Shining Knights Honored

From left to right: President John C. Hitt, Michael Manglardi ’84, Michael Corey H’17, Loretta Corey H’17, Carey Sobel ’09, Julie C. Stroh, Michael Morsberger

By Jenna Marina Lee

ORLANDO, Fla. (Oct. 13, 2017) – Four individuals were recognized for their outstanding service and philanthropy at the Shining Knights Alumni Awards held at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center on Oct. 13.

The Shining Knights Alumni Awards is a program that highlights UCF Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving’s three major awards: Young Alumni Award; John C. and Martha Hitt Honorary Alumni Award; and Distinguished Alumni Award. It was implemented in 2017 in place of the now retired Black and Gold Gala.

This year’s honorees are:
• Carey Sobel ’09, Young Alumni Award
• Loretta Corey H’17 and Michael Corey H’17, Honorary Alumni Award
• Michael Manglardi ’84, Distinguished Alumni Award

“We are proud of this incredible and faithful group of UCF supporters,” said Julie C. Stroh, senior associate vice president for Advancement, Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving. “They all have given back to the UCF community with their time, talent and treasure. On behalf of UCF Alumni, it is our honor to thank them for their service and for representing the best of UCF as our inaugural Shining Knights.”

Carey Sobel ’09 was selected as the first recipient of the Young Alumni Award. A management graduate of the College of Business Administration, Sobel was a member of the 2017 30 Under 30 class. He has started eight different businesses in Central Florida, ranging from hospitality, marketing, entertainment and real estate/brokerage, all before the age of 30.

He currently serves as partner and chief strategy officer for Three21, a full-service digital marketing company that has grown into a multi-million dollar, award winning agency. The firm employs many UCF alumni, and offers internships to UCF, Valencia and Full Sail students. Sobel is also a partner at Boss Group International, a business brokerage firm where he helps people buy and sell businesses.

An avid UCF fan and supporter, he is a board member of the Young Alumni Council and the UCF College of Business Alumni Chapter, actively participates in speaking engagements for students, and is also involved in the College of Business mentorship program.

Loretta Corey H’17 and Michael Corey H’17 were given the John C. and Martha Hitt Honorary Alumni Award. The Coreys are parents of three UCF graduates and have been longtime supporters of UCF. They have traveled all over the United States and as far as Dublin to cheer on the Knights, and they maintain a box at Spectrum Stadium where their family can gather every home football game.

They are as equally invested in the importance of education. In addition to their major gift commitment to the Everyday Champions program, which provides scholarships for student-athletes, they recently contributed to the new downtown campus.

Loretta is also the founding co-chair of the UCF Parent and Family Philanthropy Council and serves on the UCF Foundation Board.

Michael Manglardi ’84, a political science graduate from the College of Sciences, was recognized with the highest honor given to a UCF graduate, the Distinguished Alumni Award. The award has been given annually since 1979.

Manglardi is a former chair of the UCF Alumni Board and member of the Golden Knights Club Board of Directors, and is emeritus director of the UCF Foundation Board. Two of his sons and four of his nieces and nephews have all graduated from UCF, and his son Jonathan is currently pursuing his degree.

Manglardi, who has built a successful law career in Central Florida, has offered UCF students internships and job shadowing experiences, spoken for LEAD Scholars and UCF Commencement, and has contributed annually since 1988.

He has previously received the Service to UCF Award in 2004 and the Jefferson Award’s Lifetime of Service in 2010, which recognizes outstanding public service by alumni to the organization and the community.

UCF Advancement senior leadership vetted candidates during the summer, and the UCF Alumni Board voted to confirm the selected honorees.

Five Things Alumni Should Know About 2017 UCF Football Season

1. Start planning ahead for your gameday attire. UCF’s opener against FIU on Aug. 31 is a white-out, and this game-by-game breakdown of #UCFansWear will help you and your tailgating buddies to show up on point throughout the season.

2. It’s going to be a fun 33 hours for fans with the UCF Football Countdown to Kickoff Luncheon (Aug. 18) and Fan Fest (Aug. 19). This year’s kickoff luncheon boasts featured speaker Hall of Famer Tom Osborne in addition to Knights head coach Scott Frost. Fans can also buy into a special dinner with the two coaches on Aug. 17 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Orlando East-UCF. If interested, contact the Golden Knights Club office at 407.823.2086 or [email protected]

Fan fest will take place from 6-8 p.m. Aug. 19 at Spectrum Stadium. It’s your chance for autographs, photos on the field and meet and greets with the team!

