“Every significant achievement in our history can be credited to the strength and passion of this community,” UCF president Alexander N. Cartwright said to 300 guests gathered for the launch of The Constellation Society on September 10, 2022.
The Constellation Society is the university’s new donor recognition program for those whose personal lifetime philanthropy to UCF totals $100,000 or more. The society celebrates the accomplishments their donations have created at UCF and communicates the impact of donor generosity.
Thanks to UCF donors, the building of all four of UCF’s campuses; several university schools, centers, and institutes; construction of UCF’s stadium and other sports venues, funding for UCF Athletics initiatives; 125 permanently endowed student scholarships, numerous endowed faculty positions, and countless other high-impact initiatives throughout the colleges and units have been made possible.
“Recognition in this society is distinctive, and it signals a truly remarkable level of investment in this university,” said Rod Grabowski, senior vice president for Advancement & Partnerships and CEO of the UCF Foundation. “Our launch event was about community, about legacy, and about how the kindness and compassion of donors to UCF can improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in our region — and countless people around the world.”
The audience heard from students and faculty whose lives have been directly impacted by their generosity. UCF Student Government President Daniella Lopez said to the crowd, “Every student here has a passion and has had their own journey. That’s 68,500 journeys that would not be possible without your support. Thank you for building this brilliant community. Thank you for changing our lives.”
Lopez also thanked donors for their impact on students like Student Government Vice President Xelayris Martinez, whose family rebuilt their lives in Central Florida after suffering the devastation brought by Hurricane Maria in 2017. “Without the help of scholarships and UCF’s financial support, UCF probably would not have been a possibility for Xely, and that would have been our loss,” Lopez said. “Xely has given countless hours of service to our university, distinguished herself in her studies, and has been an inspirational example of servant leadership in student government. I am grateful to this university and to you who made it possible for her to be here.”
Pegasus Professor Peter Delfyett, a recent inductee to the National Academy of Engineering, explained how private donations to UCF, a public research university, “create strategic partnerships that turn concepts and ideas into solutions that meet critical needs for society and help us all live more healthy, comfortable, productive lives.”
The launch event included performances of inspirational songs by Rachel Potter ’08, a UCF alumna, Broadway star and Nashville recording artist. Potter was accompanied by student vocalists in the UCF Singing Knights, a group led by Director of Choral Activities, Jeffery Redding. The program concluded with a toast to UCF’s continued success led by Rick Walsh ’77 ’83MS, a founding member of UCF’s Board of Trustees, a holder of an honorary doctorate from UCF, and chairman and CEO of Knob Hill Companies.
The Constellation Society name was inspired by UCF’s motto “Reach for the Stars” and by the university’s notable contributions to space flight and exploration. Members of the society will enjoy ongoing communication and engagement with UCF to keep them well informed about the impact of their gifts on the university, students, faculty and staff, and the community. Donors in The Constellation Society are honored at five different levels named after stars and constellations iconic to UCF: Polaris level (gifts $5 million and more), Pegasus level (gifts $1 million to $499,999), Orion level (gifts $500,000 to $999,999), Sirius level ($250,000 to $499,999) and Gemini level ($100,000 to $249,999). The inaugural membership includes 759 members.