Five Things Alumni Need To Know this Week – Oct. 22, 2018

1.Another weekend, another win for UCF Football. Despite winning twenty games in a row and championing the nation’s longest winning streak, our favorite football team isn’t getting any love from the polls. In fact, AD Danny White weighed in on Twitter last night, calling college football “a subjective popularity contest” with a Tweet directed at College GameDay.

Speaking of College GameDay…they’ll be in Jacksonville this weekend. Our Jacksonville UCF Alumni Chapter is determined to make a strong showing of black and gold pride, so if you want to join them, follow along with the Chapter on Twitter and in their Facebook group to be in the know!

2. Starting today, UCF’s main campus will serve as an early voting location for faculty, staff, students and other registered Orange County voters as part of the “Charge Your Vote” campaign.

3. UCF alumnus and president/founder of O’Dang Hummus Jesse Wolfe ’15 is at the front of Walmart’s latest marketing campaign. From UCF to Shark Tank to the world’s largest retailer, O’Dang Hummus is now one of the faces of Walmart’s “Made in the USA” initiative.

4. History alumnus Phil Zoshak’s after-school program, Hero Spark, uses strategic card, board and role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons to help 11-to-18-year-olds improve their self-esteem and hone their social skills.

5. The UCF College of Arts and Humanities is leading a cross-disciplinary effort to create digital stories representing the diverse narratives of UCF through the I Am UCF Digital Storytelling Initiative, and alumni are invited to participate! Learn more about this initiative at https://iamucf.cah.ucf.edu/.

Five Things Alumni Need To Know This Week – Sept. 24, 2018

UCF Watch Parties

1.After a great game against FAU Friday, the No. 13 Knights are gearing up to face Pitt this weekend! If you attended our Indoor Tailgate, check out the photo gallery from the event. Speaking of Indoor Tailgates, we’re hosting another one this Saturday from 12:30-2:30 p.m. at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center during Family Weekend!

Can’t make it to the game? Our UCF Alumni Chapters and Clubs are hosting UCF Watch Parties across the nation – find one near you!

2.We’re proud to call Ron Hawks ’12 a Knight. As a crisis-management lead for Lockheed Martin, Hawks organized the defense contractor’s response in Puerto Rico to Hurricane Maria last year – and his time at UCF prepared him to do it.

3.Exciting news for our alma mater! A new collaboration with Microsoft will have a BIG impact for UCF students and the Central Florida community. Learn more about how UCF will participate in the Microsoft Flagship Schools program.

4.President Dale Whittaker has announced a series of campus conversations to share aspirations for UCF and how to make them a reality. The first takes place this morning at the UCF College of Medicine in Lake Nona. If you can’t attend in person, you can tune in to the livestream via the UCF YouTube Channel.

5.We knew our Knights were strong, but did you know they are strong enough to compete for Team USA? UCF student Allison Fleming joined Team USA for the World University Weightlifting Championships. Fleming emerged as the top American finisher in the 63kg weight class for the snatch event.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know – Sept. 9, 2018

Indoor Tailgates

  1. With a win for No. 18 UCF Football and the wild success of our first Indoor Tailgate of the season, it was quite the weekend for Knights fans! If you had as much fun as we did, see if you can find yourself in our photo gallery – and don’t forget to mark your calendar for the next Indoor Tailgate on Sept. 21.

2. Another day, another ranking! U.S. News & World Report ranked UCF at No. 10 most innovative in its annual list of best colleges – above Harvard, Princeton, Duke and Johns Hopkins.

3. Is Pluto a Planet? New research from planetary scientist and UCF alumnus Philip Metzger suggests that it is! The debate is on, and we’re backing our guy in black and gold.

4. Meet UCF’s fifth president and learn more about the future of our alma mater at two special receptions this October. All UCF alumni are invited to join us for An Evening with President Dale Whittaker in D.C. on Wednesday, Oct. 3 and A Breakfast with Dale Whittaker in Atlanta on Wednesday, Oct. 17.

5. Last but certainly not least, a BIG thank you to the Virga family. Last week, Vince ’95 and Joyce ’98 Virga committed $10.25 million to UCF, making theirs the single largest alumni gift in university history.

“It’s truly an honor to be able to give back to an institution that has given us so much.” – Joyce Virga ’98

What a way to start a week. Charge On, Knights!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week – Aug. 27, 2018

UCF Watch Parties

1.UCF FOOTBALL IS BACK THIS WEEK! We know our alumni are pumped for the season opener this Thursday against UConn. In fact, we have more than 30 official #UCFWatchParty locations across the nation where Knights fans will gather to cheer for a black and gold victory!