3. UCF Alumni’s Indoor Tailgates are held at the FAIRWINDS Alumni Center, adjacent to Memory Mall, starting three hours before kickoff of every home game. The family friendly Indoor Tailgates are FREE for all UCF alumni and guests. Just show your alumni key card and driver’s license at the door.
**For UCF’s seven regular season home games, tailgating on Memory Mall and in most other areas of campus will start six hours prior to kickoff – but no earlier than 8 a.m.

4. If you can’t make it to the game, then finding a UCF Watch Party in your city is the next best thing. Bookmark this webpage and visit it each week for the most up-to-date information about our official chapter and club watch parties around the country.

5. It’s still not too late to get tickets. Fans can explore all of the new options at Spectrum Stadium by visiting WeRiseandConquer.com or calling (407) 823-1000.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Jan. 30

Courtesy of UCF Athletics

1. If you’re on the edge of your seat awaiting the news of this year’s football recruiting class, an official signing day party will be held at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center on National Signing Day this Wednesday from 6-8 p.m. It’s free, but you must RSVP to attend. #RiseandConquer

2. “He’s my best friend and he’s always got my back, but he would also lay down his life for me and other officers.” Those words are by UCF Police Department’s Matt Scott ’07 ’11MS, who was featured in the Orlando Sentinel along his partner Justice late last week. It’s worth the read.

3. How about a little love for Lake Claire. One of UCF’s founding families was recently recognized in a special ceremony that unveiled the recreation area has been renamed the William E. Davis and Mary Jo Davis Recreation Area at Lake Claire.

4. Some big news came out of UCF Athletics regarding investment in a nutrition program and upgraded facilities. Gift commitments have surpassed the $2 million mark in fund-raising for expansion of the football operations center and construction of a headquarters for the UCF athletics department. That news dropped just two days after it was announced that Bob Garvy made a $1 million gift commitment to fund the creation of the Garvy Center for Student-Athlete Nutrition, pending Board of Trustees approval.

5. Don’t forget, UCF is hosting a career expo for students and alumni Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in CFE Arena. Professional attire is required and up-to-date resumes are strongly recommended. Learn more about the expo, including a list of participating employers, by clicking here.

Alumnus Holds Key To Big Data

Big Data Symposium’s keynote speaker Lee Odess ’99 alongside his family

By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 23, 2017) – In the past, the biggest threat from a data breach was to the individual. But now with the onset of Big Data, there are much bigger threats and even bigger opportunities.

Few people, however, understand what Big Data is or how it can be used, said Lee Odess ’99, vice president of UniKey and the keynote speaker for UCF’s Big Data Symposium on Jan. 26 at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center.

“The goal of my presentation is, more or less, to give real life examples of what Big Data is and the impact it can have,” Odess said. “Typically you are either super smart on Big Data and have a hard time communicating it, or you are a person who has heard of it but isn’t too sure how to get started. My goal is to bridge the two.”

Practical examples of Big Data are everywhere and can be implemented by both big and small companies. For instance, a company can analyze marketing impacts via its social media reach; predictive analytics can narrow in on customers’ shopping preferences; or it can help analyze where a business should open up its next retail location.

Big Data’s role in our society is one of the reasons UCF’s Colleges of Science, Business and Engineering and Computer Science came together to host the symposium. UCF business professors Robert Porter ’81 ’10PhD and Amit Joshi, PhD; statistics professor Shunpu Zhang, PhD; and Ivan Garibay ’00MS ’04PhD, director of UCF Research Information Systems and chief information officer at the UCF Office of Research and Commercialization, are among the speakers who will talk about practical ways companies, nonprofits and individuals can tap into Big Data to benefit their communities and society.

Odess was a natural choice for the talk because of his familiarity with the use of Big Data within his own profession.

“For UniKey we didn’t wake up one day and say, ‘Hey, we need Big Data.’ We did however say, ‘Hey, we need to start understanding exactly how, when, where our customers are using the locks and mobile applications powered by UniKey,” he said. “So we put the systems and tools in place to be able to collect every bit of data we could. Then once we had it, we spent the time to come up with the algorithms and dashboards to easily digest the information. Now, with a touch of a button we are no longer guessing how, when and where customers are using the product. We are 100 percent clear on it.“

In 2012, Odess was the director of sales operations for security company Brivo Systems when he was watching “Shark Tank” on television one night and saw fellow UCF alumnus Phil Dumas ’05 pitching his smart lock. It was the first time in Shark Tank history that all five investors wanted to buy into an idea.

Odess reached out to Dumas after the show and said that given their UCF roots and similar industries, they should get to know each other. Dumas agreed.

They kept in touch over the years, and when Brivo Systems was sold in 2015, Odess wanted to join with a startup that had growth opportunity. He saw UniKey as that opportunity.

His day-to-day responsibilities as vice president include business development, human resources, participation in the overall strategy for the company and its existing customer base.

Dumas and Odess aren’t the only Knights with UniKey. Odess said 80 percent of the company’s 50 employees are alumni.

