“Accessible green spaces make our communities more vibrant and livable. We are proud to work with UCF to support the UCF Arboretum and its programming.”

-Nick Miceli

Regional president for Florida Metro at TD Bank & board chair, TD Charitable Foundation

Living Laboratory

TD Charitable Foundation recently gave $10,000 to allow the UCF Arboretum to increase its outreach and build stronger ties to the community through family-friendly free Community Day events. The events offer a more structured way for visitors to get to know the wonders of the Arboretum, an 82-acre green space on campus and academic and research gem that provides hands-on opportunities for students and visitors to explore and learn about the native plant, animal and insect life of our Central Florida environment.

Community Days include a rotating schedule of learning stations, guided trail walks and seasonal themed hands-on projects and have been a resounding success. “We know green spaces provide countless social, health and economic benefits, which is why expanding access is so critical to making our communities more vibrant and livable,” says Nick Miceli, regional president for Florida Metro at TD Bank and board chair of the TD Charitable Foundation. “We are proud to support UCF and work with them to increase access to and engagement with our unique and beautiful green spaces for residents of East Orlando.” Read more about Community Day here.


IN MEMORIAM: James “Jim” Rosengren

Rosengren, a 1981 alumnus, with his wife, Julia, supported a wide range of programs across the university including making multi-million-dollar gifts to the College of Sciences, the College of Arts and Humanities and UCF Athletics.

A retired combat medic, Rosengren provided financial support and advice to UCF RESTORES, a program known nationally for its innovative PTSD treatment. The Rosengrens’ endowed support for UCF RESTORES helped ensure its future ability to provide treatment at no cost to its patients. The PTSD clinic was renamed the Rosengren Trauma Clinic at UCF RESTORES several years ago in honor of the Rosengrens’ generosity. 

“Jim and Julia’s generous support of UCF’s academic and athletics excellence will strengthen our university and community for generations,” says UCF President Alexander Cartwright. “Their passion for partnership with UCF RESTORES will continue to help veterans, first responders and others who suffer from PTSD regain their lives. I will always be thankful for how much Jim loved UCF and how our university was always ‘home’ for him.”

Athletics was also near to Rosengren’s heart. As a UCF student and ROTC cadet commander, he marched with the honor guard and fired a cannon to celebrate touchdowns in the downtown Citrus Bowl where the fledgling team played at the time. He continued to be a supporter of the Knights and UCF’s athletic programs throughout his life; his generosity helped create the on-field cabanas and the Rosengren Lounge in UCF’s stadium. 

For Rosengren, giving back to his alma mater was an honor. “For us to be able to take some of our wealth and put it into things I am passionate about, and Julia has become very passionate about, for me, there’s no better place,” Rosengren often said. “It’s like Dorothy said [in the Wizard of Oz], ‘There’s no place like home.’”

UCF provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs, speaking about Jim Rosengren, who passed away in March.

The generosity of Jim and Julia [Rosengren] has helped the university tremendously. Their support of programs across UCf and their commitment to our students, student-athletes and overall academic excellence will benefit lives and UCF’s upward trajectory for many years to come.”


The idea that international experience opens us to intercultural understanding is a driving force behind Jonathan and Nancy Wolf’s establishment of a $1 million endowment — the Jonathan & Nancy Wolf Fund for Global Dialog — to support UCF’s Global Perspectives and International Initiatives (GPII). GPII connects the UCF campus and the Central Florida community to global cultures, ideas and information and acts as a think tank supporting UCF’s international programs, global partnerships, collaborative research with faculty and more.

The Wolfs are committed to supporting philanthropic efforts locally and globally. In 2018, they created a partnership between UCF and the American University of Cairo (AUC), where Jonathan Wolf studied and now serves on the board of trustees. The partnership paved the way for a reciprocal study abroad agreement, the Nancy and Jonathan Wolf Global Academic Initiative. In addition to the student exchange component, the Wolfs also support other areas of cooperation, including faculty visits, exchanges and development programs.

“The Wolfs’ endowment will help foster greater intercultural understanding, support innovative international education and create more engaged citizens of the world,” says David Dumke, executive director, UCF GPII. “We’re grateful to the Wolfs for their ongoing support that has enabled GPII to grow as a hub for advancing UCF’s international profile and engagement.”

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry but… it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.”

