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Philanthropy lights the way for Knights' success

On UCF Day of Giving 2022, Knights raised over $3.7 million — the most in university history. More than 4,400 donors joined the community-driven effort with Knights across the globe supporting the university and its many areas that aim to solve the world’s most significant challenges.

UCF Day of Giving contributions highlight black-and-gold pride — and they help support our local community, expand student scholarships, power championship athletics, enhance the university’s global reputation, and fuel innovative research and inspiring creative works.

UCF’s record-setting Day of Giving was celebrated near and far, with gifts pouring in from Australia, New Zealand and Italy. At a local level, the festivities continued in-person as Knights gathered to celebrate the day at several events across UCF’s campuses.

It’s amazing to experience this (day on campus) before graduation,” says Joylene Calderon, a senior health sciences student who has received scholarships from UCF. “As a first-generation student, I don’t have financial support I can rely on to pay my tuition, so receiving scholarships is great. Thank you, donors, for your continuous support and for being so selfless by giving to (causes that empower) students like me.”

“We asked for a ‘little help from our friends’ this year, and our friends delivered,” says Jeff Moore, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “We are thankful for the support, which will provide more opportunities for groups like the Marching Knights, boost scholarships so students can focus on their studies, and allow us to ‘Charge On’ with high priority projects like facility improvements and research initiatives.”

Amplifying the success of the university’s sports programs and student-athletes, more than $1.3 million raised for Athletics will help the organization transition into the Big 12 by 2024. UCF Day of Giving gifts will accelerate UCF Athletics’ Mission XII — an initiative aiming to provide championship-caliber services to support student-athletes’ careers and to position the university to win conferences and national championships.

Our Mission XII initiative provides a roadmap for all of us as we anticipate the opportunities ahead of us as a Big 12 Conference member,” says Terry Mohajir, UCF’s vice president and director of Athletics. “On a day dedicated to creating support for (areas across UCF, like) UCF Athletics, these gifts also are helping to create life-changing opportunities for our students-athletes.

No matter the amount, areas supported or number of gifts, each contribution truly matters. While the challenge lasts one day, your contribution will last a lifetime by changing the trajectory of our Knights’ lives — and the world.

Thank you again, Knight Nation!

“As a first-generation student, I don’t have financial support I can rely on to pay my tuition, so receiving scholarships is great. Thank you, donors, for your continuous support and for being so selfless by giving to (causes that empower) students like me.”
Joylene Calderon

UCF senior, majoring in health sciences

Community Day Provides Green Space and Environmental Education

The UCF Arboretum, the largest public green space on campus, is an academic and research gem on 82 acres 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. The lush outdoor living laboratory enables students to engage in experience-based learning and educates the community about the importance of green space and gardens in urban settings — the need for which grew during the pandemic.

TD Charitable Foundation recently gave $10,000 to allow the Arboretum to increase their outreach and build stronger ties to the community through family-friendly free Community Day events. The Community Day events offer a more structured way for visitors to get to know the wonders of the Arboretum, including a rotating schedule of learning stations, guided trail walks, and seasonal themed hands-on projects. The most recent event, held on April 9, attracted several hundred participants throughout the day and included workshops on dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating, provided by the Urban Forestry Team called “How Old is That Tree,” a how-to plant propagation session called “Adopt a Prop,” and more. The Arboretum plans to hold another Community Day event in the fall.

“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. “The TD Charitable Foundation is 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.” 

Learn more:

Accessible green spaces make our communities more vibrant and livable, which is why the TD Charitable Foundation is proud to work with UCF to support the UCF Arboretum and its programming.

-Nick Miceli

Regional President for Florida Metro - TD Bank, and Board Chair - TD Charitable Foundation

Honoring Donors and Trailblazers 

Members of UCF’s President’s Circle were celebrated for their commitment to the university at a recent 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.

President’s Circle members also had the opportunity to experience UCF Celebrates the Arts, by attending the Flying Horse Big Band performance 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.

President’s Circle members heard about philanthropy in action from Dr. Bari Hoffman, associate dean of clinical affairs and professor in the College of Health Professions, who 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.

Without you, we could never do all that we are called to do for our students and our state.

