAlumni and use the hashtag #UCFGrad in the caption for a chance to win.

2. UCF and HCA Healthcare’s North Florida Division will start building a new hospital next to the College of Medicine in Lake Nona within 18 months. The state’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) gave the final certificate of need approval for a 100-bed medical and surgical hospital that officials hope will be open for patients by the end of 2020.

3. Save the date for a rare solar eclipse that will occur on the first day of fall classes, Aug. 21. The Planetary Sciences Group at UCF, the College of Sciences, and the student-run Astronomical Society will host a viewing party 2-3:30 p.m. in front of Millican Hall and the Reflecting Pond to mark the occasion.

4. Although the full 2017-18 men’s basketball schedule has not been released yet, fans can scope out a few dates that have been set against teams from the SEC and Big Ten. With the return of big man Tacko Fall and under the leadership of Johnny Dawkins, UCF has high expectations for the upcoming year. Fans looking to purchase new tickets can call (407) 823-1000 or click here: www.ucfknights.com/jointhefamily to secure them today.

5. If you want to convince your boss it’s cool to play video games at work, a UCF alumnus has found the proof to back you up. Michael Rupp ’09BA ’09BS ’12MS, a UCF doctoral student in human factors and cognitive psychology, and his co-authors evaluated whether casual video game play during rest breaks is an effective way to combat workplace stress. This Newsweek article discusses the team’s findings.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—May 30

1. Today we’re talking NCAA postseason for UCF Athletics – and there’s a lot to cover.

For the first time since 2012, the No. 22 UCF baseball team will be heading to an NCAA Regional tournament. The Knights will be the No. 2 seed in the Tallahassee Regional and will match up against No. 3 seed Auburn at noon on June 2.

For the ninth straight season, the UCF track and field program will be represented at the NCAA Championships after the 4×100 relay team was among the top 12 at the NCAA East Preliminary Round to advance to Eugene, Oregon. The NCAA Outdoor Championship takes place from June 7-10 at historic Hayward Field.

Two other teams wrapped up their seasons among the top 25 in the country over the weekend. The three-time American Athletic Conference champion rowing team posted its highest finish in program history, closing out the NCAA Championship in 18th place. Meanwhile, the men’s golf team finished in a tie for 14th at the NCAA Championship, marking the Knights’ best finish since 2009.

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.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Dec. 19


1. Although the football team didn’t get the result it wanted at the AutoNation Cure Bowl, the Orlando Sports Foundation and AutoNation combined to donate $1.15 million to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. UCF researcher Annette Khaled, PhD, and Dean of UCF’s College of Medicine Deborah German, MD, were on hand to support the cause.

P.S. We enjoyed seeing so many alumni and friends at our last tailgate of the season. We’re already counting down the days until 2017, but in the meantime, you can relive Saturday’s fun and tag yourself in this Facebook gallery.
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2. “There was no way I was going to miss his graduation. He changed my life.” – That’s original bionic kid Alex Pring, who surprised Limbitless Solutions founder Albert Manero as he walked across the stage at commencement on Saturday. Manero is now a three-time UCF alumnus after receiving his doctorate over the weekend. Twenty-nine other Limbitless members earned degrees among the nearly 5,400 Knights who graduated this December.

View: UCF 2016 Fall Graduation Exposure Gallery

3. Switching gears to basketball, both the men’s and women’s teams are off to great starts in their new eras. Senior guard Zykira Lewis became UCF’s record holder for all-time 3-pointers over the weekend. Everyone’s favorite big man Tacko Fall dropped a career-high 31 points on Sunday, and he’s still leading the nation in field goal percentage, converting an average of 83 percent of the shots he attempts. Both squads have home games this week and several over the holiday break. Check out their schedules: Men | Women (Helpful hint: ticket links are listed for each game).

4. We’d like to send a big congratulations to the Jonnie Morgan Band, named for its founder, UCF alumnus Jonnie Morgan ’10. The band won a national contest on Friday that featured judges Quincy Jones and Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness, and will get to record at legendary Village Studios in Los Angeles. Be on the lookout for a story this week on ucfalumnitoday.com about the band’s journey to victory.

5. UCF is coming for you, Naples! The next stop on the IGNITE Tour is headed to Florida’s west coast on Jan. 23. Register for this event and learn more about future stops on the tour by visiting ucfalumni.com/igniteucf.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Nov. 21

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1. Save the date for Giving Tuesday! A wonderful counterpoint to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday began five years ago as a grassroots initiative to remind us all of the true meaning of the holiday season. On Nov. 29, UCF will encourage donations of all sizes to support students in their greatest areas of need. Follow along via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or by using the hashtag #GivingTuesday.

2. It was a busy week for UCF Athletics, so here’s the breakdown:

      • Be proud of UCF student-athletes because they take care of business on and off the field. For the third year in a row, they boast the best graduation rate in nation among public universities.
      • In his first year as head coach, Scott Frost is as been named a national semifinalist for Coach of the Year. The list includes a field of 16 candidates, and the winner will be announced on Dec. 29.
      • Speaking of football coaches, UCF honored retired coach George O’Leary at the last home game of the season on Saturday, unveiling a statue and presenting him with a commemorative football on the field.
      • It’s rivalry week! The War on I-4 matchup against USF is set for noon Saturday on CBS Sports Network. The football trophy was revealed Sunday, and fans can view it first-hand and take pictures with it before Saturday’s game in the Bulls Zone, located near stadium Lot 6 outside of the south end zone. For those keeping tally at home, the Knights currently lead the Bulls, 15-9, for bragging rights in the year-long rivalry competition involving 14 sports. The winning university will take possession of the season-long trophy to display on its campus for the following year.

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  • UCF Men’s Basketball big man Tacko Fall was unstoppable against defending national champion and nationally ranked Villanova in the Gildan Charleston Classic Championship game Sunday night. Fall was selected to the All-Tournament Team after he tied the school record for field goal percentage in a game, sinking all 10 of his shot attempts – by the way, the record was last set in 1980 – to finish with 20 points and 13 rebounds.

3. The Knights Helping Knights Pantry expanded its services to include rentable blazers. The blazer-rental service joins other clothing resources offered at KHK Pantry. Students also can pick out to keep five donated business attire items and enough donated casual attire items to meet their need. For those interested in donating food, toiletries or clothing, donations can be dropped off at the Pantry in Ferrell Commons or at donation boxes located around campus.

4. Happy 40th Anniversary, School of Public Administration! On Nov. 14, both Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer proclaimed it “UCF School of Public Administration Day.” Throughout the past 40 years, the School of Public Administration has produced multiple generations of public service professionals. Read more about this wonderful program here.

5. Knights have been making headlines recently in the Orlando Sentinel:

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — June 29, 2015

A sea turtle builds its nest on Juno Beach, Fla. (Photo: Florida Wildlife Commission)
A sea turtle builds its nest on Juno Beach, Fla. (Photo: Florida Wildlife Commission)

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. Orlando Magazine named its 2015 Most-Powerful List, which includes many UCF leaders and alumni.
  2. Last Tuesday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott vetoed nearly $500 million from the state budget, which included funds for several UCF projects, like UCF Downtown.
  3. On Wednesday, July 1, the Palm Beach UCF Alumni Chapter will head to Juno Beach for Turtle Walk, a unique program that allows Knights to learn about and observe the nesting and egg-laying process of sea turtles.
  4. After the news of UCF AD Todd Stansbury’s plans to return to Oregon State, President John Hitt announced last week that George O’Leary will serve as interim director of athletics, while also continuing to coach the 2015 football season.
  5. One of the world’s 60 tallest people and new UCF Basketball player, 7-foot-6-inch Tacko Fall, attended freshman orientation on Thursday. We can’t wait to see him in action!