-Maya Angelou

Helios Education Foundation and UCF Invest $3.25 Million in New Downtown Scholars Initiative 

The number of students from Jones, Evans and Oak Ridge high schools in Orlando who earn degrees from UCF may soon increase, thanks to a $2 million grant from Helios Education Foundation. The partnership between Helios and UCF launches the UCF Downtown Scholars Initiative (UCF DSI) to create new pathways to success at UCF for qualified students at the target schools. Inspired by Helios’ leadership and generosity, the university is also contributing funds to the new initiative, resulting in a combined investment of $3.25 million.

“Through this partnership with Helios, we are opening educational pathways that unleash the potential of these students and empower them to pursue excellence, earn success and boost their upward mobility,” says UCF President Alexander N. Cartwright.

Pictured: 2022 UCF DSI students


“I feel very proud and grateful for the opportunity. UCF has always been the school I wanted to attend, because I grew up here in Orlando, so when I heard about this program, I knew I had to jump on it. I’m really excited to be a Knight.”


Participant in UCF Downtown Scholars Initiative


Fundraising launches for the new, permanent home with expanded space and cutting-edge technology to combat the nursing shortage and foster interdisciplinary research

The Board of Trustees approved the use of state-allocated funds to begin the planning and design phase for the projected 90,000-square-foot College of Nursing building at the UCF Academic Health Sciences Campus in Lake Nona.

With state funding estimated to pay for less than half of the new building — the Florida Legislature allocated $29 million to UCF for the new building during the 2022 legislative session with the total cost estimated to be just under $64 million — the college will launch a strategic fundraising campaign to secure private support for the project. Once funding is secured and planning goals are met, the college will break ground on the new building, which is anticipated to open during the 2025-2026 academic year.

The new home of the College of Nursing will sit on the 50-acre property already home to the UCF College of Medicine and the UCF Lake Nona Medical Center. Preliminary plans include classrooms as well as state-of-the-art learning labs for health assessment, essential skills and virtual reality located in an expanded space for the College of Nursing’s accredited Simulation, Technology, Innovation & Modeling Center, an international leader in providing high-quality simulation experiences to prepare students for clinical practice.

“UCF’s College of Nursing leverages the innovation and collaboration our university is known for to educate the nurse caregivers, researchers and educators of tomorrow,” says President Alexander N. Cartwright. “We are incredibly excited to have our nursing students join our Academic Health Sciences Center in Lake Nona, and we look forward to increasing the excellence of our programs and our impact in our community through the partnerships and opportunities that this move will enable.”

The new building is a much-needed investment for the region and the state, both of which are facing a critical healthcare worker shortage. The Florida Hospital Association projects a shortage of 37,400 RNs statewide by 2035 and has actively advocated to increase the supply of quality faculty and campus resources for nursing programs. The association estimates that an additional 2,300 RNs are needed to enter the workforce each year to address the projected state shortage.

“This is an incredible milestone for UCF, and we’re laser focused on moving from vision to reality,” says Mary Lou Sole, dean of the College of Nursing. “This is a transformational project that has wide-reaching impact for our region, and we will need the support of our entire community to help us reach our goal of educating more Knight nurses to positively impact more patient lives, and guide 21st century healthcare.”

UCF already graduates the most newly licensed registered nurses annually than any other institution in the State University System, with approximately 260 Knight nurses entering the workforce each year. Once the building is complete and fully funded, the College of Nursing expects to increase enrollment for new nurses and future nurse educators and grow the number of existing UCF faculty.

Approximately 85% of UCF nursing alumni live and work in Florida, and almost 60% live and work in the six-county Central Florida area.

“The community is growing,” says Sole, who notes that Florida’s population is rising at rapid rates that exceed the national average. “Our population is also aging, which is increasing demand on our healthcare systems. As a region, we need to be able to provide high quality, compassionate care to our residents who live here now and those coming here in the future.”

That’s where more Knight nurses will help. UCF’s nursing graduates are well prepared for clinical practice, consistently surpassing the national average on the licensure examination for RNs and nurse practitioners.


An artist rendering of a skills lab inside the future UCF College of Nursing building in Lake Nona, Florida.

“UCF’s College of Nursing leverages the innovation and collaboration our university is known for to educate the nurse caregivers, researchers and educators of tomorrow.”