2. Speaking of football, our first home game is Saturday, Sept. 8 against South Carolina State. Get game day ready with this Fan Guide to UCF Football Season, featuring information on parking, tickets, traditions, and our favorite, Indoor Tailgates!

3. News from the heart of Downtown Orlando: UCF Downtown will open its doors to 7,700 students in less than a year! Take a look at how this game-changing campus will increase access for students and foster collaboration with our partners.

4. Our Knights are out of this world! The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation has awarded alumnus Larry Bradley ’94 the Neil Armstrong Award of Excellence for his contributions to space exploration. The foundation has also named two UCF students as Astronaut Scholars.

5. Last week, the Orlando City Council, Orange County commissioners and the UCF Board of Trustees approved the transfer of the Sanford Burnham Prebys building in Lake Nona to UCF so the university can repurpose the facility into a comprehensive cancer research and treatment center. The new UCF Lake Nona Cancer Center will house cancer researchers, clinical trials and treatment for patients.

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 – June 18, 2018

Graphic of UCF Football

1. Some scheduling news out of UCF Football: When the Knights host South Carolina State in week two of the 2018 college football season, kickoff at Spectrum Stadium will be 6 p.m. on ESPN3. UCF also announced it has finalized its non-conference slate for the 2019 season with the addition of FAMU as its season-opening matchup.

2. Thanks to researchers at UCF, squeezing oranges may give us a new way to deliver medicine or to detect bridge failures before they happen. Engineering Assistant Professor Andrew K. Dickerson and graduate student Nicholas M. Smith have figured out the mechanics of how oranges release that thin stream of fragrant oil when squeezed. By mimicking nature’s mechanism of an orange layer, pharmaceutical companies may be able to develop a less expensive and less complex way to deliver airborne medication.

3. There is now a UCF Alumni persona on the official UCF Mobile app! Download the app for iOS or Android and select the Alumni experience to stay informed about all things black and gold. For more information about the app, please visit ucfmobile.ucf.edu.

4.  Although the 2018-19 men’s basketball schedule isn’t completely finalized, we did find out which American Athletic Conference opponents will be visiting the CFE Arena. The Knights will host nine league opponents, including two NCAA Tournament teams from a year ago in Cincinnati and Houston, and a pair of teams rich in history with first-year head coaches in Penny Hardaway’s Memphis and Danny Hurley’s UConn.

UCF will play Cincinnati, Houston, Memphis, SMU, Temple, UConn and USF twice during the year, once at home and once on the road. The Knights will only host ECU and Tulsa, and only go on the road to take on Wichita State and Tulane. Fans excited for the upcoming 2018-19 UCF men’s basketball season can purchase tickets today by calling (407) 823-1000 or online: https://ucfknights.co/mbb1819tix.

5. A big thank you to Police Chief Richard Beary ’04MS, who retired last week after 11 years at the head of UCF’s police department and 41 years serving Central Florida in law enforcement.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – June 4, 2018

UCF Football Game Time Graphic

1. The American Athletic Conference released game times and television partners for three of the UCF football team’s 2018 matchups. The season opener at UConn on Aug. 30 will kick off at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU. UCF hosts FAU in a Friday night contest on Sept. 21, which is set to begin at 7 p.m. on ESPN. UCF’s Nov. 1 home game with Temple is slated to get under way at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.

2. UCF alumni are encouraged to help usher in the next generation of Knights at Freshman Welcome events this week in Tampa Bay (June 6) and Southwest Florida (June 7). Enjoy complimentary hors d’ourves, beverages and UCF-themed giveaways as we induct local high school seniors and their families into the UCF family.

For a full list of upcoming events hosted by UCF Alumni, visit ucfalumni.com/events.

3. The founder of uBreakiFix, Justin Wetherill ’07, is part of the UCF Alumni family. Hear how the UCF College of Business Administration helped Wetherill start and grow his business for the past decade.

4. Orange County is opening a new fire station today that is expected to improve emergency responses in an area that includes UCF. The new station is located at 10679 University Blvd.

5. Word on the street is that USF Athletic Director Mark Harlan has accepted the same position at Utah. We can neither confirm nor deny that losing the War on I4 rivalry trophy to UCF in back-to-back seasons played a part in his decision to leave Tampa, but we wish him well in his new endeavors.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – May 21, 2018

UCF Football Game Time Graphic

1. The UCF baseball team earned the No. 5 seed in the 2018 American Athletic Conference Tournament at Spectrum Field in Clearwater. The Knights will play the first game of the tournament on Tuesday at 9 a.m. against the No. 4 seed ECU. (The game was originally schedule for 3 p.m. but due to the threat of inclement weather, the game was moved up) For more information about the tournament, including tickets, please visit The American’s championship central page.

