Veteran’s Day Salute: Joseph Rogan ’11

Burnett Honors College alumnus Joe Rogan ’11 (right) served eight years in the Military Police Corps of the U.S. Army Reserve.

By Jenna Marina Lee

ORLANDO, Fla. (Nov. 9, 2017) – Jacksonville-based lawyer and UCF alumnus Joseph Rogan ’11 approaches everyday with the same mentality: Put the mission first. Never accept defeat.

Whether those tenets apply to his career or his relationships, the U.S. Army’s Warrior Ethos are something The Burnett Honors College graduate has carried with him since he enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserve at the age of 17.

“It really was just a calling,” said Rogan, who served eight years in the Military Police Corps.

Rogan grew up in South Florida and chose to join the Army Reserve before his senior year of high school.

His parents were supportive but hesitant. In fact, Rogan’s paperwork sat on the table for two weeks without until one day he came home to find the missing component completed: his mother’s signature.

“I found out years later that my brother had persuaded her to sign it,” he said.

In the summer between his junior and senior years of high school, he traveled to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, for basic training. He called it a maturing experience and unlike anything he had ever endured.

“I think you learn a lot about values and reasons to trust and work with people,” he said.

He arrived on campus in 2008 after finishing military police school as a first-generation college student and ended up double majoring in political science and psychology. He joined ROTC for that first year and, of course, he was still committed to the Army Reserve, training with his unit regularly.

After his first year at UCF, his unit got activated and was deployed to Iraq.

For 10 months, before he had reached the age of 21, Rogan was responsible for mentoring, advising and training the Iraqi police, some of whom had been officers for decades.

Rogan said the experience helped him find his calling as a lawyer.

“When we were there, the Iraqis were still operating under Saddam Hussein’s penal code. But it was in a democracy. You can imagine there are some really big problems with that,” he said. “Since then, they’ve rewritten the penal code, but at the time, my job was to explain how to treat people in what we view as norms in a democratic society.”

Rogan returned to the United States, and about a week later, he was back in classes at UCF. The transition was understandably a major adjustment.

“It was a difficult time going from holding a gun one day to sitting in class with a pencil the next,” he said.

In addition, he withstood several injuries while overseas, including a traumatic brain injury from a vehicle explosion. Other injuries required surgeries upon his return.

But as he adjusted to studying full-time again, he found ways to apply what he had learned from the military to his everyday life.

His work ethic yielded exemplary grades in his classes. His professors, especially in courses like Middle Eastern politics, saw value in his real-life experiences for class discussions.

Rogan credits Director of Honors Advising Rex Roberts ’00 ’03MA for helping him integrate back into a routine schedule and UCF’s community.

Rogan went on to attend Georgetown Law and spent time working in Washington D.C., where he got involved with UCF Alumni’s chapter and eventually rekindled a friendship that later blossomed into a marriage with alumna Ashley Noland ’10.

“There can be a perception with a university like UCF that because we’re large, it’s not a community. That it’s like a factory. That was never my experience,” he said. “It was very much the opposite.”

His double-life in college and the Army Reserve helped lead him to his career as an associate for Smith Hulsey & Busey focusing in business litigation. His drive hasn’t gone unnoticed as he was selected as one of UCF Alumni’s 30 Under 30 this year.

At its center, that drive is all about putting the mission first and never accepting defeat. So as the United States prepares to commemorate its 63rd annual Veterans Day on Nov. 11, Rogan knows first-hand and respects the depth of duty and commitment of those who serve.

“Everybody who serves, no matter their branch or if they are active or reserve or whether they’ve ever been deployed, everybody who serves has sort of written a blank check to the country,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that they agree with any particular war or that they even want to go, but all those people, by signing on the dotted line, have agreed that they will. And they know that there’s a possibility you could be injured or killed. I have the upmost gratitude for everybody who has signed that line at all stages and all branches.”

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

1. President John C. Hitt announced last week that after 26 years of service to UCF, he will retire effective June 30, 2018. You can stay informed about the search process for UCF’s next president at https://www.ucf.edu/leadership/presidential-search/.

President Hitt holds a special place in many of our hearts. If you are interested in honoring his legacy as president, a friendly reminder that Giving Tuesday is coming up on Nov. 28. Consider making a gift to one of his top priorities and a fund that hits home for him, first-generation scholarships.

2. UCF was excited and honored to host Bill Gates and Melinda Gates on campus last week. The university is turning heads for its innovative technology and educational partnerships to make a high-quality college degree more affordable, accessible and attainable.

3. The No. 7 UCF women’s soccer team clinched the Knights’ first American Athletic Conference championship of the 2017-18 athletics season in front of 1,400 fans Friday at home. UCF rallied to a 1-1- tie against rival USF to win the regular season trophy and earned the rights to host The American’s Women’s Soccer Championship this week. As the top seed, UCF will play the winner of a quarterfinal matchup between UConn and Memphis on Friday at 7 p.m. For more information about the tournament, visit theamerican.org.

4. The UCF football team kept its win streak alive by scoring the most points in a game (73) in school history on Saturday against Austin Peay. At 7-0, the Knights are one of five teams in the country to still boast a perfect record this season, and as a result, jumped to No. 14 in the national rankings. Up next: UCF travels to SMU on Saturday for a 7:15 p.m. matchup on ESPN2. UCF Alumni Chapters from Dallas and Austin have joined forces to host a pregame tailgate for all Knights fans. Click here for all the details.