-Alexander N. Cartwright

President, University of Central Florida

With additional faculty, staff and space, the college will also grow enrollment capacity for its doctoral and master’s degree programs. These programs help educate more advanced practice providers, nurse leaders and executives, and nurse educators who will fuel the pipeline of nursing faculty, which is essential for combating the nursing shortage.

The College of Nursing has been leading the charge in educating the next generation of nurses since 1979 and is ranked among the best in the nation. It is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and recently was one of nine programs worldwide — and the only one in Florida — to receive an endorsement from the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning.

This story originally appeared on UCF Today.



An artist rendering of the future 90,000-square-foot College of Nursing building at the UCF Academic Health Sciences Campus in Lake Nona, Florida.



 Jeff Moore is the dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. He joined UCF’s faculty in 1994 as the university’s first full-time percussion professor, and prior to his appointment as dean in 2013, served as the director of the newly created School of Performing Arts and chair of the music department. Under his leadership, both the theatre and music departments received national accreditation or reaccreditation. He continues to advance UCF’s profile in the arts community through his co-creation and involvement in UCF Celebrates the Arts, a multi-week festival that highlights UCF’s arts and interdisciplinary programs. He is an accomplished author, composer and arranger, an international performer, lecturer, clinician and soloist. Jeff and his wife, Mindy, are philanthropists dedicated to providing the finest arts education to students, taking them from the classroom to the stage and beyond. 

Why is music such an important part of people’s lives? 

Imagine the biggest event in your life – your wedding for example – and then imagine it without music. Or think of a great event in your life, and how it couldn’t possibly get any better and then suddenly you hear a great piece of music that just puts it over the top. Music provides those types of enhancements that just make life better. I think I felt that at a young age, which is why I was drawn to the drums at age 10.

Even after you expressed an interest in drums, you didn’t receive your first snare drum until after a year or so. Why was that?

When I told my dad I was interested in learning how to play the drums, he took me to a music shop. I went over to the big traps, all shiny brass and chrome, and my dad came up behind me and gave me a pair of drumsticks and a small rubber disk shaped like a stop sign. It was a drum pad and he told me to practice on that and get good at it first. Persevere, he said. I learned it’s hard to persevere on a rubber pad. I kept at it for a year, but instead of making music, I was making thuds. It’s just not the same thing. My dad was satisfied, though, and I finally got my first snare drum. A year after that, I got my first drum kit.

Your high school band director recognized that you had some talent and suggested you pursue a more well-rounded musical education, even though your heart was set on becoming the world’s best drummer. How did you accomplish that?

My high school band director, Pat Day, connected me with Galen Leonard, a principal from the San Jose Symphony, which led to more lessons from the legendary Tony Cirone, a percussionist with the San Francisco Symphony. He was not just a great teacher, but he has had a great career. Everyone in the percussion world knew his name, and he has written some very well-regarded books. I thought, “I want to have a career like this guy!”

Have you achieved that career goal?

I’m not sure that I will ever reach Tony’s stature, but after I had been studying music for a while, I did some arranging and composing, wrote a couple books and designed some mallets that have my name on them. One time, I was traveling in Arkansas, and one of the musicians I met came up to me, showed me his mallets, and said, ‘Hey, I know you!’ So that felt pretty good. 

Scholarships for Percussion Students

Jeff and Mindy Moore recently created two scholarships named for Ron and Debbie Dunham (Mindy’s parents), and Howard and Mary Giurich (Mindy’s grandparents) to provide support for students studying percussion at UCF. Because they are endowed, both scholarships will last in perpetuity. 

 “Jeff and I wanted to establish these scholarships so that my parents and grandparents would never be forgotten,” says Mindy. “I was not musically inclined at all — I freeze up even when singing ‘Happy Birthday’ — but they enthusiastically supported me all my life.” 

 When Jeff and Mindy attended Lincoln High School in San Jose, California, they were part of the school’s marching band – Jeff, on percussion, and Mindy, a member of the color guard. In preparation for the Lincoln Lions’ football games, Jeff, Mindy and the other students would spend countless hours on the field, learning the complex moves involved with the crowd-pleasing halftime performances.  

 Those performances would likely not have been possible without the support of people like the Dunhams and the Giuriches who also spent long hours behind the scenes, readying the band for its time in the spotlight. When Mindy joined the marching band, they “joined” the marching band too. “My grandfather was a skilled carpenter who built his home in San Jose, and he also lent his craft to constructing a platform for the drum major on the high school field.”  