-Alexander N. Cartwright

President, UCF

President’s Leadership Council (PLC) students (some of whom are pictured, above) serve the university by acting as a student advisory group to the president and represent UCF at various presidential events.

President’s Circle donors give between $1,000 and $24,999 annually to the University of Central Florida.

Judaic Studies Establishes First Endowed Scholarship Thanks to $52K Gift

UCF’s Department of Judaic Studies recently received a $52,000 gift from Temple Shalom of Deltona. A combination of current-use and endowed funds, the donation establishes the Temple Shalom of Deltona Endowed Scholarship in Judaic Studies and will not only benefit students for years to come, but also honor the incredible 50-year legacy of the temple. It is the program’s first endowed scholarship.

“This generous donation will have a major impact on students in the UCF Judaic Studies program, recognizing student excellence and helping students achieve their academic goals,” says Peter Larson, chair of the History Department. “It is the first such scholarship for Judaic Studies and represents the strengthening ties between UCF and the Central Florida Jewish community.”

Kenneth Hanson, the Tess and Abe Wise Endowed Professor in Judaic Studies, says that philanthropic contributions of the community have been instrumental from the outset of the program and continue to be a major source of strength for the program’s impact.

“This generous contribution will help actualize a dream we have nourished for many years, to establish an ongoing scholarship award for worthy students in our curriculum,” he says.  “We will forever be grateful to our donors for making this vision a reality.”

Pictured above (left to right): Dr. Kenneth Hanson, Tess and Abe Wise Endowed Professor for Judaic Studies; Irving Gussow, President, Temple Shalon of Deltona; and Jeff Golub, program assistant, Judaic Studies

Learn More about Judaic Studies at UCF

The purpose of the minor and certificate programs in Judaic Studies is to enable students to acquire a foundation of knowledge in Jewish history, the Hebrew language, Jewish philosophy, culture, religious beliefs, and political aspirations, and to understand the contribution of Judaism to Western civilization. The courses highlight major aspects of Jewish civilization, focusing on its interaction with other cultures and dwelling on the bodies of human knowledge upon which it draws.

$454K Gift of Technology to Enhance Education and Research

The College of Arts and Humanities recently received a gift-in-kind valued at $454K from the combined generosity of LMG and Entertainment Technology Partners, leaders in the delivery of entertainment services for virtual and live productions.

The donation of innovative technology includes two large LED screens, projectors and facial recognition body temperature scanners that will enable the college to enhance its on-stage performances and give students and faculty an opportunity to utilize these tools in their research practice.

“We are grateful to LMG for their donation and support of our students,” says Jeff Moore, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. “As we prepare the next generation of workforce for creative and technical industries, gifts like this one are invaluable – students across the university will now have access to equipment and tools they can use for research, learning and career preparation.”

The LED screens and projectors will benefit both the College of Arts and Humanities and Rosen College of Hospitality Management, as well as enhance Theatre UCF’s programming and full season of contemporary and classic plays and musicals each year — and beyond — at on-campus and off- campus productions presented by the UCF School of Performing Arts.

The university will also use the facial recognition body temperature scanners in research being done in UCF’s College of Medicine, College of Community Innovation and Education, College of Sciences, College of Health Professions and Sciences, College of Optics and Photonics, and the Office of Graduate Studies.

“The arts and humanities offer opportunities for students to let their creativity and imagination run wild. The world needs more of that!” says Les Goldberg, CEO of LMG. “I’m honored to invest in the future of our students and infuse innovation into the next generation.”

Neil Morrison, president of Systems Innovation, shares Goldberg’s passion for not only providing the best technology for virtual and in-person multimedia events, but also educating the next generation of artists who will help make those events happen.

“We’re thrilled to partner with UCF, providing students with the tools relevant to our industry, and hopefully sparking interest in future careers in event and entertainment technology,” says Morrison.

Pictured: Neil Morrison, president of Systems Innovation and Les Goldberg, CEO of LMG.


$75K Contribution from Duke Energy Florida Helps Build Future Leaders of Engineering and Computer Science

The funds will be used toward priority areas in UCF’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, such as the Engineering Leadership and Innovation Institute (eli2) and Senior Design Boot Camps.

