From The Heart

 


By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 16, 2017) — Children spending Valentine’s Day week at Nemours Children’s Hospital got a special treat on Monday: Seven UCF College of Nursing students, dressed in their scrubs, visited their hospital rooms and brought along a new soft, cuddly bear.

In all, 88 ‘Knight Nurse’ teddy bears — also wearing UCF scrubs — arrived at Nemours as part of a larger fundraising campaign spearheaded by the college, and meant to brighten the day of hospitalized children.

Soon-to-be 13-year-old Karina, who has a closet of strategically placed stuffed animals at her Melbourne home, eagerly awaited her bear delivery before her chemotherapy treatment. When she was greeted by the nursing students, they immediately started discussing how to accessorize the bear with her favorite color, purple.

“It’s super, super soft. It’s the softest bear I think I have. It feels kind of like my unicorn,” Karina said. “Everyone is so nice here. Everyone’s just trying to make all the kids here feel better.”

In January, the college debuted its “Give a Bear, Warm a Heart” fundraiser that enabled the public to sponsor one – or an entire unit – of teddy bears wearing UCF nursing scrubs. The college partnered with MorUniversity, the college’s exclusive scrub provider, to create limited-edition bears outfitted in an exact replica of the scrubs worn by UCF nursing students.

Donations were still coming in as of late last week, but the college estimated that roughly $14,000 was raised in the inaugural campaign. All money raised will help support priority areas in the UCF College of Nursing, including student scholarships, faculty research and medical mission trips.

Although the college is finished taking orders for this year’s distribution of bears, it intends to make this an annual event.

On Thursday and Friday, students will deliver more bears to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Florida Hospital for Children. In totally, roughly 225 bears will be delivered this year.

“I just love working with the kids. They have this incredible spirit, so any opportunity that I get to interact with them and to make them smile is just what makes it so special for me,” said Orlando native Hayley Boyle, who is in her last semester of UCF’s undergraduate nursing program and hopes to become a pediatric nurse. “These bears have such an impact. They’re just a beautiful thing to do.”

To Have And To Hold, Forever Black And Gold

Alumni Brent and Bryanna Beumel were married in November by one of their favorite UCF professors, Jeff Biddle

ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 14, 2017) – Brent Beumel ’14 and his fianceé Bryanna La Londe ’13 were driving back to Florida in November 2015 from a weekend trip in Savannah, where Brent had just popped the question in a historical bed and breakfast.

Giddy off the high of their engagement, they started imagining what their wedding day would look like. Who would officiate the ceremony?

Without a moment’s hesitation, long-time UCF sports and exercise science instructor Jeff Biddle emerged at the top of their list.

“He’s what every professor should be to a student. He doesn’t want you to just come in and get your degree and walk out. You could go into his office anytime he was in there and talk with him. He loved to get to know people and what you wanted to do with your life,” Bryanna said. “He was the first person we thought of.”

The now-Beumels met in 2012 in a biomechanics class at UCF’s South Lake campus in Clermont.

They started out as friends. Bryanna had plans to move to Portland, Oregon, at summer’s end. After a month, their relationship progressed to more than friends.

“And then I didn’t go! And it worked out well,” Bryanna said with a smile.

The two finished their sports and exercise science degrees, frequently driving the hefty commute out to Clermont – Bryanna drove 70 miles one way from her mother’s home in Merritt Island — because they loved the program and professors, especially Biddle, so much.

“Every class that he taught in our major, I tried to sign up with him. He made the drive out to Clermont worth it,” said Brent, who lived less than eight miles from UCF’s main campus at the time. “It was an hour to get out there, but you knew when you’d have him at 8 o’clock in the morning it was going to be fun. It wasn’t just staring at a PowerPoint for an hour and a half. You were interacting with him and all the other students. He made it enjoyable. He’s not one we’ll forget.”

Bryanna, a first-generation student, graduated in 2013 and is now working in the rehabilitation department at Arnold Palmer Hospital. Brent graduated a year later as a second-generation UCF alumnus.

As fate would have it, Brent’s parents met while they were students at UCF at a house party on Alafaya. His mother Linda graduated in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

They didn’t expect that decades later, their son would mirror their love story and find his future wife while at school.

“UCF helped make me who I am. The experiences I had through sport and exercise molded me into the trainer and coach that I am now,” said Brent, who works at CrossFit Firebase in Orlando. “I view it as a starting off point. That’s where we met. It’s where my parents met, as well. It holds a special value in that to me.”

Brent and Bryanna got married on Thanksgiving weekend in 2016 at Club Lake Plantation in Apopka with a black-and-gold-bow-tie-clad Biddle as their officiant.

Their grandparents gifted the couple their wedding rings and served as ring bearers in their ceremony.

The gold band of Brent’s ring belonged to his grandfather. It had to be pieced back together after it was cut off his grandfather’s finger following a motorcycle accident.

