Led by President John C. Hitt and trustee Alex Martins, University of Central Florida leaders have made personal contributions totaling more than $1 million for the UCF Downtown campus.
President Hitt and first lady Martha Hitt contributed $100,000, as did trustee Alex Martins, a UCF alumnus and CEO of the Orlando Magic, and UCF Foundation Board of Directors member Dick Nunis. Other leading personal contributors include trustee Robert Garvy and Phyllis Klock, chairwoman of the Foundation Board of Directors.
The commitments from UCF’s leadership include gifts from trustees, deans, vice presidents, and members of the UCF Foundation and Alumni Association boards of directors.
“Our university’s leaders are making generous personal investments in UCF Downtown because they know the campus will greatly expand educational opportunities for students,” said Mike Morsberger, vice president for alumni relations and development. “Their support, along with the commitments from our community partners, is vital to make this innovative campus a reality.”
Earlier in January, the Orlando Magic and CFE Federal Credit Union each pledged $1.5 million toward the construction of the new academic building that UCF would share with Valencia College.
Orange County commissioners voted unanimously to contribute $3 million, and Valencia College will contribute $2 million.
Additionally, the value of in-kind contributions of land and infrastructure by the City of Orlando and the developers of Creative Village is approximately $75 million.
Pending approvals, the campus will open in fall 2018. UCF Downtown will offer students an innovative learning environment within walking distance of a wide array of internship and job opportunities in fields such as digital media, communication, public service and health-related programs. UCF will share the campus with Valencia College, which will offer programs in digital media, health information technology and culinary and hospitality, including workforce training and other certificates to increase access to education in the immediate downtown area.
The new academic building at UCF Downtown will complement a renovated Center for Emerging Media building where UCF’s nationally ranked graduate video gaming school, the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, is located. One-third of the new building will be funded by private donations. The university also is contributing $20 million from its resources and asking the state for an additional $20 million.
The Honorable Olga M. Calvet, ’71 | Senior Vice President/CFO, Palmas Services LLC
The UCF Alumni Association honored Olga Calvet with its 2015 Service to UCF Award at the annual Black & Gold Gala on Oct. 22.
After college, Olga joined the international accounting firm of Seidman and Seidman CPAs at their Orlando office. She continued her career at Laventhol and Horwath CPAs, eventually establishing her own CPA firm in 1979.
After selling her accounting practice in 1986, she began her current position as senior vice president and chief financial officer for Palmas Services LLC, a participant at Walt Disney World, and operator of restaurant and lounge locations at EPCOT and Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.
Olga is a member of the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She’s also an active member of the UCF Alumni Association, served as chair of the UCF Foundation and is a charter member of the UCF Board of Trustees, as well as its immediate past chair.
She’s married to Cesar Calvet, with whom she has two daughters, Cristina, ’01, ’03, principal of CCH Marketing & Events Inc., and Alexandra, ’09, owner of Calvet Couture Bridal.
In addition to her professional accomplishments, Olga has a long-standing record of community service within Central Florida and beyond. In fact, she received the UCF Alumni Association’s Outstanding Community Service Award in 2001.
As a successful businesswoman and community leader, she is a shining example of a true UCF Knight.
After a nationwide search, UCF has named Julie C. Stroh associate vice president of alumni relations and executive director of the UCF Alumni Association.
“This is a tremendous opportunity,” Stroh said. “UCF’s huge and vibrant alumni community has vast potential to effect positive change here and around the world. I’m very excited to act as a catalyst by helping members connect and engage with each other and their alma mater.”
Stroh currently serves as associate vice president for regional outreach in the Office of Government Relations and Community Engagement at Ball State University in Indiana. Prior to that, she was Ball State’s associate vice president of alumni programs, and president and CEO of the Ball State University Alumni Association. She begins at UCF in mid-October.
“I am thrilled to welcome Julie to our UCF Advancement team,” said Michael Morsberger, UCF vice president for Alumni Relations and Development. “The search provided us with many worthy candidates, but Julie’s extraordinary breadth and depth of experience in leading large-scale alumni relations programs as both an executive and a volunteer made her the clear choice.”
A committee of diverse stakeholders led by former UCF Alumni Association Board Chair Mike Manglardi, ’84, conducted a national search to fill the position.
Stroh’s key goals will include fostering mutually beneficial relationships between the university and its approximately 250,000 alumni.
In addition to her experience as an alumni relations executive, Stroh has also been a volunteer alumni leader for her alma mater, the University of Michigan. She has served nine years — including two as chair — on the board of directors of Michigan’s Alumni Association, among the world’s largest and most active alumni bodies.
Stroh has strong ties to Florida, having lived in the state for more than 20 years. She earned her master’s degree in liberal studies at the University of Miami and later held several key leadership positions in the university’s Office of Alumni Relations.
