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University of Central Florida

Brief Description:

UCF - 50th Anniversary

The University of Central Florida and its 12 colleges provide opportunities to 60,000 students from all 50 states and 140 countries. The university has become an academic and research leader in numerous fields, such as optics, modeling and simulation, engineering and computer science, business administration, education, science, hospitality management and digital media. Located in Orlando, UCF is the nation’s second-largest university. UCF is called a “Top Up-and-Coming” national university by U.S. News & World Report, a best-value university by The Princeton Review and Kiplinger’s, and one of the nation’s most affordable colleges by Forbes.

Visit UCF 50th anniversary website at 


Mission Statement:

UCF50th LogoThe University of Central Florida is a public multi-campus, metropolitan research university that stands for opportunity. The university anchors the Central Florida city-state in meeting its economic, cultural, intellectual, environmental and societal needs by providing high-quality, broad-based education and experienced-based learning; pioneering scholarship and impactful research; enriched student development and leadership growth; and highly relevant continuing education and public service initiatives that address pressing local, state, national, and international issues in support of the global community.

President's Quote:

“It has been said that the best way to predict the future is to invent it. As we fashion the future of UCF, let us be bold, fearless and innovative. And let us always remember that UCF is a place that transforms the impossible into the inevitable.” - John C. Hitt, President

Major Accomplishments:

  • In 2005, President Hitt joined the presidents of four area community and state colleges to form a new consortium that led to the creation of DirectConnect to UCF. The innovative partnership promotes access to affordable higher education by offering guaranteed admission to UCF to students who graduate from area partners with a two-year degree. DirectConnect provided baccalaureate degree opportunities to a record 10,403 transfer students in 2011-12.
  • UCF's $65 million College of Medicine campus in Lake Nona's Medical City opened in 2010. A cluster of related facilities has resulted in a Medical City that is the biggest economic boost for Central Florida since Walt Disney World. By the end of 2017, this collaborative effort is projected to generate 30,000 jobs and an annual $7.6 billion economic benefit for the region.
  • In April 2013, UCF was awarded a $55 million NASA grant to build and launch into space an instrument the size of a microwave oven that will provide unprecedented imaging of the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The award is the largest single grant in UCF’s history, and UCF is the first Florida university to lead a NASA mission.
  • In 2013, a national study released by the New America Foundation concluded that with its many partnerships and emphasis on expanding students’ access to a high-quality education, UCF is a “Next Generation University” that is a national model for 21st century higher education.
  • UCF is home to more than 500 student-athletes competing in 16 intercollegiate sports. In 2013-14, UCF joined the American Athletic Conference, giving those athletes the opportunity to compete in one of the best conferences in the country.


Fun Facts:

  • UCF's President Hitt awarded his first UCF degree in the spring of 1992. He has now awarded more than 75 percent of all of the degrees conferred in the university’s history.
  • In fall 2012, UCF ranked 12th nationally among public institutions in enrolling freshman National Merit Scholars. Each of the universities that attracted more of these prestigious students opened their doors before 1900.
  • Becoming more inclusive and diverse was one of the five goals for UCF that President Hitt established in 1992.
    Today, the number of minority students enrolled at UCF exceeds the total number of students when President Hitt arrived. Nearly four in 10 students are minorities.
  • UCF’s Spirit Splash, an annual pre-game pep rally held during Homecoming week, has received the best campus tradition award from the National Association for Campus Activities and has been recognized as the best university tradition in the state by Florida Leader magazine.
  • UCF’s most famous Homecoming queen, Rita Reutter, stunned the campus and the nation in 1977 by winning her Homecoming crown at age 58. Her win landed her on the Tonight Show, where she traded jokes with Johnny Carson. A People magazine story followed, and she earned mentions on ABC and NBC national newscasts.


Notable Alumni:

  • Julia Pierson, first female director of the U.S. Secret Service
  • George Kalogridis, president, Walt Disney World Resort
  • Cheryl Hines, Emmy-nominated actress
  • Ericka Dunlap, Miss America 2004
  • Brandon Marshall, NFL wide receiver
  • Alan Eustace, senior vice president of knowledge, Google



“Government, business, education—everybody cooperates. How did Orlando become the computer simulation capital of America? … Because of UCF. Because every semester, you train people for the jobs that are going to be there, not the jobs that aren’t.” - President Bill Clinton during a 2012 campaign event at UCF

“UCF has taught me I should never stop learning. UCF has shown me that success is being the best version of you you can be, and then being happy with it.” - Richard Murdock, UCF engineering student, 2013 Astronaut Scholar

“UCF’s ascent is one of the great success stories in American higher education. In a relatively short time, UCF emerged from scrub pine and dirt roads to become a major metropolitan research university of global impact, paralleling the rise to national prominence of Orlando and Orange County.” – Teresa Jacobs, Mayor of Orange County, and Buddy Dyer, Mayor of Orlando in a joint Orlando Sentinel editorial (Sept. 12, 2013)


  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662