When the jeweler melded it together, he chose a black zirconium to sandwich it, making it the perfect color combination for Brent’s UCF roots.

As the couple anticipated, Biddle was a hit among the family in attendance. He was as comical and engaging in the ceremony as he is in the classroom.

In order to perform the ceremony, the professor needed to obtain a notary license. He told the couple to leave the logistics to him and insisted on paying the associated fee.

Biddle, who makes it a point to attend as many of his students’ commencement ceremonies as he can, said that Brent and Bryanna’s request to serve as their officiant was an honor and a privilege.

That realization hit him even harder when he recently watched their wedding video.

“Their kids and their kids’ kids are going to be watching that video. I’m permanently a part of their lives and their family’s lives from now on. And that’s pretty cool,” Biddle said. “I am thrilled that they asked me, thrilled that they wanted me to do it. It is certainly one of the bigger moments to happen in my life.”

What he may not realize is that he already secured a special place in their lives a long time ago.

“Being a first generation degree seeker – professors are who I looked up to for guidance and direction throughout the whole process. Dr. Biddle was a role model for me,” Bryanna said. “Finding what you love to do may change over the years and that’s OK. That is something I learned from him. I don’t even know if I’ve ever told him this, but it’s how I feel about him and what he’s done for me.”

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Feb. 13

 

Comedy Central

1. UCF is all about helping out the procrastinators in need of Valentine’s Day date ideas. The UCF Theater Department will be featuring William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet from Feb. 16-26. Tickets are $20 or $10 with a UCF ID. You can purchase them online or by calling the box office at 407-823-1500. The men’s basketball team will square off against Tulsa on Feb. 14 and is offering a special Valentine’s Date Night package. For $40 receive two tickets to the game as well as one Cupid-inspired Knightro Bobblehead.

2. CFE Arena announced Monday that UCF alumnus Daniel Tosh ’96 will return to campus April 25 for a standup comedy show featuring writers and comedians from his Comedy Central hit “Tosh.0.” Tickets go on sale Feb. 17.

3. Opening Night for UCF Baseball will be held Friday, and best of all – IT’S FREE! The Knights are beginning a new era under first-year head coach Greg Lovelady. First pitch against Siena is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Before you head to the field, learn more about the John Euliano Park Expansion.

4. Late last week, the 2017 UCF Football schedule was unveiled. It includes a record four September home games, 11 Saturday kickoffs and a Black Friday War On I-4 showdown with rival USF. Start making your tailgate plans and purchase season tickets now. Pro tip: Renew your season tickets before March 1 and swing yourself some cool prizes.

5. Calling Knights in Georgia! IGNITE: Atlanta will take place Thursday from 6-8 p.m. at the Intercontinental Buckhead Atlanta. Space is limited but there is still time to reserve your spot. The event is free. Click here to RSVP.

P.S. UCF Alumni has enjoyed hearing so many stories from the heart from Knights over the last week as we gear up for Valentine’s Day. Tell your #UCFLoveStory and check out other posts on our Facebook.

Give A Bear, Warm A Heart

Bear Campaign-100

By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 17, 2017) — This Valentine’s Day, students from the UCF College of Nursing will bring love in the form of a cuddly teddy bear to local hospitalized children with the help of alumni, friends and the community.

The “Give a Bear, Warm a Heart” fundraiser enables the public to sponsor one – or an entire unit – of teddy bears wearing UCF nursing scrubs to be delivered the week of Valentine’s Day to sick kids at local hospitals. So far, UCF nursing students will deliver bears to Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Florida Hospital for Children and Nemours Children’s Hospital.

The college has partnered with MorUniversity, the college’s exclusive scrub provider, to create limited-edition bears outfitted in an exact replica of the scrubs worn by UCF nursing students. To sponsor one Knight Nurse bear costs $50. To reserve bears for two units – 19 bears, plus one for the sponsor – is $1,000; and to reserve nine bears for one unit, plus one for the sponsor, is $500. In sponsoring a unit, donors also can choose to donate their assigned bear.

“In addition to providing comfort and love to a child when they need it most, the Knight Nurse bears will make a positive impact on our nursing students, faculty, research and ultimately, the community,” said Mary Lou Sole, dean of the UCF College of Nursing.

All money raised from this campaign will help support priority areas in the UCF College of Nursing, including student scholarships, faculty research and medical mission trips.

“Like these bears, nurses provide comfort when people need it most. We hope that anyone who has been touched by a nurse will join us in this effort,” Sole said.

One student is looking forward to seeing the smiles on children’s faces when they receive a bear.

“As a UCF nursing student, I am always looking for ways to reach out to the community and provide compassionate care. The bear campaign not only helps students like me, but it is a wonderful opportunity to impact a child’s life,” said Corrine Medeiros, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing. “Providing a child with a bear will bring a smile to their face and will make them more familiar with the medical staff.”