On June 12, the UCF Jefferson Awards & Alumni Volunteer Reception celebrated its eighth year recognizing some of the UCF Alumni Association’s most active volunteers for their countless acts of generosity and numerous volunteer hours. Hosted by the UCF Community Volunteers Alumni Chapter, these awards focus on public service and the importance of giving back.
The event kickstarted the alumni association’s Chapter and Club Council Meeting weekend, during which alumni chapter and club volunteers from across the nation gathered to discuss plans for the upcoming year.
Todd Bowers, ’77, a graduate of the College of Business Administration, who serves on the college’s Dean’s Advisory Council, the UCF Athletics Association Board of Directors, the UCF Foundation Finance Committee and the UCF Inclusive Education Team, was the evening’s master of ceremonies. Anthony Jenkins, Ph.D., UCF’s senior associate vice president and dean of students, was also in attendance as a guest speaker for the festivities.
Ivette has been chair of the Chicago UCF Alumni Chapter for the past four years. With her leadership, the chapter grew from 10 active members to nearly 50, and its Facebook page has increased to more than 400 followers.
“Our chapter’s mission is to create a home away from home for alumni, and I stress the importance of making those connections during every board meeting and through my actions,” she says. “It’s important that we make alumni feel welcome. I think that passion is what has helped our club evolve into a chapter in one year, and keeps alumni coming to our monthly events and watch parties.”
The other nominees included: Eric Braga, ’00, Space Coast UCF Alumni Chapter; Chris Brown, ’05, Tampa Bay UCF Alumni Chapter; Samantha Malone, ’04, Denver UCF Alumni Chapter; Thomas Marron, ’86, New York UCF Alumni Chapter; and Sara Singer, ’10, Southeast Florida UCF Alumni Chapter
Matthew just completed his third year as chair of the Southwest Florida UCF Alumni Club. Under his guidance, the club has seen a significant increase in its watch party attendance, as well as its Senior Sendoff event, after which other clubs now model their Senior Sendoffs.
“I look at this as a job,” he says. “Every day is another opportunity to enhance UCF’s brand, and I try to do something for the club each and every day.”
The other nominees included: Bakari Dowdell, ’14, Jacksonville UCF Alumni Club; and Becky Koziuk, ’03, Jacksonville UCF Alumni Club
After serving a six-year term on the UCF Alumni Association Board of Directors, Dan returned this year to chair the public relations committee, developing strategies to increase awareness and relevance of the association and the Knights it serves.
“We’ve brought additional structure to the PR committee this year, and added a team of dedicated volunteers who give of their time and help us promote the association,” he says.
Mark currently serves as vice chair of the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science Alumni Chapter. Along with a fellow chapter member, he championed the college’s new Career Kickoff, which became a signature event for the chapter.
“I believe in direct engagement between students and alumni for the benefit of both,” he says. “As alumni, we can provide great insight, skills, training, guidance and contacts for the students. In return, the students infuse us with passion and energy for our university and our profession.”
The other nominees included: Tom Alexander, ’03, UCF Nicholson School of Communication Alumni Chapter; and Tiffany Carrion, ’08, UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management Alumni Chapter
Constituent Chapter Volunteer of the Year—
Crystal Buit, ’06, UCF Community Volunteers Chapter
This past year, Crystal served as chair of the UCF Community Volunteers Chapter. Like other volunteer leaders, she says she wanted the year to be a success and had a passion for outreach and engagement, being sure to personally connect with as many alumni as she could at each event, letting them know she was thankful for their participation and welcomed their future involvement.
“I hope I have positively impacted the association by creating opportunities for alumni to reconnect with one another, while reminding those in the community of UCF’s tremendous and generous alumni presence and base,” Crystal says.
The other nominee was: Justina Oldehoff, ’09, UCF Young Alumni Chapter
Jill has been a 4EVER Knights Ambassador for the past three years. During her junior year, she served as secretary of the 4EK officer board. She also chaired Knights of Legend, 4EK’s annual networking event for students and alumni. This past year, she served as the student alumni association’s president.
“As an ambassador, I’m only required to work 50 hours’ worth of events,” Jill says. “Yet, I attend everything — every meeting, every event, every social gathering — regardless of whether I need the hours. It’s not that I don’t have coursework or law school applications or family obligations waiting for me at home. It’s just that I want to be the kind of outstanding leader who inspires those who follow through my actions rather than my words.”
The other nominee was: Mackenzie Chase, 4EVER KNIGHTS Ambassador
In addition, three alumni were honored with Shining Armor Awards, recognizing their chivalry to the 4EVER KNIGHTS program and the 4EVER KNIGHTS Ambassadors by donating their time and talent to help 4EK succeed.
Michael J. Morsberger, the University of Central Florida’s new vice president for alumni relations and development, has achieved record-breaking successes at the George Washington University, Duke University, the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins University.