2. Good news for UCF’s cutting edge RESTORES clinic, which helps people coping with post-traumatic stress disorder. The program has been awarded a $10 million grant to expand its work.

3. Professionals from Walt Disney World, the Orlando Magic and City of Orlando — all UCF alumni — shared some of their wisdom and experiences at a career enhancement panel, and we’re loving their five career tips. The panel was part of Hospitality Knight hosted by UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management Alumni Chapter. For more chapter and club events on the horizon, take a look at the alumni events calendar.

4. The first game time of the 2018 football season has been set. UCF’s Sept. 15 road trip to North Carolina will be played at noon in Chapel Hill. The matchup between the Knights and the Tar Heels will be broadcast on either ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU, with the exact network to be named at a later date. Complete 2018 Schedule

5. A former Air Force fighter pilot; a 4-foot-2 woman who refused to let a rare genetic disorder keep her from pursuing her dreams; a 27-year-old cancer survivor; and a couple who are both active duty Army officers were all part of the 2018 graduating class from the College of Medicine. Read about them all in this Orlando Sentinel feature article.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – April 2, 2018

1. UCF’s Day of Giving on March 29 was a smashing success thanks to YOU! Your combined efforts blew by the donor goal of 1,000, and your love for UCF supported a variety of scholarships and programs at the university. Read more about the day and check out the results:
Day of Giving Infographic

2. In addition to the buzz of UCF Day of Giving on March 29, the Florida Board of Governors unanimously confirmed the selection of Dale Whittaker, PhD, as the University of Central Florida’s next president. Whittaker, who currently serves as UCF’s provost and executive vice president, will become the university’s fifth president on July 1.

3. UCF Alumni announced the recipients of its fourth annual 30 Under 30 Awards on March 30. The winners will be recognized in a formal ceremony on campus at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center on May 19. View the complete slate of honorees.

4. What do sea turtles, veterans, language programs, science and football have in common? They’ll all be better off thanks to the generosity of Jim ’81 and Julia Rosengren, who have committed $6.6 million to support those programs at the University of Central Florida. Combined with their previous donations, the Rosengrens have committed $7.95 million to UCF – the largest total from an alumnus in university history.

5. If you missed news from UCF’s Pro Day last week, get yourself caught up with this recap. In addition to 60-plus scouts and executives from around professional football in attendance, nearly 70 members of the media were credentialed to cover the event. That media contingent included two crews from ESPN and one from NFL Network, in addition to coverage from Sports Illustrated, Yahoo! Sports and every local outlet that usually covers the UCF football team.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – Feb. 26, 2018

Blake Bortles will suit up for the Jacksonville Jaguars through 2020

1. UCF’s Presidential Search Committee selected four finalists for UCF’s next transformational leader, and each finalist will visit UCF to meet with students, faculty, alumni, donors and community partners and also will give a presentation at an open forum. The campus community and public are invited to attend presentations by each of the candidates scheduled for March 2 and March 6-8. Attendees will be able to provide feedback. Visit www.ucf.edu/presidentsearch to learn more about the finalists and their soon-to-be scheduled visits.

2. DUUUVAL! Former UCF football great Blake Bortles signed a contract extension over the weekend with the Jacksonville Jaguars to lead the team through the 2020 season. “This is definitely the place I wanted to be,” the quarterback said, also citing personal reasons such as Jacksonville being close to his hometown of Oviedo, Florida.

3. Radio-TV alumna and former Order of Pegasus recipient Kaitlyn Chana ’13 overcame three eating disorders from the time she was in middle school until she was ready to get help in college. Now, she’s using her experience to help others and raise awareness for mental health. Check out this National Eating Disorders Week spotlight

4. UCF has brought in 1,575 new football season ticket accounts since Jan. 1, its highest amount since the stadium first opened in 2007. Season ticket renewals are also around 90 percent sold. Shannon Green breaks down all the rewards from the best football season in school history in this Orlando Sentinel article.

5. FAIRWINDS Credit Union will fund a new $1.1 million endowed professorship for a proposed UCF FinTech program, the first of its kind in the State University System. The gift to benefit financial-technology education, to be fulfilled over the next eight years, was announced Feb. 20.