 The Dunhams and the Giuriches supported Mindy and her brother wherever they could. The Moores hope that students who receive the new scholarship will also feel similarly encouraged to continue studying their passion.  “My parents and grandparents were always there,” Mindy says. “In a way, they are still here, supporting a new group of music students.”

To support music students in the College of Arts & Humanities please visit

Pictured: Howard & Mary Giurich, Ron & Debbie Dunham, Jeff & Mindy Moore.

As a musician, you learned the art of improvisation. Are there parallels to working in higher education?

Improvisation in music, which some people may think means creating music out of thin air, really happens within a framework of parameters that you can work within. It is very difficult to be creative when you have no framework. I prefer to improvise within a structure, as a supporting character to help lift the group up. This is a great metaphor for working in administration and with our students as well as working in music. In the former situations, I often need to improvise to get a point across. I have different ways of communicating with different personalities. I think it is important for me to know what is meaningful to others and what will help me connect with and facilitate other people’s excellence — not just with our students but also with our administrators.

Was there ever a time when improvising on a piece led to an important lesson in humility?

I was in my sophomore year at the University of North Texas. I was performing Clair Omar Musser’s Etude in C, a solo piece, from memory. It’s a very fast piece, and, as it turns out, it was the first time I had a brain lapse during a performance. I know now that it happens to all of us. But in at that moment, I was thinking, ‘you can’t remember? What’s going on??’ and your brain freaks out a little. It’s part of the learning process, of course. The next time, and the next, you learn how to recover from your mistakes based on your past experiences. The first time though, my ego was tied up in it. I was feeling very low. I was walking down the hallway and passed my professor’s office. Ron Fink called to me and said, ‘That was an interesting etude, I never heard it like that before.’ He then shared a similar time when he was playing a Bach piece.  His lesson, and the lesson that I have tried to share with my students, is ‘How do you deal with adversity?’ You can pivot, or you can just shut down. And I think Professor Fink handled it in just the right way. He treated it like, welcome to the club.

You and your wife, Mindy, have shared your generosity with UCF over the years and have also provided for UCF in your estate plans. Can you talk about your philosophy of philanthropy? 

My family wasn’t wealthy, and I was the first in my family to go to college, so I knew that if I wanted to study percussion, I would need academic scholarships. Fortunately, at the University of North Texas, I received scholarships that covered my tuition and housing. I never met the people who funded these scholarships, but their generosity and foresight really opened the world to me – literally. I met other musicians from across the country who had also benefited from scholarship programs, and people who came to our music programs also benefited from these unknown donors. It was such a valuable investment that when you look at the different ways you can use money to make a difference, I don’t know if there is a higher return on investment than that – you change someone’s life, and you change the lives that the person intersects with. That’s a huge impact.

Mindy and I are aware that had it not been for philanthropy, we would not have been fortunate to live the lives we have had. We have made gifts to UCF and to other organizations throughout the years, and we have also made UCF a beneficiary in our estate plans. Knowing that future students will benefit after we are gone gives us peace of mind. 

First-generation alumna creates scholarship to honor parents

It was a given that Amy Fluman Rettig ’89 would go to college. Although her parents did not have that chance, they made sure their four children would have the opportunity. A new scholarship created by Rettig — the Fluman-Rettig Scholarship for First-Generation Students — honors her parents and their commitment to education.

Rettig’s dad, Albert Fluman, was the youngest of 12 children and grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania. He served as a chief petty officer/navigator in the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict and married Rettig’s mom, Dee Finn, when he returned home in 1957.

The family moved to Hernando County, Florida, when Rettig was in high school. Her parents were hesitant to let her attend UCF because there wasn’t any on-campus housing available when Amy registered, and they did not want her living off-campus. Rettig still has letters that her father wrote to Trevor Colbourn, then-president of UCF, expressing his concern about the UCF housing situation in 1984.

As it turned out, however, Rettig became one of the first occupants of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority house, the first Greek house on campus. It is also where she made her closest friends. “My time at UCF changed my life,” says Rettig. “I am still best friends with the people I met back then. And of course, I wouldn’t have the career that I’ve had without the education I received thanks to UCF.”