A $75,000 donation to UCF from Duke Energy Florida will provide critical resources to support the transformation of engineering and computer science students into professionals and future leaders in their fields.

The funds will be used toward priority areas in the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science, specifically in programs designed to build leadership skills in students, including UCF’s Engineering Leadership and Innovation Institute (eli2), and UCF’s Senior Design Boot Camps — training workshops for teams enrolled in the Senior Design capstone course — a requirement for graduating seniors.

The donation adds to a previous $75,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to support UCF’s College of Engineering and Computer Science projects, including the Girls Excelling in Math and Science mentorship program, Senior Design, and diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.

“At UCF, while our engineering and computer science students are learning the core technical aspects of their disciplines, they are simultaneously learning important ‘soft skills’ and leadership qualities that are critically important in the workplace,” says Michael Georgiopoulos, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “The years of support from Duke Energy help make UCF’s leadership-building programs possible. We are extremely grateful for their gift.”

“The years of support from Duke Energy help make UCF’s leadership-building programs possible. We are extremely grateful for their gift.” — Michael Georgiopoulos, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

The gift adds to the longstanding relationship between Duke Energy Florida, the Duke Energy Foundation and UCF. Over the years, Duke Energy and its foundation have given more than $5 million to support UCF programs that have benefitted thousands of students. In addition, the Duke Energy Welcome Center at UCF serves as a high-visibility information portal about the university designed to attract prospective students to UCF.



 “For more than a decade, Duke Energy, its legacy companies and its foundation have invested in the University of Central Florida and its Engineering Leadership and Innovation Institute,” says Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president. “There is an immense need for engineering and computer technology leaders across the board, and we are honored to be able to support this program and continue transforming students into the skilled professionals and leaders needed in Florida and beyond.”

With financial support from Duke Energy (then Progress Energy), the Engineering Leadership and Innovation Institute (eli2) at UCF was born in 2010, a program that has provided leadership skills-building opportunities for thousands of engineering and computer science students.

Opportunities include hands-on workshops and “Leaders Up Close” seminars, classes to earn an Engineering Leadership Minor or Certificate, the eli2 maker spaces on campus designed to enhance creativity and collaboration, Senior Design Boot Camps that help student teams with their projects; and other programs specifically focused on enhancing student creativity, innovation, collaboration and accountability.

“Duke Energy championed students’ leadership development from the very beginning of eli2,” says Tim Kotnor, a professor in UCF’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems and director of UCF’s Engineering Leadership and Innovation Institute. “What started out as initial support of 31 students 15 years ago has burgeoned into a college-wide culture of student leadership engagement that has impacted the education and professional development of more than 20,000 students and alumni.”

Senior Design, a capstone course in the college, begins for students with Boot Camp, an all-day interactive session provided by eli2 for newly-formed senior design teams to bolster teamwork and project ideation. The eli2 Boot Camp is designed to help student teams collaboratively design their projects from start to finish, including budgeting, timelines, prototyping, testing and overcoming challenges to get their projects to the finish-line. The Senior Design showcase, where the projects are presented to a public audience and alumni judges.

In April, 917 graduating seniors participated in UCF’s Spring 2022 Senior Design virtual and live showcase, featuring 185 projects designed by collaborative teams of graduating seniors in engineering and computer science.

UCF is one of the nation’s largest producers of engineers and computer scientists, and is the nation’s top workforce supplier to numerous key industries, including aerospace, energy, utilities, financial technology (“fintech”), healthcare, and defense industries. UCF was named the nation’s No. 1 workforce supplier — and top preferred supplier — to the aerospace and defense industries by Aviation Week Network.

Pictured: A team of UCF engineering students showcase their Senior Design project after spending their senior year collaboratively designing, building and testing it within a limited timeline and budget, a process supported by Duke Energy Florida that builds leadership skills essential in industry.

Coming in the Fall 2022 issue:

10 Minutes With … Jeff Moore 
Dean, UCF College of Arts and Humanities

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IMPACT Spring 2022

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Karen Cochran

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IMPACT is published three times a year by UCF Advancement for alumni, friends and partners of the university who have made philanthropic commitments. Please direct correspondence or address changes to [email protected] or Impact Editor, 12424 Research Parkway, Suite 250, Orlando, FL 32826
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