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University of Central Florida (2008)

Brief Description:

Established in 1963, the University of Central Florida is a diverse metropolitan research university that ranks as the 6th-largest in the country with more than 50,000 students.

Located in Orlando, Fla., UCF offers student-centered learning in undergraduate and graduate academic programs, nationally renowned faculty and continuing education. UCF also conducts cutting-edge research that powers the region's economic development. The university, then known as Florida Technological University, held its first classes on Oct. 7, 1968 with nearly 1,900 students enrolled. It celebrated its 40th anniversary earlier this month with a virtual celebration on its Web site, highlighting photos, facts, milestones and other achievements during the past four decades.


Mission Statement:

The University of Central Florida is a public multi-campus, metropolitan research university, dedicated to serving its surrounding communities with their diverse and expanding populations, technological corridors, and international partners. The mission of the university is to offer high-quality undergraduate and graduate education, student development, and continuing education; to conduct research and creative activities; and to provide services that enhance the intellectual, cultural, environmental, and economic development of the metropolitan region, address national and international issues in key areas, establish UCF as a major presence, and contribute to the global community.

President's Quote:

“The University of Central Florida is a young university, having opened our doors to students only 40 years ago. But our achievements in academics, research, service and economic development rival those of far more-established institutions around the country. At UCF, we are dedicated to being a premier academic and research institution, while at the same time strengthening our role as a major economic engine for our community and Florida.”  -- President John C. Hitt

Major Accomplishments:

  • Outstanding freshman class: UCF, the sixth-largest university in the nation with more than 50,000 students, attracted a record 63 National Merit Scholars in fall 2008. The fall freshman class posted an average SAT score of 1219, a more than 50-point increase since 2002. Even more impressive, the fall freshman class at the prestigious Burnett Honors College posted an average SAT score of 1370.
  • GI Bill success: According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, UCF ranks 18th in the country for institutions that enroll the most students with GI Bill benefits.

  • Up-and-coming: U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” guide recently ranked UCF No. 7 in the new "Up-and-Coming" category for national universities that are "tops for innovation." UCF also ranks ninth among national universities in the "Great Schools, Great Prices" category for students who graduate with the least amount of debt.

  • Outstanding graduate programs: UCF’s Electrical Engineering program was ranked number 65 in the nation in the 2009 U.S. News and World Report Best Graduate School guide. Education, Physics, Public Administration and Speech-Language Pathology also placed in the top 100 nationally.

  • Successful scholarship campaign: Students in the inaugural class at the UCF’s College of Medicine will pursue for free their dreams of becoming medical doctors. The community fully funded 40 scholarships for the class during a first-of-its-kind fund-raising campaign. Each student will receive a four-year scholarship worth $160,000 – about $20,000 for tuition and $20,000 for living expenses and fees each year. To learn more about the scholarship campaign, visit our website.

  • Boosting the economy: UCF and its neighbor, the Central Florida Research Park, provide a total economic impact of $3.5 billion and affect more than 45,000 jobs. The research park also is home to the award-winning UCF Technology Incubator, which was created to provide fledgling businesses the support they need to be successful and contribute to the economic strength of the region.

  • Serving the community: Freshmen at UCF’s Burnett Honors College regularly visit underserved youths at Orange County elementary schools and teach them about leadership, local government, democracy and more. About 500 honors students taught more than 9,000 grade-school children in the fall. In just more than three years, the program has become the largest service-learning partnership in the country linking an honors college, public schools and the nonprofit Junior Achievement.

  • On top of their game: Sixty-three students have graduated from the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, UCF’s graduate video-gaming school, since it opened its doors in August 2005. Nearly all of the students have landed jobs in their industry of choice, and their average starting salary is $51,588. The new House of Moves motion-capture studio, located with FIEA in a building across from Amway Arena, will further enhance educational opportunities for current and future FIEA students.

  • Black, gold and green: A 1,600-square-foot green roof on top of the Student Union includes Florida-native plants that help to conserve energy and reduce storm-water runoff. Since becoming the first university in the state to install a green roof in 2005, UCF has helped many other communities, including Sarasota and Sanford, adopt green roofs. UCF also became the first university in the state last fall to convert one of its fleet vehicles to a plug-in hybrid for limited all-electric driving.

  • “Quality Growth Expands Students’ Access to UCF for Fall Semester”
    Read full article  

  • “UCF Ranks in Top 10 in ‘Patent Scorecard’ for U.S. Universities”
    Read full article 

  • “At UCF, genetically modified plants show promise as vaccine”
    (Orlando Sentinel, Sept. 10, 2008)
    Read full article (pdf)


Fun Facts:


In 1968:

  • Approximately 120 faculty members 2 buildings on opening day 3 other buildings were under construction that year Fewer than 30 degree programs 1,500 students expected to arrive Opening Day 1,891 students showed up A total of 1,948 students enrolled

As of 2008:

  • 1,258 full-time faculty members 163 buildings (and counting) More than 220 degree programs 11 regional campuses, in addition to the main campus 50,000 students More than 180,000 degrees awarded


Notable Alumni:


  • Allen Weiss


President of Worldwide Operations for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

  • Ericka Dunlap


Miss America 2004

  • William W. Parsons Jr.


Director of NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center

  • Phil Dalhausser


2008 Olympic Men's Beach Volleyball Gold Medal winner



Walter Komanski was a political science major and the first Student Body President at Florida Technological University (now UCF). He is now a judge on the 9th Judicial Circuit Court that includes Orange and Osceola counties in Florida.

On why he chose FTU: “I applied to only two places – Florida and FTU – and was accepted to both. Florida was a large school, well-established. I decided FTU was for me. FTU was all about opportunity. Everything was new. Most of the faculty had Ph.Ds, and classes were small. We never had more than 18 students in one room. So going to FTU was like going to a small private college at state rates.”

(Quote published in the Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 7, 2008)


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