Rettig, who serves on the Nicholson School of Communication and Media and UCF Alumni boards, received her UCF degree in communications and is the senior vice president for community engagements at Nielsen, where she has worked for more than 28 years. She and her husband, Jeff, are parents to Nellie, a Burnett Honors College student.

When Nellie was getting ready to start college the Rettigs began to explore ways they could help students who were dreaming of going to UCF.  They knew the time was right to create the scholarship to benefit first-generation college students, and they did not need to look far for inspiration.

“When the pandemic hit, I was fortunate to have my parents living close by,” says Amy. “They were so happy knowing that Nellie was heading off to college soon; they watched her grow up and were instrumental in helping take care of her while my husband and I worked.” As the pandemic progressed, Dee Fluman’s health began to fail, and she passed away in 2021; Albert died this past March. They had been married for 63 years.

“We have made other charitable contributions throughout the years. but creating the scholarship in 2020 is the most meaningful gift I have ever made in my life,” says Rettig. “UCF has given me more than I could ever give back, and it was just a very simple way to show my appreciation.”

To support first-generation students through the Fluman-Rettig scholarship please visit

Pictured: Amy Rettig, with her parents, Albert and Dee Fluman; Amy with daughter Nellie Rettig, a Burnett Honors student.

Nurse leader supports and inspires Knight nurses to follow their dreams

A medical misdiagnosis led Kelli Lipscomb ’11 ’16MS ’21PhD to a career in healthcare. After experiencing slurred speech and balance issues, Lipscomb was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the age of 20 and told that time was of the essence. Lipscomb already knew that she wanted to go to college; she did not expect, however, that her educational journey would be accelerated.

Lipscomb followed her doctors’ advice to heart and began an arduous educational path that took her from a bachelor’s degree to a doctorate in 10 years. A first-generation college student, she had already begun pursuing a degree in communications and public relations, but after receiving her diagnosis, she was drawn to the medical field and switched her focus to nursing school.

After 10 years of being on powerful medications for multiple sclerosis, Lipscomb learned that she did not have MS but a severe vitamin deficiency. The news solidified her decision to continue in healthcare. She worked in a high acuity intensive care unit in Orlando for a few years after graduation. It was rewarding but grueling.  “I loved my job. I love critical care nursing. I love everything about it,” she says. “But I felt like I could make a better impact by teaching and empowering students.”

She received her master’s degree in 2016 and began working as an adjunct instructor at the UCF College of Nursing. Her colleagues told her she was a natural teacher, and she should apply for her PhD, so she did. She was one of four PhD students at the college to receive a full scholarship, thanks to three grants from the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation, and GENEX Services, Inc.

Because she received scholarships as a doctoral student, she understands the importance of philanthropy. As a UCF donor, Lipscomb gives back to the UCF programs that have inspired her over the years. She made her first gift to UCF in 2011, the year she graduated with her bachelor’s degree, and has given regularly ever since. Recently, she has supported the healthcare simulation program in the UCF College of Nursing. “UCF has my heart,” Lipscomb says. “My motto boils down to, ‘if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.’ And there are a lot of students that need a leg up.”

That philosophy of giving back was informed by one of Lipscomb’s favorite instructors, Dr. Betty Mayer, ’95BSN ’96MSN, a nursing professor at UCF’s Daytona Beach Campus, who retired in 2015. When Lipscomb graduated with her master’s degree, Mayer gave her a special gold ring that her husband had given her when she had received her own master’s degree from UCF. And when Lipscomb was scheduled to receive her doctoral degree, Mayer also sent her own regalia for her to wear. “As an older and experienced RN, I recognized Kelli’s potential for learning about, and the education of, others in the field,” says Mayer. “I am confident that her abilities will now be applied to mentoring others in nursing excellence.”

“UCF is such a part of who I am that I still talk to people that I went to undergrad with, and whenever I meet nursing students, I encourage them as much as I can,” Lipscomb says. “I tell them: ‘Follow your dreams. Just keep going, keep moving forward. Keep charging on.’”

To support the College of Nursing please visit

Recent grad provides opportunities through service and scholarship

A few years ago, Sean Farrell ’22MNM was unsure whether he had the academic qualifications to be accepted into a master’s program at UCF. Today, he is not only a recent graduate of the nonprofit management program but a member of the university family, helping to ensure student success.