“Initially people think we’re from Silicon Valley. When we tell them we’re from Orlando, we explain to them we have some hidden gems here, one of them being the university,” he said. “We look for people that want to be in this area. We think the school does a really good job preparing the students for work. It just makes sense. There isn’t a need for us to look outside what’s in front of our face.”

Odess speaks from experience.

Born in Cleveland, he grew up in South Florida before he moved to Pittsburgh, where he graduated from high school. He considered nearly two dozen universities and picked UCF because he said it just felt right.

“There seemed to be a lot of history to be written,” he said. “I liked that.”

The day after he graduated with his bachelor’s in business, he packed up his car and started driving toward Pennsylvania, where a job with Lutron Electronics awaited him.

After eight years with Lutron, he moved to Washington D.C. and worked for a variety of companies, including several startups of his own, Fresh Confections and energy + light + control llc.

In order to become more acclimated to a new city, he rekindled his relationship with UCF by joining the D.C. alumni chapter.

Now that he’s back in Orlando, he is happy to have an opportunity to further his relationship with his alma mater by lending his time to the symposium.

“I’m proud of the fact that I have an opportunity to make a difference,” Odess said. “There’s a true partnership with the university – it has aspirations and goals, and I feel like it realizes that the people that have come out of it are going to help carry it in that direction.”

The Symposium will be held Jan. 26 from 6-8 p.m. at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center. The event is free, but RSVP online is required. To learn more about the event, click here.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Jan. 9

1. At UCF, we know how awesome Limbitless Solutions is, so it was great to see the rest of the country learn more about the group during a feature on Sunday’s NBC Nightly News. Didn’t tune in? Don’t worry, you can watch the segment in its entirety ^above^.

2. Job hunting? UCF is hosting a career expo for students and alumni on Jan. 31 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in CFE Arena. Professional attire is required and up-to-date resumes are strongly recommended. Learn more about the expo, including a list of participating employers, by clicking here.

3. Tailgating on Memory Mall is not just for football anymore. UCF fans will now have the unique opportunity to tailgate prior to weekend men’s basketball games through January and February. The first tailgate is scheduled for this Saturday when the Knights take on Houston, and reservations have hit capacity. Learn more about registration for future dates.

4. Sonya Dixon ’96 ’98MBA; Tony Moreno ’91 and Michael O’Donnell ’09MS have been selected as this year’s class for the College of Business Administration’s Hall of Fame. The group will be honored at the 18th annual banquet on Feb. 23 at Rosen Shingle Creek. Several other alumni will be recognized that evening with entrepreneurial awards and Noble Knight awards. For more information regarding the UCF College of Business Hall of Fame, visit cbahalloffame.com or email [email protected]

5. The UCF Colleges of Sciences, Business Administration and Engineering and Computer Science are hosting a Big Data Symposium on Jan. 26 from 6-8 p.m. in the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center. Attendees will hear from some of the top scholars and professionals skilled in analyzing large data sets to reveal patterns, trends and associations to help determine human behavior and interactions, and meet some of the graduate students who will soon be the pioneers of data analytics and data mining for tomorrow’s leading businesses. The evening’s keynote speaker is Lee Odess ’99, vice president of UniKey Technologies.

Although the event is complementary, space is limited. For more details and to RSVP, click here.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Oct 17

homecoming

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. 3, 2016

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1. Shoutout to Pegasus magazine, which earned four awards recently including the highest award — the 2016 Magazine of the Year — from the Florida Magazine Association! The top honor doesn’t just pertain to college magazines – it means it is the best magazine in Florida, period. It also won the top awards in the following categories: Best Overall Online Presence; Best Overall Design, Association; and Best Overall Magazine, Association.

2. Just in time for Halloween, Theatre UCF comes alive with The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein, running Oct. 20-30 on the UCF Main Stage. Tickets for Young Frankenstein are $20 for adults and $10 for students. Tickets can be purchased at www.theatre.ucf.edu or by calling or visiting the box office Monday-Friday, noon-5 p.m. at 407-823-1500.

3. UCF Football opened conference play with a win at East Carolina over the weekend. Up next, the Knights return home for an ESPNU matchup on Friday against Tulane. #UCFansWear black for the 8 p.m. kickoff, and as always, the UCF Alumni Indoor Tailgate is the place to get your gameday started! The tailgate will start at 5 p.m. at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center.

4. UCF Alumni Career Services is hosting a professional development workshop on Oct. 4 at 5:30 p.m. at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center. Topics such as networking, interviewing, resumes and cover letters will be discussed. Take advantage of this FREE opportunity.