Most recently, under Morsberger’s leadership, George Washington received the two largest gifts in its 190-year history, a total of $80 million to address public health challenges. The university also doubled the amount it raised for financial aid to more than $35 million last year.
“Mike’s leadership has produced transformational gifts that continue to change lives at some of our nation’s leading institutions and around the world,” UCF President John C. Hitt said. “He excels at motivating his staff members, donors, administrators and faculty members to dream big for the benefit of students and the community.”
Morsberger, who was selected following a national search, will begin working at UCF on June 1. He will serve as CEO of the UCF Foundation and lead all fundraising activities for the university, and he will oversee the university’s relationships with its 250,000 alumni through the UCF Alumni Association. The Foundation and Alumni Association combined have nearly 120 staff members.
Morsberger served for nearly five years as George Washington’s vice president for development and alumni relations. He resigned in October 2014 for family reasons.
Previously, he was vice president for development and alumni affairs at Duke Medicine. Morsberger also worked as associate vice president of development and alumni relations for the University of Virginia’s Health System and executive director of the UVa Health Foundation.
He served at Johns Hopkins for nine years, starting as a major gifts officer and rising to chief development officer of the medical center’s renowned cancer center. He was associated with what was then the largest gift in Johns Hopkins’ history, a $150 million pledge to rename the comprehensive cancer center by philanthropist Sidney Kimmel.
Morsberger, the first in his family to attend college, earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Radford University and a master’s degree in philanthropy and development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. He and his wife, Marybeth, were college sweethearts, and they have two grown children, Courtney and Allison.
“I am honored to accept this important role and serve the vast UCF community,” Morsberger said. “It is clear to me that the University of Central Florida at age 50 is at an inflection point in its remarkable history — and the next decade will surely prove to be very exciting.”
Morsberger joins the UCF Foundation in the midst of a fundraising campaign that aims to raise $500 million by 2018. Those donations support student scholarships, faculty positions, new facilities and more.
Wealth management firm Moreno, Peelen, Pinto & Clark hosted its second MPC UCF Touchdown Breakfast on Wednesday, April 29, to help raise money toward an academic support center for UCF athletes.
Four of the five partners in the firm are UCF alumni, including Christina Pinto, ’86; Lisa-Moreno Haramboure, ’89; Tony Moreno Jr., ’91, who also serves on the UCF Foundation Board of Directors; and Rob Clark, ’94. The firm’s other partner, Scott Peelen, graduated from Michigan State, but he was easily adopted as a member of their UCF family, especially since his daughter, Sarah, is a current UCF student, and he attends all of the football games.
The breakfast took place at the Alfond Inn in Winter Park, with many prominent community figures in attendance — including members of the UCF Board of Trustees, UCF Foundation Board of Directors and UCF Alumni Association Board of Directors, as well as Orange County commissioners, current and former mayors, and one of the forefathers of UCF, Charlie Gray.
Knightro and some of the UCF Cheerleaders kicked off the morning with a cheer, followed by opening remarks from Peelen. WESH 2 Sports Anchor Pat Clarke hosted the remainder of the event, reminiscing about when UCF’s football program first started, and how he used to be able to park his Mustang under the Citrus Bowl stands. He commended then-Coach Gene McDowell on taking the program from Division II to Division I-AA, as well as current Head Coach George O’Leary on his “culture of winning” and “culture of learning.” He concluded with a video showcasing this season’s UCF Football’s key players before introducing Todd Stansbury, UCF’s athletic director, who stepped in to speak for O’Leary, who had to cancel his appearance due to a minor medical issue.
“When George meets with recruits,” Stansbury said, “he only guarantees them one thing — that they’ll graduate. He demands excellence, and that’s what he gets.”
In fact, UCF is No. 3 in the nation for graduating 90 percent of its football players, and is No. 1 in the nation for graduating 95 percent of all its student-athletes combined.
“A lot of people think we’re in the entertainment business,” Stansbury continued. “We’re really in the education business. Our mission is to provide opportunity to young people and develop future leaders. Our job is to use sport to prepare them to compete.”
While there were plenty of laughs, including an anecdote from Clarke about Peelen’s former reporting skills, the morning was really about supporting UCF’s athletes and their academic endeavors. Moreno, Peelen, Pinto & Clark pledged to match gifts up to the first $10,000 raised.
“One of the things we’ve noticed is the quality of the students graduating from UCF,” Moreno Jr. says. “In fact, we just hired another UCF alumnus through the internship program. We’re very proud of the high ranking UCF maintains for graduating athletes.”
Want to help make the academic support center a reality? Contact Chris Huff, associate athletics director of development and executive director of the Golden Knights Club, at [email protected] or 407.823.2205.
See highlights from the MPC UCF Touchdown Breakfast: