Members of UCF’s President’s Circle — alumni, friends and community partners who make annual gifts between $1,000 and $24,999 — were celebrated for their commitment to the university on Friday night, April 8, at a gathering held at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando. Also joining them were Trailblazing Knights, alumni from UCF’s first five graduating classes.
Karen Cochran, interim vice president for advancement and interim CEO of the UCF Foundation, welcomed guests and expressed gratitude to everyone for their partnership. UCF President Alexander Cartwright and First Lady Melinda Cartwright thanked President’s Circle members for their time, talent and treasure, saying “Without you, we could never do all that we are called to do for our students and our state.” He recognized the Trailblazing Knights who believed in the then-young university and who helped blaze a trail that would lead UCF to being recognized as a public university known for innovation and collaboration.
Reflecting on the power of community and what can be accomplished when we work together, Cartwright reported on the incredible results for UCF’s Day of Giving, which took place the day before the President’s Circle event. More than 3.7 million dollars were raised by more than 4,400 donors during the 24-hour fundraising event on April 7. “What we see and feel at UCF is a university that is vibrant and on the move,” said Cartwright. “And you — our alumni and donors — are with us every step of the way.” Some of the most popular areas of support were displayed on large banners in the hall, including Limbitless Solutions, UCF Athletics, Knights Pantry and First-Generation Scholarships.
Guests heard about philanthropy in action as Dr. Bari Hoffman, associate dean of clinical affairs and professor in the College of Health Professions, introduced Dr. Hologram — a state-of-the-art patient simulation tool funded in part by a gift from Brooks Rehabilitation. Hoffman shared information about the technology, which provides a transformative learning experience for students, and invited event attendees to engage with it.
President’s Circle members also had the opportunity to experience UCF Celebrates the Arts, which takes place from April 5-16 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The UCF Opera, introduced by Michael Wainstein, director, UCF’s School of Performing Arts, performed from “Mozart First and Last!” an adaptation of two works from early and late in Mozart’s career, and the Flying Horse Big Band led by UCF’s Director of Jazz Studies, Pegasus Professor and Grammy award-winning saxophonist Jeff Rupert, performed music inspired by Rupert’s weekly radio program on WUCF 89.9 FM, Jazz and the American Spirit.