The idea for the fundraiser began about three years ago, but this year, the College of Nursing was finally able to launch it after finalizing the details, such as the bears’ replica scrubs.

To sponsor a bear, visit http://nursing.ucf.edu/bears. Any questions can be directed to [email protected] or by calling the college’s main line at 407-823-2744.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Feb. 22, 2016

shuttle-driver-gift
UCF student Joshua Gicker organized a special Valentine’s Day/birthday surprise for campus shuttle driver Maurice Mosby, raising more than $400 for the man who, Gicker says, takes the time to learn his passengers by name and delivers them a “good morning” every day. (See No. 4 below.)

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. Twenty students (out of UCF’s 63,000) were named as recipients of the 2016 Order of Pegasus, the university’s most prestigious student award.
  2. UCF Celebrates the Arts — a free festival of music, performances and visual displays — reprises its second season April 8-16 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the performing arts in downtown Orlando, with an extended program of student and faculty presentations and collaborations. The university’s annual spring dance concert kicks off the nine-day festival, which also includes many displays from the School of Visual Arts and Design. For a complete schedule and ticket information, visit arts.cah.ucf.edu.
  3. This Thursday, expand your network and connect with fellow Knights! Mingle with alumni working in the nonprofit community during a joint Networking Knight at Bar Louie (UCF) from 6-8 p.m., hosted by the UCF School of Public Administration and UCF College of Health and Public Affairs Alumni Chapter. Or, join the College of Engineering and Computer Science Alumni Chapter for an alumni and student Networking Knight in the Engineering II building atrium from 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  4. UCF students showed some love to their favorite campus shuttle driver, Maurice Mosby, as they surprised him with more than $400 in gift cards in honor of Valentine’s Day last week, which also happened to be Mosby’s birthday.
  5. Grammy Award-winning a cappella group Pentatonix brings its World Tour 2016 to the CFE Arena on April 14!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Feb. 8, 2016

OneBillionRising
The One Billion Rising initiative starts at noon Feb. 12 on the UCF Student Union Patio Stage, where those affected by violence are encouraged to speak out about what they’ve been through. (See No. 4 below.)

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. The 63,000 current/former students and employees who were affected by a data breach, announced by the university on Thursday, should be receiving letters this week with details about free, one-year credit monitoring and identity protection. For more information, visit www.ucf.edu/datasecurity.
  2. Twenty high school football players chose to suit up in black and gold on National Signing Day last week. In addition to 12 Floridians, and the first player in program history from Hawaii, UCF Head Football Coach Scott Frost welcomed players from Arizona, California, Finland, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. Plus, the 2016 UCF Football schedule was released, with Family Weekend set for Sept. 17 and Homecoming set for Oct. 15.
  3. For the first time in more than 20 years, the pendulum in the atrium of the Mathematical Sciences building is swinging back and forth again, thanks to UCF alumna Eileen Swindling, ’88.
  4. On Friday, UCF Victim Services will host the Fourth Annual One Billion Rising, where female survivors of violence and their supporters join together to break their silence.
  5. Progress continues to be made on UCF Downtown, as the university will present its plan for a downtown Orlando campus to the Florida Board of Governors on March 2.

Palm Beach Chapter Provides Valentine’s Dinner with Love

PalmBeach-VDay2015

By Angie Lewis, ’03

On Feb. 11, the Palm Beach UCF Alumni Chapter made its second visit to the Quantum House, which lessens the burdens for families with children receiving treatment in Palm Beach County for serious medical conditions.

This time, chapter volunteers prepared a Valentine’s Day-themed meal, complete with heart-shaped grilled cheese sandwiches, organic tomato soup and a salad bar with heart-shaped tomatoes. After dinner, the kids got to decorate cupcakes, brownies and chocolate-covered strawberries with a variety of red and pink icing and candies. (The groceries were provided by Loggerhead Marina.)

“Our group left feeling inspired,” says Brittany Miller, ’07, chair of the Palm Beach UCF Alumni Chapter. “Many of our volunteers were asking how they can stay involved with the Quantum House on their own time.”

The chapter participates in many different volunteer projects throughout the year. It’s previously worked with Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Boys Town South Florida, Big Heart Basket Brigade and Paint Your Heart Out/United Way.

Miller adds, “It’s great being able to connect our UCF alumni with these organizations, broadening the impact we have in the Palm Beach community.”

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Solidify Your Love

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This Valentine’s Day, surprise your love with a unique gift that will last forever. Purchase a brick on our beautiful Knights Terrace patio at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center, and have it etched with a custom message for your special someone.

Knights Terrace is the place where your lifelong pride, passion and support for UCF is on display every day, and at countless events hosted on these special grounds. Your legacy will be forever chiseled into our history.

It’s personal. It’s your memories. It’s forever.

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