“When I was accepted into the program, I can’t tell you how grateful I was and how much of a new lease on life and an opportunity it gave me” he says. Shortly after beginning the program, Farrell was encouraged by friends to consider working at UCF. He served for more than three years as the associate director of advancement for the College of Engineering and Computer Science and has recently become director for advancement for Student Development and Academic Success in the College of Undergraduate Studies — raising funds for programs and projects across the university that foster students’ academic, personal, and professional growth.

“I get to work on some really incredible gifts together with colleagues and some of our university leaders,” he says. “I wouldn’t have dreamed of having those opportunities otherwise. This person who wasn’t even sure if UCF would accept me as a student is now sitting in Millican Hall helping undergraduate students through the work I do. The irony is not lost on me.”

Between their gratitude for the opportunities UCF offered and a shared passion for philanthropy, Farrell and his wife, Valerie, knew they wanted to give back. That’s when they decided to establish a scholarship fund for undergraduate nonprofit management students. The Farrell Nonprofit Opportunity Scholarship will cover tuition, books and fees, and also provide teachable moments for their two young children, 7-year-old Peter and 5-year-old Colleen, on the importance of both academic excellence and philanthropy.

Farrell knows firsthand that going into the nonprofit industry is challenging, especially in the first few years. “The more we can do to invest in our nonprofit students, the more the effect will multiply across the community,” he says. “When Valerie and I talked about it, we kept coming back to the word ‘opportunity.’ It’s because of the transformational opportunities that UCF gave me these last few years to chart a different path professionally and academically that I’m where I am today.”

To support nonprofit management students, please visit



Frank and Etta Jean Juge’s impact on the university will be felt for decades

Dr. Frank and Etta Jean Juge are charter Knights who met while working in the chemistry department — Frank as a professor and Etta Jean as a departmental secretary. Frank held numerous administrative positions at UCF including dean of Graduate Studies and vice provost, helped establish the Burnett Honors College, developed wine courses for Rosen College of Hospitality Management and taught chemistry before retiring from UCF after more than 50 years of service, in 2018. Etta Jean, a 1989 UCF grad, worked at the university off and on for 20 years and later worked in the software industry. 

They both cherish their memories from their time at UCF and hold special fondness for the many people along the way who touched their lives, especially Graeme Baker, the first chair of the chemistry department who hired them, and Leslie Ellis, the chair of the biology department who was later elevated to provost.

 In 2002, Etta Jean learned that Frank’s wife, Beth, had passed away. Beth Juge, too, had been an integral part of the early days of UCF and was well-loved by the campus community. Etta Jean donated to a scholarship established in Beth’s name — the Beth Juge Memorial Scholarship, supporting STEM students in the Burnett Honors College.  

The donation prompted a letter from Frank. In the letter, Frank thanked her for her gift in Beth’s memory, and had jotted down his email in case she ever wanted to catch up. They met for lunch a few weeks later. That fortuitous meeting has turned into two decades of a loving partnership in which they not only support each other, but also work together on causes that are important to them, especially philanthropy. 

Their latest gift to UCF’s InSpire Scholars Program in the Burnett Honors College helps eliminate socioeconomic status as a barrier to educational mobility. The Juges have also generously supported many other areas over two decades, including study abroad through the Dr. Frank Juge Study Abroad Scholarship, Knights Helping Knights and Rosen College of Hospitality Management pantries, and full-time doctoral students studying hospitality management at Rosen College through an endowment they established several years ago, the Etta Jean & Frank Juge Graduate Fellowship Endowment.  

Outside of UCF, the Juges have established an endowed scholarship at Frank’s alma mater in New Orleans and scholarships for graduating students at a high school in Etta Jean’s community in East Tennessee. The importance of mentoring and giving back can be traced not only to the people they met early in their careers — including Mary Good, Frank’s professor from the University of New Orleans, and Etta Jean’s mentors at Y-12 National Security complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee — but also to the lessons from their parents.

“Frank and I both had humble beginnings,” Etta Jean says. “My dad had a scholarship for engineering, but his mother asked him to come home [from college] and help with his two younger siblings. He never got back, [to the university], and he would have been a wonderful engineer. My mother didn’t believe college was an option for her, but she poured all her knowledge into me and my sister,” she says.  “We are happy to help future Knights achieve their educational dreams and to continue Charging On.” 

To join the Juges in support of UCF students, please visit: 

College of Business Hall of Famer invests in first-gen students, new Fin Tech program

A successful hedge fund manager has an instinct for great investments. For Barry Miller ‘95, the investment in his UCF education has been a nexus of wonderful returns: lifelong friendships, hugely profitable business ventures   and where he met the love of his life.

“Many of the skills and things I learned nearly 30 years ago during my time at UCF, I still use to this day,” Miller says. “UCF helped instill in me a work ethic — that you work hard, appreciate things and stay humble.”

Miller is a co-founder, board member and president of Voloridge Investment Management, a $9 billion hedge fund firm in Jupiter, Florida. He is a Knight surrounded by Knights: He graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree in finance, his wife Rosalyn “Rosie” Miller ’95, a speech pathologist, holds bachelor’s degree in communications sciences & disorders, and his fraternity brother and former roommate, Sean Hayes ’95, is Voloridge’s VP of Business Development.

The Millers are longtime UCF partners; over the past two years, the couple has significantly supported scholarships for women in STEM and first-generation students, the UCF Athletic Director’s Fund and UCF’s new FinTech program. Barry recently spoke at the 2022 FinTech Summit in the lead-up to the launch of the state’s first Master of Science in FinTech this fall and often mentors UCF business students in The EXCHANGE, the College of Business’s idea and networking hub. He also serves as a volunteer judge for the college’s Joust competition.

To support the College of Business visit


 Photo: Barry ’95 and Rosie ’95 Miller at the recent College of Business Hall of Fame dinner

“UCF helped instill in me a work eithic — that you work hard, appreciate things and stay humble.”

-Barry Miller

“We are grateful for alumni like Barry and Rosie Miller, who give to UCF with a future-forward and entrepreneurial spirit. Their support bolsters the flourishing FinTech industry around Orlando with skilled graduates. And their leadership helps set an example for how alumni can ‘invest in the best,’ ensuring UCF’s student-athletes, first-generation students and women in STEM are supported for generations to come.”

-Paul Jarley

Dean, UCF College of Business


When Sebastian Strawser, who is now 28, was ready to go to college, his parents, Mike and Ann, wanted to ensure that Sebastian’s higher education experience was meaningful to him.  

 “Sebastian has Down syndrome, and he is legally blind,” says Mike Strawser, professor and chair of UCF’s Department of Philosophy. Sebastian was used to challenging himself and defying expectations, had completed his high school education and was looking forward to going to college like his siblings. Thanks to UCF’s Inclusive Education Services (IES) Program, he was able to do so. 

 “We never thought Sebastian was going to live on campus,” says Mike. “But the director of the IES program at the time really encouraged us to consider having Sebastian live on campus and he did so for three years.”  

Sebastian quickly learned to navigate campus. “Toward the end of his time on campus,” says Mike, “he was helping new students in the program find their way around. It was remarkable how he learned to navigate the world.”  

The Strawsers felt comfortable letting their son attend UCF for many reasons. “Going to UCF was the perfect environment for him,” says Ann. “In addition to the classes, there were restaurants, concerts and sporting events for him to attend, and it was safe. We were nervous at first, but we decided to let him fly and figure it out for himself.”  

Since its 2015 inception, 32 students have completed UCF’s Inclusive Education Services Program and have gone on to the next chapter of their lives. Sebastian has a new job at Orlando Health, working as a linen technician in the housekeeping department, where he helps keep the towels stacked for the medical staff. He previously worked for UCP Bailes Early Childhood Academy and for UCF.  “I think I love my new job at Orlando Health,” says Sebastian. “I have good coworkers and a great boss.”  

“This has changed his life in so many ways,” says Ann. “We know that going to UCF was one of the best experiences of his life.” Adds Mike: “We are so grateful that Sebastian has had this wonderful opportunity — he became much more independent and self-confident.”

To support Inclusive Education Services please visit


IMPACT is published three times a year by UCF Advancement for alumni, friends and partners of the university
who have made philanthropic commitments.

Ron Piccolo, PhD



STAFF WRITERS David Dadurka ’12MA, Camille Dolan ’98, Char Eberly

CONTRIBUTING WRITER Danielle Hendrix ’15

DESIGNER Aileen Solá

Correspondence and address updates to: [email protected] or IMPACT, 12424 Research Parkway, Suite 250, Orlando, FL 32826

Please visit for our magazine archives.

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