From scholarships that support students from minority backgrounds to funds that will help increase access to interdisciplinary research and an affordable, quality education, donations of every dollar amount help UCF empower Knights’ successes. Here are just a few of the generous donations the university benefitted from this year.
Inspired by their personal experiences at their alma mater, Bianca Deslouches ’11, Elisabeth Brown ’11 ’16MPA, Kersten Busche ’11, Katrina Cesaire ’10 ’14MBA and Neola Occenad ’11 all made their first gifts to UCF in a big way: They created the Kayak Friends and Family Fund with the intent of helping advance historically underrepresented communities. The $1,000 scholarship annually will be awarded to students who are in the John T. Washington Honor Society or Black Student Union.
Once the scholarship was formalized in the spring, Deslouches’ shared the news on social media, and it happened to catch the eye of Sean Bryant ’12. Compelled to give back to other Knights, Bryant, along with Dedrix Daka ’08, Evan Easterling ’12, Ronnie Weaver ’11 and Michael Pazmino, who earned his associate’s degree in 2009, created The Sons of T3 Scholarship. The gift will supply a $1,000 scholarship annually to students in one of the nine NPHC fraternities or sororities on UCF’s campus.
Thanks to a $100,000 gift from Electronic Arts (EA), an endowed scholarship was created to benefit students in the Nicholson School of Communication and Media in the College of Sciences. Beginning in Fall 2022, the annual EA Inclusion in Gaming Endowed Scholarship will encourage the pursuit of video game industry careers for students in interactive entertainment and gaming programs at UCF.
To support interdisciplinary healthcare innovation at UCF, the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation gifted $300,000 to the university. The donation is the first major programmatic gift to the Academic Health Sciences Center since it was created in 2018 and will support the UCF Genius Innovation Challenge, a new initiative designed to promote synergy through interdisciplinary approaches and solutions.
In UCF’s best Giving Tuesday yet, more than 870 donors from all over the nation contributed over $1.16 million. The funds will benefit a range of areas that support student success, social mobility and innovative research. A $1 million gift from Mark L. Plaumann ’74 ’79MBA and wife Marilyn E. Wilson will be used for an endowed scholarship fund for first-generation College of Business students. Plaumann, who studied accounting and business at UCF, and his wife have donated to the university for more than 30 years.
Philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, announced a $40 million unrestricted gift to UCF that will strengthen the university’s focus on fostering social mobility while developing the skilled talent needed to advance industry across our state and beyond. This is the largest gift to UCF in its 58-year history.
To support student scholarships, athletics, innovative research and other efforts at UCF, visit foundation.ucf.edu.