5. UCF will honor veterans by hosting numerous events and workshops throughout November. The events will recognize veterans for their service and provide the public opportunities to attend workshops and access veteran resources. Rated as “Military Friendly” by G.I. Jobs magazine, UCF is also ranked one of the best universities in the nation for veterans due to the support services available to veterans on their path to graduation.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Nov. 7

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1. The College of Medicine’s 10-year anniversary was one for the books. Missed the celebration? Check out the Facebook gallery. And now a word from Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the medical school:

“After a decade together, I am still continually amazed by what we can achieve when we work together. Ten years ago, President Hitt’s vision was of a medical school that would serve our Central Florida community by offering the very best in medical education, research and patient care. Today that dream has become a reality.”

2. Thanks to a solid defensive effort – no kidding, UCF safety Drico Johnson outscored Tulane himself – UCF Football nabbed a 37-6 win on Saturday to kick off its three-game homestand. The UCF Alumni Indoor Tailgate helped get gameday started (Photos: Indoor Tailgate | Game ), and this Saturday, you can do it all again. FAIRWINDS Alumni Center will open its doors at 9 a.m. for the noon kickoff against Cincinnati on ESPNU. #UCFansWear gold to the game. Out-of-towners, need a watch party?


3. In a salute to Veterans Day Weekend, UCF Football’s game Saturday is Military Appreciation Day. Military, veterans and first responders receive free entry to the game. Those looking to secure tickets are encouraged to do so ahead of Saturday by registering here. They will also be eligible to purchase tickets at a discounted rate for friends and family attending the game with them.

4. We’ve got three words for ya: Light Up UCF. It’s bigger and better than ever in its ninth year. The festivities begin Nov. 18 with a new light show featuring more than 30,000 lights and music. The nightly activities run through Jan. 7. More details.

5. Just in time for Election Day, Knightro’s latest bobblehead has been revealed, and he pulls off red, white and blue just as well as black and gold. One guaranteed way to get your hands on “Knightro For President” is to purchase men’s basketball season tickets. Speaking of basketball, heads up: the women’s team holds its home opener this Sunday at 2 p.m. and the men will tip off at CFE Arena a day later (Nov. 14) at 7 p.m.

UCF Salutes Veterans

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In honor of Veterans Day, the UCF Alumni Association thanks all of the members of our U.S. Armed Forces — past and present —
for their service, dedication and sacrifice.

Since 2001, 2.7 million troops have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nearly one in 10 returns with post-traumatic stress disorder. Within a year of returning home, three in 10 will be diagnosed.

We’re proud to share some of the great things our alma mater is doing to assist our men and women in uniform, including:

UCF RESTORES Clinical Research Center

As part of the UCF Department of Psychology in the College of Sciences, UCF RESTORES is a clinical research center dedicated to the study of all facets of anxiety, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, including etiology, psychopathology, treatment, resilience and prevention.

The following video highlights the remarkable success that the UCF RESTORES clinic is finding in helping veterans master traumatic memories:

Veterans Academic Resource Center

The Veterans Academic Resource Center is a one-stop solution for the needs of student veterans.

The center ensures student veterans access to all available campus resources, provides study space and special tutoring, helps faculty and staff understand these students’ unique needs, and provides them the tools needed to stay on track and complete their degrees.

The VARC has been designated as a center for excellence for veteran-student success. And, since 2011, UCF has been named a “Military-Friendly School” by G.I. Jobs.


A Month of Honor and Remembrance

UCF is honoring veterans all month long, with a commemorative ceremony and other activities, which, so far, have included an open house and student-veteran appreciation lunch at the Veterans Academic Resource Center, a free screening of the documentary “Debt of Honor: Disabled Veterans in American History,” a flag display on Memory Mall, and a Veterans Day parade at Universal Studios.

Still to come:

  • Saturday, Nov. 14 | Several UCF organizations and departments will participate in the City of Orlando Veterans Day Parade, honoring the men and women of the armed forces. This year’s parade will also commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.
  • Monday, Nov. 16 | Student-veterans are invited to attend Light Up UCF’s Military Appreciation Night. Contact Joshua Johnson at 407.823.5874 for more info.
  • Thursday, Nov. 19 | In gratitude of active military, reserves, veterans and first responders, they can register for complimentary tickets to the UCF vs. East Carolina football game for Military Appreciation Knight, and will also be extended to the UCF vs. USF game on Thursday, Nov. 26. GET TICKETS (Click on the “TICKETS” tab on the top banner, search “UCF Football” and select your seats. GOVX members will receive a complimentary ticket. Up to four additional tickets will be available at $20.)

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Nov. 9, 2015

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Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. The UCF Alumni Association and Career Services is hosting a Virtual Networking Hour tomorrow from 4-5 p.m., where participants can connect with fellow Knights working in different industries in their own backyards and around the world.
  2. To commemorate Veterans Day on Wednesday, UCF is honoring and remembering veterans during a special, month-long series of events.
  3. Kenyatta Rivers, ’88, ’90, Ph.D., associate professor in the UCF Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders in the College of Health and Public Affairs, is teaching students how to help children, adolescents and adults acquire effective speech, language and communication skills.
  4. Once again, UCF student-athletes are graduating at a higher rate than any other NCAA Division I FBS public institution in the nation, with a sixth-best mark overall.
  5. The UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management’s Knight-Thon team partnered with Pet Rescue by Judy to bring 14 shelter dogs to the Rosen campus for a Rent-a-Pup fundraiser that brought in more than $500 toward the team’s $3,000 goal, benefiting the Greater Orlando Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.