5. UCF recently joined The Common App, an online tool that allows students to apply to more than 700 colleges and universities using a single application. “The tool will help us reach more students who might not have otherwise considered applying to UCF. It streamlines the admissions process and allows us to attract more high-quality, diverse students – both socioeconomically and geographically,” said Gordon Chavis, UCF’s associate vice president of enrollment services. In Fall 2015, the freshman class had an average SAT two-score of 1261, so onward and upward, UCF!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Sept. 12, 2016

osisirex-launch

1. To Bennu and back! On Friday, the OSIRIS-REx launch could be seen from UCF’s campus — home of physics professor Humberto Campins and associate professor Yan Fernandez, who will have an active role in analyzing data of the seven-year mission. OSIRIS-REx is bound for Bennu and is scheduled to encounter the mountain-sized asteroid in 2018. It’s NASA’s first mission to return a sample of an asteroid to Earth. A successful mission will provide scientists enough material from the asteroid’s surface to better understand how planets formed and how life began in the solar system.

2. UCF Football is hosting Family Weekend at 7 p.m. on Sept. 17 against Maryland, one week after playing in front of the largest crowd in program history (109,295) at Michigan’s Big House. Saturday’s Indoor Tailgate will start at 4 p.m. and is free for all UCF alumni and their guests.

3. Everyone’s favorite bobbleheads have returned! The Knightro Bobblehead Series kicked off for the 2016-17 season with a football-themed Knightro donning a black uniform. There are several ways to start collecting the new set – those details can be found here.

4. The UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center hosted a GoBabyGo car-building event for 10 toddlers late last week. GoBabyGo is a national effort to provide children without the ability to walk, a way to get around. The organization retrofits motorized toy cars for children with special needs. Dozens of volunteers, including UCF alumni, helped at the event and capped the day by cheering on the child drivers in a race on Memory Mall.

5. Courtney Paulson, an alumna of UCF and The Burnett Honors College, will look to defend her title on “Jeopardy!” tonight, Sept. 12. The 2011 graduate won the quiz show at the end of its season on July 29 with a total prize of $11,700. Tune in locally on WFTV Channel 9 at 7 p.m. Good luck, Courtney!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — March 7, 2016

Pegasus_iPadPromo_Spring2016
Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. The UCF College of Sciences hosted its second annual Outstanding AlumKnights awards ceremony on Thursday, honoring 10 Knights from each of the college’s nine departments, as well as the Nicholson School of Communication.
  2. Pegasus Magazine was delivered to mailboxes and inboxes last week. Read a digital copy, or download the Pegasus Magazine iPad app.
  3. Hear ye, here ye! The Orlando Shakespeare Theater, in partnership with UCF, presents performances of “The Tempest” through March 27 staring UCF alumna, Gracie Winchester, ’14, and “The Adventures of Pericles” through March 26.
  4. Did you know UCF has a student belly dancing club? The Shimmy Knights are dedicated to promoting positive body image and teaches students who want to learn the art of belly dancing!
  5. Looking for ways to get involved? View the UCF Alumni events calendar to find a local event near you!

College of Sciences Recognizes its Newest Group of Outstanding AlumKnights

COS_OA_2016

On March 3, the UCF College of Sciences and its alumni chapter hosted their second annual Outstanding AlumKnights awards ceremony. The college’s dean, Michael Johnson, hosted this year’s festivities, which took place in the Grand Ballroom of the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center, where guests enjoyed music, cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres and a photo booth, in addition to the award presentations.

Congratulations to all of this year’s Outstanding AlumKnights!

The 2016 awardees were:

  • Anthropology | Amanda Groff, Ph.D., ’03, ’05, ’07, lecturer, UCF Department of Anthropology
  • Biology | David Breininger, Ph.D., ’09, lead wildlife biologist, NASA Ecological Programs, Kennedy Space Center
  • Chemistry | Robert DeVor, Ph.D., ’03, ’08, scientist/principal investigator, Vencore Inc.
  • Communication | Marci Gonzalez, ’05, reporter, ABC affiliate, New York
  • Mathematics | Robert Muise, Ph.D., ’88, ’90, ’03, senior staff systems engineer, Lockheed Martin
  • Physics | Howard Bender III, Ph.D., ’97, ’98, R&D program manager, National Security Technologies LLC
  • Political Science | Carol Lawrence, ’71, attorney at law, Carolyn J.B. Lawrence P.A.
  • Psychology | Diane Robinson, Ph.D., ’06, ’10, program director, Cancer Support Community/Integrative Medicine Department, UF Health Cancer Center, Orlando Health
  • Sociology | Monica Mendez, Ph.D., ’02, ’08, executive director, Dress for Success Pittsburgh
  • Statistics | Tiffany Wills, ’06, assistant vice president/actuary, Hannover Life Reassurance Company of America

VIEW PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT