University of Central Florida
Overview
The University of Central Florida, commonly referred to as UCF, is a metropolitan
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

 public
Public university
A public university is a university that is predominantly funded by public means through a national or subnational government, as opposed to private universities. A national university may or may not be considered a public university, depending on regions...

 research university located in Orlando
Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...

, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. UCF is a member institution of the State University System of Florida
State University System of Florida
The State University System of Florida is a system of eleven public universities in the U.S. state of Florida. As of 2011, over 320,000 students were enrolled in Florida's state universities...

, and is the second-largest university in the United States by enrollment.

The University of Central Florida was authorized by the Florida State Legislature in 1963, and opened in 1968 as Florida Technological University, with the goal of providing highly-trained personnel to support the Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center
The John F. Kennedy Space Center is the NASA installation that has been the launch site for every United States human space flight since 1968. Although such flights are currently on hiatus, KSC continues to manage and operate unmanned rocket launch facilities for America's civilian space program...

, located only 35 miles (56 km) to the east.
Encyclopedia
The University of Central Florida, commonly referred to as UCF, is a metropolitan
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

 public
Public university
A public university is a university that is predominantly funded by public means through a national or subnational government, as opposed to private universities. A national university may or may not be considered a public university, depending on regions...

 research university located in Orlando
Orlando, Florida
Orlando is a city in the central region of the U.S. state of Florida. It is the county seat of Orange County, and the center of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. According to the 2010 US Census, the city had a population of 238,300, making Orlando the 79th largest city in the United States...

, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. UCF is a member institution of the State University System of Florida
State University System of Florida
The State University System of Florida is a system of eleven public universities in the U.S. state of Florida. As of 2011, over 320,000 students were enrolled in Florida's state universities...

, and is the second-largest university in the United States by enrollment.

The University of Central Florida was authorized by the Florida State Legislature in 1963, and opened in 1968 as Florida Technological University, with the goal of providing highly-trained personnel to support the Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center
The John F. Kennedy Space Center is the NASA installation that has been the launch site for every United States human space flight since 1968. Although such flights are currently on hiatus, KSC continues to manage and operate unmanned rocket launch facilities for America's civilian space program...

, located only 35 miles (56 km) to the east. As the university's academic scope had expanded to encompass other disciplines, along with concerns over potential confusion with the Florida Institute of Technology, also known as "Florida Tech", the school was renamed the University of Central Florida in 1978. Although initial enrollment in 1968 was only 1,948 students, as of 2011 enrollment consists of 58,587 students representing over 140 countries, all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The majority of the student population is located on the university's 1415 acres (572.6 ha) main campus approximately 13 miles (21 km) east-northeast of downtown Orlando and 55 miles (89 km) south-southwest of Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach, Florida
Daytona Beach is a city in Volusia County, Florida, USA. According to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the city has a population of 64,211. Daytona Beach is a principal city of the Deltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which the census bureau estimated had...

. The university offers over 225 separate degree options through twelve colleges and eleven satellite campus
Satellite campus
A satellite campus or branch campus is a campus of a college or university that is physically detached from the main university or college area, and is often smaller than the main campus of an institution....

es throughout Florida. Since its founding, UCF has awarded more than 200,000 degrees, including 35,000 graduate and professional degrees, to nearly 170,000 alumni worldwide.

UCF is a space-grant
Space grant colleges
The space-grant colleges compose a network of 52 consortia, based at universities across the United States, for outer space-related research. Each consortium is based in one of the 50 states, the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico and consists of multiple independent institutions, with one of the...

 university and has made noted research contributions to optics, modeling and simulation, digital media, engineering and computer science, business administration, education, and hospitality management, and is considered to be the fourth-best up-and-coming national university by U.S. News and World Report. UCF's official colors are black
Black
Black is the color of objects that do not emit or reflect light in any part of the visible spectrum; they absorb all such frequencies of light...

 and gold
Gold (color)
Gold, also called golden, is one of a variety of orange-yellow color blends used to give the impression of the color of the element gold....

 and the academic logo is a Pegasus
Pegasus
Pegasus is one of the best known fantastical as well as mythological creatures in Greek mythology. He is a winged divine horse, usually white in color. He was sired by Poseidon, in his role as horse-god, and foaled by the Gorgon Medusa. He was the brother of Chrysaor, born at a single birthing...

. The athletic teams, called the 'Knights'
UCF Knights
The UCF Knights are the athletics teams of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. All of UCF's varsity sports teams are known as the Knights, with the women's teams sometimes referred to as the "Lady Knights." The Knights, which includes the university's 16 varsity sports teams,...

 and represented by the mascot Knightro
Knightro
Knightro is the official mascot of the University of Central Florida, and its sports teams, the Knights. Knightro appears at UCF sporting events and also appears at UCF-related functions...

, are members of Conference USA
Conference USA
Conference USA, officially abbreviated C-USA, is a college athletic conference whose member institutions are located within the Southern United States. The conference participates in the NCAA's Division I in all sports...

, although as of November 2011, it was reported that UCF would move to the Big East Conference
Big East Conference
The Big East Conference is a collegiate athletics conference consisting of sixteen universities in the eastern half of the United States. The conference's 17 members participate in 24 NCAA sports...

 for all sports.

Establishment

The university was established on June 10, 1963 when the Florida State Legislature passed, and Governor Farris Bryant subsequently signed into law Bill No. 125. The Board of Regents
Florida Board of Governors
The Florida Board of Governors was created in 2002 by the passage of a constitutional amendment, which went into effect in 2003. By an unprecedented vote, a 17-member board was established to serve as the statewide governing body for the State University System of Florida, which includes all...

 appointed Charles Millican the first president of the new university in 1965. Millican, with the consultation of a citizen advisory group, would choose the name Florida Technological University as well as co-design the school's distinctive "Pegasus" seal. Before the university was constructed, the land where it would be was desolate farm land. In fact, the first time that Millican went to see the land where the new university would be, he could not find it and had to return weeks later with specific directions from the Chancellor of the Board of Regents.

In March 1967, Florida Governor Claude Kirk presided over the groundbreaking of the new Florida Technological University. Eighteen months later on October 7, 1968, classes began with 1,948 students, 90 instructors and 150 staff members, in the school's first academic building, the library. During the university's inaugural year, fifty-five degree programs were offered within its five colleges: Business Administration, Education, Humanities and Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Engineering and Technology. The university's first mascot was the Citronaut, a mix between an orange and an astronaut.

UCF was founded as a non-segregated and coeducation
Coeducation
Mixed-sex education, also known as coeducation or co-education, is the integrated education of male and female persons in the same institution. It is the opposite of single-sex education...

 university, with the founding goal being to educate current and future students for promising space-age careers in engineering, electronics and other technological professions, thus serving as a support system for the nearby Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center
The John F. Kennedy Space Center is the NASA installation that has been the launch site for every United States human space flight since 1968. Although such flights are currently on hiatus, KSC continues to manage and operate unmanned rocket launch facilities for America's civilian space program...

. In addition, the Central Florida Research Park
Central Florida Research Park
The Central Florida Research Park, is a research park abutting the main campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, United States...

, located adjacent to the UCF campus, serves as a major focus of simulation
Simulation
Simulation is the imitation of some real thing available, state of affairs, or process. The act of simulating something generally entails representing certain key characteristics or behaviours of a selected physical or abstract system....

 for space
Outer space
Outer space is the void that exists between celestial bodies, including the Earth. It is not completely empty, but consists of a hard vacuum containing a low density of particles: predominantly a plasma of hydrogen and helium, as well as electromagnetic radiation, magnetic fields, and neutrinos....

 and defense
Defense (military)
Defense has several uses in the sphere of military application.Personal defense implies measures taken by individual soldiers in protecting themselves whether by use of protective materials such as armor, or field construction of trenches or a bunker, or by using weapons that prevent the enemy...

-related research.

Expansion and growth

The university's second president, Dr. Trevor Colbourn, recognized the diversification and growth of UCF's academic programs away from its strictly technological and scientific beginnings. From its establishment the university was known as Florida Technological University, nicknamed Florida Tech, until December 1978 when Governor Reuben Askew signed legislation changing the school's name to the University of Central Florida.

The official colors of the university were chosen by Charles N. Millican
Charles N. Millican
Charles Norman Millican, Ph.D. was an American professor and academic administrator, who was the founding President of the University of Central Florida, then named Florida Technological University....

, UCF's Founding President. When the first student handbook was being drafted, the university had no official mascot. During the school's first year, the student newspaper, the FuTUre
Central Florida Future
The Central Florida Future is the independent student-run newspaper of the University of Central Florida, which is located in Orlando, Florida, United States. The Future is published every Monday and Thursday with a circulation of 45,000 copies....

, compiled mascot suggestions from its readership body. A night nurse at the Health Center, Judy Hines, proposed "Vincent the Vulture" in 1970, which remained the school's unofficial mascot for more than a year. Later that year, UCF students voted and selected the "Knight of Pegasus" as their official mascot. Until 1994, the Knights were represented by a jouster from the Medieval Times
Medieval Times
Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament is a family dinner theater featuring staged medieval-style games, sword-fighting, and jousting performed by a cast of 75 actors and 20 horses. Each location is housed in a replica 11th-century castle, with the exception of the Toronto location, which is housed...

 dinner show located in nearby Kissimmee
Kissimmee
Kissimmee is the name of several things in the U.S. state of Florida:*Kissimmee, Florida *Kissimmee City Street Railway*Kissimmee Kreatures *Kissimmee Utility Authority...

, Florida
Florida
Florida is a state in the southeastern United States, located on the nation's Atlantic and Gulf coasts. It is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the north by Alabama and Georgia and to the east by the Atlantic Ocean. With a population of 18,801,310 as measured by the 2010 census, it...

. That same year, Knightro
Knightro
Knightro is the official mascot of the University of Central Florida, and its sports teams, the Knights. Knightro appears at UCF sporting events and also appears at UCF-related functions...

 was introduced at the staple homecoming event, "Spirit Splash." Two years later, UCF students were introduced to Knightro's girlfriend, Glycerin.

Recent history

During its brief history, UCF has hosted numerous notable speakers. Among these include Presidents
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 and Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

, then Senator and current Vice President
Vice President of the United States
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States, is indirectly elected by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term...

 Joe Biden
Joe Biden
Joseph Robinette "Joe" Biden, Jr. is the 47th and current Vice President of the United States, serving under President Barack Obama...

, Senators Bill Nelson
Bill Nelson
Clarence William "Bill" Nelson is the senior United States Senator from the state of Florida and a member of the Democratic Party. He is a former U.S. Representative and former Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner of Florida...

, Mel Martinez
Mel Martinez
Melquíades Rafael Martínez Ruiz, usually known as Mel Martinez , is a former United States Senator from Florida and served as Chairman of the Republican Party from November 2006 until October 19, 2007, the first Latino to serve as chairman of a major party...

, John Edwards
John Edwards
Johnny Reid "John" Edwards is an American politician, who served as a U.S. Senator from North Carolina. He was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004, and was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008.He defeated incumbent Republican Lauch Faircloth in...

, and Florida Governors Jeb Bush
Jeb Bush
John Ellis "Jeb" Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd Governor of Florida from 1999 to 2007. He is a prominent member of the Bush family: the second son of former President George H. W. Bush and former First Lady Barbara Bush; the younger brother of former President George W...

, Charlie Crist
Charlie Crist
Charles Joseph "Charlie" Crist, Jr. is an American politician who was the 44th Governor of Florida. Prior to his election as governor, Crist previously served as Florida State Senator, Education Commissioner, and Attorney General...

 and Bob Graham
Bob Graham
Daniel Robert "Bob" Graham is an American politician. He was the 38th Governor of Florida from 1979 to 1987 and a United States Senator from that state from 1987 to 2005...

 to name just a few.

The past decade has seen enrollment increase by over forty percent at UCF, the acceptance rate for first time in college students falling from over 60% to near 40% in 2008, and the doubling of expected annual expenses. Since 2000, the university has awarded over 100,000 degrees.

Once known mainly as a small commuter and technology school, in recent years UCF has undertaken an effort to increase its academic and research standings while also evolving into a more traditional research university. The university has changed dramatically since its founding in 1963. As of 2011, there are approximately 58,587 students attending classes on twelve campuses spread across Central Florida. The university consists of twelve colleges and employs more than 10,150 faculty and staff. Since its founding, the university has been led by four presidents. Under the direction of current President Dr. John C. Hitt, UCF has raised admissions standards, increased research funding, built new facilities, and established notable partnerships with major research institutions. Hitt's efforts have resulted in not only an increase in the university's academic profile, but also an on-campus football stadium
Bright House Networks Stadium
Bright House Networks Stadium is the football stadium for the University of Central Florida’s football team, nicknamed the Knights. Located in Knights Plaza on the main campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, the stadium was the first on-campus stadium in NCAA Division I...

, new arena
UCF Arena
The UCF Arena is a multi-purpose arena complex located on the main campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, USA. It is the home to the UCF Knights men's and women's basketball teams...

, more on-campus housing, and the development of the UCF College of Medicine
University of Central Florida College of Medicine
The UCF College of Medicine is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Deborah C. German, M.D....

 at Lake Nona.

UCF is currently the largest university in the nation by terms of undergraduate enrollment, the largest university in Florida, and in 2003 held the distinction of being the fastest-growing university in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. During its Spring 2010 graduation
Graduation
Graduation is the action of receiving or conferring an academic degree or the ceremony that is sometimes associated, where students become Graduates. Before the graduation, candidates are referred to as Graduands. The date of graduation is often called degree day. The graduation itself is also...

 ceremonies, the University of Central Florida awarded its 200,000th degree, less than five years after awarding its 150,000th diploma.

Main campus

The University of Central Florida has a unique campus layout that has become a model for other universities, reminiscent of the plans by Walt Disney
Walt Disney
Walter Elias "Walt" Disney was an American film producer, director, screenwriter, voice actor, animator, entrepreneur, entertainer, international icon, and philanthropist, well-known for his influence in the field of entertainment during the 20th century. Along with his brother Roy O...

 for his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT)
Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (concept)
The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow was a concept developed by Walt Disney near the end of his lifetime. This planned city was his intended purpose for the property purchased near Orlando, Florida, that eventually became the Walt Disney World Resort...

. The campus was designed to be a pedestrian oriented campus, with a series of concentric circles. The outermost circle is Gemini Blvd, which is also the main road for vehicular traffic on campus. Inside of Gemini, there is Apollo Circle, Mercury Circle, and finally Pegasus Circle as the innermost circle. Pegasus Circle contains the student union, which is the center of the campus, with the library located directly to the south of it. All academic buildings are located inside of Gemini, with the circle divided up into pie-shaped sections for each college. As there are very few roads inside of Gemini, many buildings' loading docks are accessible only by sidewalks and thus receive most deliveries at night. The University of Central Florida campus is one of only two in the nation with a concentric circle design, the other being the University of California, Irvine
University of California, Irvine
The University of California, Irvine , founded in 1965, is one of the ten campuses of the University of California, located in Irvine, California, USA...

. Newsweek has ranked UCF as having the 20th most beautiful university campus in the country.

Student housing is provided along the perimeter of the campus. Outside of Gemini, the campus is divided up into different themed sections. The northwest side of campus includes Greek communities, the north side contains Knights Plaza
Knights Plaza
Knights Plaza at University of Central Florida, commonly referred to as Knights Plaza, is an athletic village and shopping center on the main campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, USA. The plaza consists of housing for 2,000 students in four Towers, of commercial space,...

, an uptown style athletic village, the east side contains the Arboretum of the University of Central Florida
Arboretum of the University of Central Florida
The Arboretum of the University of Central Florida is located on the main campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, USA...

, and the south side contains student recreation and wellness facilities.

Located directly south of the main campus is Central Florida Research Park
Central Florida Research Park
The Central Florida Research Park, is a research park abutting the main campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, United States...

, which is the seventh largest research park in the nation and the largest in Florida, housing over 116 corporations. The park provides more than 10,000 jobs to over 500 students and thousands of alumni.

Regional campuses

In addition to the main campus in Orlando, the University of Central Florida has several other campuses to service the central Florida region. In Orlando, there are three other campuses, located in Downtown, Valencia West, and South Orlando, as well as partnerships with the local community colleges of Brevard Community College
Brevard Community College
Brevard Community College, founded in 1960, is a community college on Florida's Space Coast, in Brevard County, Florida. It has four campuses in Cocoa, Melbourne, Palm Bay, and Titusville, as well as an Aerospace program at Kennedy Space Center and a Virtual Campus...

, Lake-Sumter Community College
Lake-Sumter Community College
Lake–Sumter Community College is a community college in Central Florida, and part of the Florida College System. The college has three campuses in Lake and Sumter Counties: the Leesburg Campus in Leesburg, the South Lake Campus in Clermont, and the Sumter Campus in Sumterville.- History :The...

, Seminole State College of Florida and Valencia Community College
Valencia Community College
Valencia College, formerly known as Valencia Community College, is a public state college in Orlando, Florida, United States. Valencia is the third-largest member institution of the Florida College System....

.

Outside Orlando, there are campuses in Cocoa
Cocoa, Florida
Cocoa is a city in Brevard County, Florida, United States. The population was 16,412 at the 2000 census. As of 2008, the estimated population according to the U.S. Census Bureau was 16,478. It is part of the Palm Bay–Melbourne–Titusville Metropolitan Statistical Area.-History:Cocoa was...

, Clermont
Clermont, Florida
Clermont is a city in Lake County, Florida, United States, west of Orlando. The population was 13,100 in 2008. The city is essentially residential in character and its economy is centered in retail trade, lodging, and food and beverage establishments, which are tourism oriented. The historic...

, Daytona Beach
Daytona Beach, Florida
Daytona Beach is a city in Volusia County, Florida, USA. According to 2008 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the city has a population of 64,211. Daytona Beach is a principal city of the Deltona – Daytona Beach – Ormond Beach, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which the census bureau estimated had...

, Kissimmee
Kissimmee, Florida
Kissimmee is a city in Osceola County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 59,682. It is the county seat of Osceola County...

, Leesburg
Leesburg, Florida
Leesburg is a city in Lake County, Florida, United States. The population was 15,956 at the 2000 census. As of 2005, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 19,086.. Leesburg is located in central Florida, between Lake Harris and Lake Griffin, at the head of the Oklawaha River system....

, Ocala
Ocala, Florida
Ocala is a city in Marion County, Florida. As of 2007, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau was 53,491. It is the county seat of Marion County, and the principal city of the Ocala, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had an estimated 2007 population of 324,857.-History:Ocala...

, Palm Bay
Palm Bay, Florida
Palm Bay is a city in Brevard County, Florida, United States. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the city's population as 100,786 on 1 July 2008; it is the most populous city in the county...

 and Sanford
Sanford, Florida
Sanford is a city in, and the county seat of, Seminole County, Florida, United States. The population was 38,291 at the 2000 census. As of 2009, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau was 50,998...

. In addition to having standard classes at these campuses, some courses are offered via alternative methods, such as 2-way TV from the main campus or via broadband.

UCF, in partnership with local colleges, participates in a program called DirectConnect. Through this program all students and alumni of Brevard Community College, Lake-Sumter Community College, Seminole State College of Florida and Valencia Community College are assured admission to the university. DirectConnect is considered to be the most productive community college-university partnership in America.

Health Sciences Campus at Lake Nona

The 50 acre (0.20 km2) UCF Health Sciences Campus at Lake Nona will include the College of Medicine and the Burnett Biomedical Sciences Building. The Burnham Institute for Medical Research
Burnham Institute for Medical Research
The Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, previously Burnham Institute for Medical Research, is a non-profit medical research institute with locations in La Jolla, California, Orlando, Florida, and Santa Barbara, California...

, a Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Nemours Children’s Hospital
Nemours Foundation
The Nemours Foundation is a non-profit organization in Jacksonville, Florida, created by philanthropist Alfred I. du Pont in 1936, and dedicated to improving the health of children. The Foundation operates the Alfred I...

, Tavistock Group
Tavistock Group
Tavistock Group is an international private investment company founded by British businessperson Joe Lewis. The U.S. headquarters is located in Tavistock House in unincorporated Orange County, Florida....

, M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Institute, and a University of Florida
University of Florida
The University of Florida is an American public land-grant, sea-grant, and space-grant research university located on a campus in Gainesville, Florida. The university traces its historical origins to 1853, and has operated continuously on its present Gainesville campus since September 1906...

 research facility will also call Lake Nona home, turning the area into a medical city. The campus will also serve as the future home of the UCF College of Nursing and the newly approved UCF College of Dental Medicine. The College of Medicine welcomed its charter class in August 2009.

Upon completion of construction, the campus could accommodate as many as 5,000 upper division, professional, and graduate students and faculty members in the health-related programs, and include up to two million square feet of research and instruction space.

Rosen College of Hospitality Management

Located near the Orange County Convention Center
Orange County Convention Center
The Orange County Convention Center is the primary public convention center for the Central Florida region. The center currently ranks as the second largest convention center in the United States . The OCCC offers of total space, of which is exhibit space...

, the campus is designed to imitate a resort-style feel, with various areas of the college named for major donors to the college including the Disney Dining Room, Universal Orlando Library, Darden Auditorium, and the state-of-the-art Anheuser Busch Beer & Wine Lab. The campus includes the Three Pillars Cafe, a student-operated cafe that serves various cuisines and food items. Regular Shuttle service is offered Monday through Thursday to and from the UCF Main Campus.

The college features an on-site Campus Life Office and Career Services Office that coordinate on-campus activities and career development events in conjunction with the UCF Student Government Association. In 2005, the University opened two on-campus housing buildings, able to house 400 residents. The college offers a variety of student organizations including associations such as Eta Sigma Delta (International Hospitality Management Honor Society), National Society of Minorities in Hospitality, the Professional Convention Management Association, and the National Association of Catering Executives.

Sustainability

Due to long-term environmental programs and commitments, UCF was named an exemplary green institution in the 2010 Princeton Review's Guide to 286 Green Colleges, and the university has had its initiatives showcased by the U.S. Department of Energy. UCF has pledged to become climate-neutral under the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment by 2050 at the latest, and to increase its recycling rate to 75% by 2020, and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 42% by 2030. Committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, all new construction must be designed and certified by the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design consists of a suite of rating systems for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings, homes and neighborhoods....

 (LEED). The UCF College of Medicine on the Health Sciences Campus is the only LEED Silver medical school in Florida.

Administration and organization

As a part of the State University System of Florida
State University System of Florida
The State University System of Florida is a system of eleven public universities in the U.S. state of Florida. As of 2011, over 320,000 students were enrolled in Florida's state universities...

, UCF falls under the purview of the Florida Board of Governors
Florida Board of Governors
The Florida Board of Governors was created in 2002 by the passage of a constitutional amendment, which went into effect in 2003. By an unprecedented vote, a 17-member board was established to serve as the statewide governing body for the State University System of Florida, which includes all...

. The University of Central Florida is headed by the Board of Trustees, which governs the university, consisting of thirteen members that are appointed to staggered five year terms by the Florida Board of Governors. The student government association president and the faculty chair also serve on the board during the duration of their one year term of office.

The President of the University of Central Florida is the principal executive officer of the university. The office was formed upon creation of the university in 1963. University bylaws state that the president is to be appointed by the Board of Trustees, with the consent of the Florida Board of Governors, and lead the university through its daily business. Today, the president's office is located in Millican Hall on the university's main campus, and the president has the privilege of living in the Burnett House, also located on UCF's main campus in Orlando. The fourth president of UCF, Dr. John C. Hitt
John Hitt
John C. Hitt, Ph.D. is an American professor and academic administrator, serving as the fourth and current president of the University of Central Florida since March 1, 1992...

 has served since 1992.

The University of Central Florida comprises a main campus in Orlando, with eleven regional campuses located throughout Central Florida. UCF offers Associate's, Bachelor's, Master's, Specialist, Doctoral, and Professional degree programs through its twelve colleges. By enrollment, the three largest undergraduate units are the College of Sciences
University of Central Florida College of Sciences
The UCF College of Sciences is the largest academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Michael Johnson, Ph.D....

, the College of Business Administration
University of Central Florida College of Business Administration
The UCF College of Business Administration is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The interim dean of the college is Foard F...

, and the College of Engineering and Computer Science
University of Central Florida College of Engineering and Computer Science
The UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Marwan A. Simaan, Ph.D....

. At the graduate level, the College of Graduate Studies
University of Central Florida College of Graduate Studies
The UCF College of Graduate Studies is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Patricia J. Bishop, Ph.D....

 serves as the central administrative unit of graduate education at the university. UCF's financial endowment
Financial endowment
A financial endowment is a transfer of money or property donated to an institution. The total value of an institution's investments is often referred to as the institution's endowment and is typically organized as a public charity, private foundation, or trust....

, administered by the University of Central Florida Foundation, Inc., was valued at $91.95 million in the National Association of College and University Business Officers' (NACUBO) 2009 ranking, a 20% decline from 2008.

Due to cutbacks in federal, state and local budgets, UCF has had over $77 million in funds cut from its operating budget since July 2007. This includes a $38 million cut to UCF’s 2009–2010 fiscal year budget. So far UCF has been enable to endure the budget cuts by implementing a hiring freeze, putting an end to some faculty perks, such as free seminars, cutting executive pay, and through wise management of funds. To help counter the budget decreases, the university will be receiving $18 million in stimulus funds.

Student Government Association

The University of Central Florida's Student Government Association (SGA) is the leading advocacy group for the students who attend the university, representing the university's 56,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. It is the largest Student Government within the state of Florida and one of the largest in the United States. In addition, it also often places in the top 10 SGAs nationally for the services and outreach it provides for the students it serves. The SGA operates within an annual $17 million dollar budget. With its budget, SGA funds and fully owns two campus facilities, the Recreation and Wellness Center and the Student Union, while also providing upwards of $1.5 million dollars in funding to over 400 registered student organizations.

It was officially established in 1976 and consists of an executive, judicial, and legislative branch. The executive branch is headed by the Student Body President and Student Body Vice President. Within the executive branch are between 30–40 appointed and paid cabinet members that oversee everything from university policies to tracking the state's legislature. The Student Body President, by mandate of Florida law serves on the university's Board of Trustees for a period of one year. The Student Body President and Student Body Vice President are elected in annual elections held in the spring and both receive a paid salary that ranges from $18,000 to $21,000 per year. The legislative branch is composed of 56 senators elected each fall, who serve one year terms representing their respective colleges. The senators elect a Speaker of the Senate who receives an annual salary between $17,000 and $20,000 per year, and a Senate President Pro Tempore once a year in the fall to lead the Student Senate. The judicial branch consists of a paid Chief Justice and 14 associate Justices who preside over student conduct hearings and traffic appeals.

Academics

The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is one of the six regional accreditation organizations recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation...

 according to the U.S. Department of Education. UCF's academic calendar is based on the semester system, with the typical fall semester running from the end of August till the beginning of December, and the typical spring semester running from the beginning of January through the beginning of May. In addition, UCF offers four different summer semesters, A, B, C, and D, ranging from six weeks to twelve weeks. The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered in 1906 by an act of the United States Congress, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center, whose primary activities of research and writing have resulted in published reports on every level...

 classifies UCF as a "large four-year, primarily nonresidential" university with a "comprehensive doctoral" graduate instructional program.

Student profile

Demographics of student body
Students Florida U.S. Census
African American
African American
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States...

8.81% 16% 12.4%
Asian American
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

5.21% 2.1% 4.3%
European American
European American
A European American is a citizen or resident of the United States who has origins in any of the original peoples of Europe...

66.26% 63.1% 74.1%
Hispanic American 13.69% 18% 14.7%
Native American
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

<1% 1.4% 0.8%
International student
International student
According to Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development , international students are those who travel to a country different from their own for the purpose of tertiary study. Despite that, the definition of international students varies in each country in accordance to their own national...

1.29% N/A N/A


UCF's student body consists of 49,900 undergraduates and 8,508 graduate and professional students from all 67 Florida counties, all 50 states and 141 countries. Study abroad programs allow UCF students to study and conduct research in 42 programs in 21 countries.

In the new millennium, enrollment has increased by over sixty percent at UCF, from 33,453 in 2000, to 58,587 in 2011. Of the over 50,000 students, 15 percent are graduate and professional students, while women make up 55% of the student body. Nearly 20 percent of UCF faculty are minorities. According to the May 2009 edition of Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education
Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education
The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education is an American biweekly magazine which focuses on Hispanic education in institutions of higher learning. It is notable for its annual Top 100 list of colleges and universities awarding degrees to Hispanic students.-External links:**...

 magazine, UCF is one of the best 100 colleges in the United States for Hispanic students seeking bachelors degrees. 95 percent of the student body are in-state students and New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, North Dakota
North Dakota
North Dakota is a state located in the Midwestern region of the United States of America, along the Canadian border. The state is bordered by Canada to the north, Minnesota to the east, South Dakota to the south and Montana to the west. North Dakota is the 19th-largest state by area in the U.S....

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 and Georgia
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 are top five states respectively for out-of-state students. 23% of UCF students are above the age of 25.

The ten largest undergraduate disciplines at UCF are respectively: psychology
Psychology
Psychology is the study of the mind and behavior. Its immediate goal is to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases. For many, the ultimate goal of psychology is to benefit society...

, interdisciplinary studies, elementary education, hospitality management
Hospitality management studies
Hospitality management is the academic study of the hospitality industry. A degree in Hospitality management is often conferred from either a university college dedicated to the studies of hospitality management or a business school with a department in hospitality management studies...

, finance
Finance
"Finance" is often defined simply as the management of money or “funds” management Modern finance, however, is a family of business activity that includes the origination, marketing, and management of cash and money surrogates through a variety of capital accounts, instruments, and markets created...

, marketing
Marketing
Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments...

, nursing
Nursing
Nursing is a healthcare profession focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life from conception to death....

, criminal justice
Criminal justice
Criminal Justice is the system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts...

, management
Management
Management in all business and organizational activities is the act of getting people together to accomplish desired goals and objectives using available resources efficiently and effectively...

, and accounting.

Due to budget decreases and increased demands on the university, the UCF Board of Trustees, with the approval of the Board of Governors and the Florida Legislature, approved a 15% increase in tuition for the 2009–2010 academic year. Estimated annual expenses for undergraduate students are $18,092 for Florida residents, and $33,406 for non-Florida residents. Expected costs for graduate students are $20,164 for in-state students, and $36,970 for out-of-state students. About 8% of tuition fees are allocated to support the university's athletic programs.

Rankings


{| class="infobox" style="width: 23em; font-size: 75%;"
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University rankings (overall)
College and university rankings
College and university rankings are lists of institutions in higher education, ordered by combinations of factors. In addition to entire institutions, specific programs, departments, and schools are ranked...



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ARWU
Academic Ranking of World Universities
The Academic Ranking of World Universities , commonly known as the Shanghai ranking, is a publication that was founded and compiled by the Shanghai Jiaotong University to rank universities globally. The rankings have been conducted since 2003 and updated annually...

World
Top-300
ARWU National Top-111
  ARWU Engineering Top-100
Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

516
USNWR
U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is an American news magazine published from Washington, D.C. Along with Time and Newsweek it was for many years a leading news weekly, focusing more than its counterparts on political, economic, health and education stories...

National University
177
USNWR National Top Publics 97
  USNWR Computer Science 91
  USNWR Criminology 26
  USNWR Education 91
  USNWR Engineering 70
  USNWR Healthcare 46
  USNWR Nursing 79
  USNWR Public Affairs 90
Washington Monthly
The Washington Monthly
The Washington Monthly is a bimonthly nonprofit magazine of United States politics and government that is based in Washington, D.C.The magazine's founder is Charles Peters, who started the magazine in 1969 and continues to write the "Tilting at Windmills" column in each issue. Paul Glastris, former...

National
186


In 2011, UCF was rated 33rd among the "Best Values in Public Colleges" in the United States by Kiplinger
Kiplinger
Kiplinger is a Washington, D.C.-based publisher of business forecasts and personal finance advice, available in print, online, audio, video and software products ....

, and as one of the "50 Best Value Public Universities" by USA Today
USA Today
USA Today is a national American daily newspaper published by the Gannett Company. It was founded by Al Neuharth. The newspaper vies with The Wall Street Journal for the position of having the widest circulation of any newspaper in the United States, something it previously held since 2003...

and The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review is an American-based standardized test preparation and admissions consulting company. The Princeton Review operates in 41 states and 22 countries across the globe. It offers test preparation for standardized aptitude tests such as the SAT and advice regarding college...

. In its 2012 edition of Best Colleges, U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is an American news magazine published from Washington, D.C. Along with Time and Newsweek it was for many years a leading news weekly, focusing more than its counterparts on political, economic, health and education stories...

ranks UCF 97th among public universities and 177th overall on the list of Tier I National Universities, in addition to being the fourth-best "Up-and-Coming" national university. UCF is also ranked as a "Best Southeastern College" by The Princeton Review.

The University of Central Florida is listed among “The Best 376 Colleges: 2012 Edition” by The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review
The Princeton Review is an American-based standardized test preparation and admissions consulting company. The Princeton Review operates in 41 states and 22 countries across the globe. It offers test preparation for standardized aptitude tests such as the SAT and advice regarding college...

, and in the 2010 Academic Ranking of World Universities
Academic Ranking of World Universities
The Academic Ranking of World Universities , commonly known as the Shanghai ranking, is a publication that was founded and compiled by the Shanghai Jiaotong University to rank universities globally. The rankings have been conducted since 2003 and updated annually...

 by Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Shanghai Jiao Tong University
Shanghai Jiao Tong University or SJTU), sometimes referred to as Shanghai Jiaotong University , is a top public research university located in Shanghai, China. Shanghai Jiao Tong University is known as one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in China...

, UCF was ranked among the top 300 universities in the world. UCF ranks eighth among national universities "least likely to leave graduates in debt," and was also ranked as one of most economically diverse universities in 2009, 2010 and 2011 by U.S. News and World Report. In 2011, Forbes listed UCF as the 42nd most most-affordable university in the nation. The university is also considered a top school in awarding degrees to minority students, ranking 12th nationally for total undergraduate degrees awarded to Hispanic students and 18th for undergraduate degrees awarded to African-American students.

UCF offers both Army and Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) programs which are rated among the top 15 percent nationally. In 2010, Bloomberg BusinessWeek ranked the UCF College of Business Administration as the number one public business school for return on investment in the nation, and as a Top Undergraduate Business Program. The university has also been recognized by Bill Gates
Bill Gates
William Henry "Bill" Gates III is an American business magnate, investor, philanthropist, and author. Gates is the former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen...

 as a leader in the arena of online education.

In total, U.S. News and World Report ranked UCF's engineering, education, speech-language pathology, public administration and computer science programs all within the top 100 in their respective fields, and five UCF programs as among the nation’s "Best Graduate Schools." In 2012, the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science was ranked 70th nationally, while the College of Education was ranked 64th and the Physics program was ranked 86th in 2009. In 2011, the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy
Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy
The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy is a graduate school of the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA...

 (FIEA) was ranked 2nd in graduate video game design by the Princeton Review.

Admissions

{| style="text-align:center; float: right; font-size:85%; margin-left: 2em;" align="center" class="wikitable"
|+ First Time In College Statistics
! !!2011 !!2010 !! 2009 !! 2008 !! 2007
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! Applicants
| 33,968 || 24,857 || 24,667 || 22,030 || 20,128
|-
! Admits
| 15,303 || 10,500 || 10,522 || 9,689 || 9,184
|-
! Percentage Admitted
| 45.05 || 42.24 || 42.65 || 43.98 || 45.62
|}

As a result of an increasing number of students applying to the university each year, UCF's admission rate for first-time-in-college freshmen has declined from 61% of prospective students admitted in the Fall of 2005, to 45% for Fall 2011. Due to the decrease in the rate of admission, UCF is rated as a "selective" university by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
Founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1905 and chartered in 1906 by an act of the United States Congress, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching is an independent policy and research center, whose primary activities of research and writing have resulted in published reports on every level...

.

34% of accepted applicants were in the top ten percent of their graduating class, while 72% of accepted applicants were in the top quarter of their high school class rank
Class rank
Class rank is a measure of how a student's performance compares to other students in his or her class. It is commonly also expressed as a percentile. For instance, a student may have a GPA better than 750 of his or her classmates in a graduating class of 800...

ings. Freshmen enrolled in Fall 2011 posted average SAT
SAT
The SAT Reasoning Test is a standardized test for college admissions in the United States. The SAT is owned, published, and developed by the College Board, a nonprofit organization in the United States. It was formerly developed, published, and scored by the Educational Testing Service which still...

 scores of 1249, ACT
ACT (examination)
The ACT is a standardized test for high school achievement and college admissions in the United States produced by ACT, Inc. It was first administered in November 1959 by Everett Franklin Lindquist as a competitor to the College Board's Scholastic Aptitude Test, now the SAT Reasoning Test...

 scores of 27 and average high school GPAs of 3.83. UCF is in the top 20 percent of universities in the nation for SAT averages. Over 96% of undergraduates receive financial aid, with an average financial aid package of $11,442 and about 70% of aid distributed in the forms of grants or scholarships. 90% of students receive scholarships through the Florida Bright Futures program. Forty percent of incoming freshman received Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or an equivalent college credit upon entrance, while 30% of the freshman class received merit based scholarships. The retention rate of the 2010 freshman class was 87%.

More freshmen and transfer students applied to UCF during 2008 than any other public university in Florida, and UCF also awarded more bachelor’s degrees than any other Florida public university last year. UCF is ranked 2nd in Florida, and 34th in the United States, by the number of National Merit Scholars
PSAT/NMSQT
The Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test is a standardized test administered by the College Board and National Merit Scholarship Corporation in the United States.This test is offered by the College Board....

 in enrolled. 74 National Merit Scholars enrolled at UCF for the Fall 2011 term.

Colleges

The university currently houses twelve colleges that offer 90 baccalaureate
Bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course or major that generally lasts for three or four years, but can range anywhere from two to six years depending on the region of the world...

 programs, 91 master's
Master's degree
A master's is an academic degree granted to individuals who have undergone study demonstrating a mastery or high-order overview of a specific field of study or area of professional practice...

 programs, 29 doctoral
Doctorate
A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder to teach in a specific field, A doctorate is an academic degree or professional degree that in most countries refers to a class of degrees which qualify the holder...

 programs, three specialist programs, and one professional program (Medicine). In addition, 72% of the faculty have doctorates, and 46% currently have tenure at the university.

Colleges at UCF include:
{| style='border:1px solid #dddddd; background-color:#fefefe; padding:3px; margin:0px'
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  • Burnett Honors College
    Burnett Honors College
    The Burnett Honors College is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Alvin Y. Wang, Ph.D.-History:In 1998, the UCF Honors Program was granted college status...

  • College of Arts and Humanities
    University of Central Florida College of Arts and Humanities
    The UCF College of Arts and Humanities is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is José Fernández, Ph.D....

  • College of Business Administration
    University of Central Florida College of Business Administration
    The UCF College of Business Administration is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The interim dean of the college is Foard F...

  • College of Education
    University of Central Florida College of Education
    The UCF College of Education is an academic college of University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Sandra L. Robinson, Ph.D....

  • College of Engineering and Computer Science
    University of Central Florida College of Engineering and Computer Science
    The UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Marwan A. Simaan, Ph.D....

  • College of Graduate Studies
    University of Central Florida College of Graduate Studies
    The UCF College of Graduate Studies is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Patricia J. Bishop, Ph.D....


| width='40' |
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  • College of Health and Public Affairs
    University of Central Florida College of Health and Public Affairs
    The UCF College of Health and Public Affairs is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Michael Frumkin, Ph.D....

  • Rosen College of Hospitality Management
    Rosen College of Hospitality Management
    The UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Abraham Pizam, Ph.D....

  • College of Medicine
    University of Central Florida College of Medicine
    The UCF College of Medicine is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Deborah C. German, M.D....

  • College of Nursing
    University of Central Florida College of Nursing
    The UCF College of Nursing is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Jean D’Meza Leuner, Ph.D.On July 1, 2007, the School of Nursing became the university’s 12th college...

  • College of Optics and Photonics
    University of Central Florida College of Optics and Photonics
    The UCF College of Optics and Photonics is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Bahaa E. A...

  • College of Sciences
    University of Central Florida College of Sciences
    The UCF College of Sciences is the largest academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Michael Johnson, Ph.D....


|}

Honors and Limited Access

The University Honors Program, administered by the Burnett Honors College is designed for 500 accomplished incoming undergraduates annually. Undergraduates enrolled in the Honors College participate in smaller classes with faculty, including individual research programs or assigned research in the area of a sponsoring faculty member. Another program offered by the college is Honors in the Major, which allows juniors and seniors to conduct original research within their major and write an Honors Undergraduate Thesis
Thesis
A dissertation or thesis is a document submitted in support of candidature for an academic degree or professional qualification presenting the author's research and findings...

. The latest Honors College incoming class had an average SAT score of 1373 and a 4.16 grade-point average. Honors students have the option to reside in a specifically designed living-learning community, composed entirely of honors students, in Tower III at Knights Plaza
Knights Plaza
Knights Plaza at University of Central Florida, commonly referred to as Knights Plaza, is an athletic village and shopping center on the main campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, USA. The plaza consists of housing for 2,000 students in four Towers, of commercial space,...

.

A number of undergraduate academic programs at UCF are termed "Limited Access Programs." Limited Access Programs are programs where student demand exceeds available resources thus making admission to such program competitive. Examples of limited access programs include: The Nicholson School of Communication, Music, Theatre, Dance, and The College of Medicine's Medical Laboratory Sciences program.

College of Medicine

The UCF College of Medicine was established in 2006 by the Florida Legislature and the Florida Board of Governors to increase opportunities for medical education in Florida. The College of Medicine welcomed its charter class of 41 students on August 3, 2009, and eventually will produce about 120 medical graduates a year.

With more than 4,300 applications for 41 available positions, UCF broke the state university record for most applications, and for 2009 is the most selective medical school in the country. Nearly 1,700 applications were received for the 2010 incoming class. This initial class had the highest average MCAT score, 32.2, and GPA, 3.8, of any incoming class of medical students in the state. The inaugural class had a median age of 28, with 25% of the class composed of out-of-state students. The charter class completed their first year of courses on the UCF main campus, while the Lake Nona Medical City was completed. Every member of the inaugural class received a full scholarship, including tuition and basic living expenses, for their entire four years at the university, valued at over $160,000.

The university aims for the college to become a research-intensive medical school, with the aid of The Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, The Burnham Institute for Medical Research
Burnham Institute for Medical Research
The Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, previously Burnham Institute for Medical Research, is a non-profit medical research institute with locations in La Jolla, California, Orlando, Florida, and Santa Barbara, California...

, a Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Nemours Children’s Hospital
Nemours Foundation
The Nemours Foundation is a non-profit organization in Jacksonville, Florida, created by philanthropist Alfred I. du Pont in 1936, and dedicated to improving the health of children. The Foundation operates the Alfred I...

, Tavistock Group
Tavistock Group
Tavistock Group is an international private investment company founded by British businessperson Joe Lewis. The U.S. headquarters is located in Tavistock House in unincorporated Orange County, Florida....

, and a M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Institute, all located on the College of Medicine's Lake Nona campus.

Library

The stated goal of the University of Central Florida Library is to "support the research, teaching, learning and service commitments of students and faculty through widely-available access to collections of library resources, and to services to assist resource use."

UCF Libraries collections include over 1,800,000 print volumes, 2.9 million microforms, 304,000 government documents, 9,200 full text electronic journal subscriptions, 60,000 e-books, 40,000 media titles, a base of 17,000 serial subscriptions, in addition to special collections and university archives materials. Notable collections within the library include the Bryant West Indies collection, the Van Sickle Leftist Pamphlet collection, the Book Arts Collection, collections of materials on tourism and hospitality, and materials on the history of Central Florida. UCF Libraries is a partner within the Florida’s State Universities library system.

Most of the print and media collection is housed in the main campus library, which is open to students and the public seven days a week. The main campus library
Library
In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

 is five stories tall, and was the first academic building on campus. Leonardo Nierman's
Leonardo Nierman
Leonardo Nierman Mendelejis is a Mexican artist and sculptor. Often referred to as the Jackson Pollock of Latin art, his work is known for its vibrant colour....

 sculpture Flame of Hope is displayed outside the entrance to the building, and Nierman's stained glass Genesis window is exhibited on the third floor of the library building.

The student newspaper, the Central Florida Future
Central Florida Future
The Central Florida Future is the independent student-run newspaper of the University of Central Florida, which is located in Orlando, Florida, United States. The Future is published every Monday and Thursday with a circulation of 45,000 copies....

, at one time was housed on the upper floor of the library before moving to the Central Florida Research Park
Central Florida Research Park
The Central Florida Research Park, is a research park abutting the main campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, United States...

. In 1984, a complete renovation of the original library was undertaken, as well as an addition that more than doubled the size of the building. University president Dr. Trevor Colbourn dedicated the newly remodeled and expanded library in February 1985. Due to a lack of funding from the state legislature, a plan for an $84 million expansion of the library, which would add 164000 square feet (15,236.1 m²) of space, has been delayed.

Research

The University of Central Florida fosters research amongst its twelve academic colleges and schools, partnerships with corporations such as Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin
Lockheed Martin is an American global aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology company with worldwide interests. It was formed by the merger of Lockheed Corporation with Martin Marietta in March 1995. It is headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington Metropolitan Area....

, Boeing
Boeing
The Boeing Company is an American multinational aerospace and defense corporation, founded in 1916 by William E. Boeing in Seattle, Washington. Boeing has expanded over the years, merging with McDonnell Douglas in 1997. Boeing Corporate headquarters has been in Chicago, Illinois since 2001...

, and Siemens
Siemens
Siemens may refer toSiemens, a German family name carried by generations of telecommunications industrialists, including:* Werner von Siemens , inventor, founder of Siemens AG...

, and through partnerships with local community colleges. UCF also houses a satellite campus at the Kennedy Space Center
Kennedy Space Center
The John F. Kennedy Space Center is the NASA installation that has been the launch site for every United States human space flight since 1968. Although such flights are currently on hiatus, KSC continues to manage and operate unmanned rocket launch facilities for America's civilian space program...

 in Cape Canaveral
Cape Canaveral
Cape Canaveral, from the Spanish Cabo Cañaveral, is a headland in Brevard County, Florida, United States, near the center of the state's Atlantic coast. Known as Cape Kennedy from 1963 to 1973, it lies east of Merritt Island, separated from it by the Banana River.It is part of a region known as the...

, Florida. UCF is also a member of the Florida High Tech Corridor Council. The university has made noted research contributions to optics, modeling and simulation, digital media, engineering and computer science, business administration, education, and hospitality management.

Listed as a university with "very high research activity" by the The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, UCF was ranked third in the nation in 2010 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers is a non-profit professional association headquartered in New York City that is dedicated to advancing technological innovation and excellence...

 (IEEE) in its annual patent power rankings for the strength and impact of the university's patents. In both 2008 and 2009, UCF was ranked in the top ten in Intellectual Property Today's Patent Scorecard. University research and analysis has appeared in The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

, U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report
U.S. News & World Report is an American news magazine published from Washington, D.C. Along with Time and Newsweek it was for many years a leading news weekly, focusing more than its counterparts on political, economic, health and education stories...

, Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Parenting Magazine, Inside Higher Ed
Inside Higher Ed
Inside Higher Ed is a daily online publication focused on college and university topics, based in Washington, D.C., USA.The publication was founded in 2004 by Kathlene Collins, formerly a business manager for The Chronicle of Higher Education, and two former top editors of The Chronicle, Scott...

, has been reported by the Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

, and has appeared on ABC World News, CBS Evening News
CBS Evening News
CBS Evening News is the flagship nightly television news program of the American television network CBS. The network has broadcast this program since 1948, and has used the CBS Evening News title since 1963....

, MSNBC
MSNBC
MSNBC is a cable news channel based in the United States available in the US, Germany , South Africa, the Middle East and Canada...

 and National Public Radio.

UCF researchers attracted $121.7 million in funding in 2009, with $59.9 million of the research expenditure sponsored by the federal government, while $36.5 million was from private donors, and $25.2 million from state funds. In 2009, UCF directly influenced 26,000 jobs and $1.96 billion in economic activity. When UCF's economic impact is combined with that of the Central Florida Research Park, the university and park influenced 46,000 jobs and $3.84 billion in economic activity in 2009. The new College of Medicine
University of Central Florida College of Medicine
The UCF College of Medicine is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Deborah C. German, M.D....

, which opened in August 2009, will create more than 30,000 local jobs and have an economic impact of $7.6 billion in its first few years.

Metropolitan Orlando sustains the world’s largest recognized cluster of modeling, simulation and training companies. Located directly south of the main campus is the Central Florida Research Park
Central Florida Research Park
The Central Florida Research Park, is a research park abutting the main campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, United States...

, which is one of the largest research parks in the nation, providing more than 10,000 jobs. Research Park is the 7th largest research park in the nation, with 2,700 Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

 personnel and direct support contractors. Collectively, those defense organizations manage $5.2 billion in contracts every year. Many of the employees in Research Park work with UCF researchers and students on projects in the sciences, engineering, photonics and optics, modeling and simulation, and health-related fields.

The university also conducts research through numerous institutions and centers
University of Central Florida research centers
The University of Central Florida is a space-grant university located on a campus in Orlando, Florida. UCF is a member institution of the State University System of Florida and is the third-largest university in the United States....

, including the Center for Research and Education in Optics and Lasers, Florida Solar Energy Center
Florida Solar Energy Center
The Florida Solar Energy Center is a research institute of the University of Central Florida, located on a 20 acre research complex on Florida's Space Coast at UCF's Cocoa satellite campus. FSEC is the largest and most active state-supported renewable energy and energy efficiency research,...

, Institute for Simulation and Training
Institute for Simulation and Training
The Institute for Simulation and Training is a research institute of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The director of the school is Randall Shumaker....

 and Institute for Economic Competitiveness
Institute for Economic Competitiveness
The UCF Institute for Economic Competitiveness is an economic research institute of the College of Business Administration at the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA...

.

Student life

UCF has over 400 registered student organizations, intramural sports
Intramural sports
Intramural sports or intramurals are recreational sports organized within a set geographic area. The term derives from the Latin words intra muros meaning "within walls", and was used to indicate sports matches and contests that took place among teams from "within the walls" of an ancient city...

, and an active Student Government Association. The university encourages student activism through organizations such as the Office of Student Involvement, the Multicultural Student Center, the Campus Activities Board, Volunteer UCF and Learning and Interacting with New Knights (LINK), an organization that fosters freshman involvement. UCF was ranked as the ninth best party school
Party school
A party school is a college or university that has a reputation for heavy alcohol and drug use or a general culture of licentiousness. The best-known list of alleged party schools is published annually by The Princeton Review. The magazine Playboy also releases a list of party schools on an...

 in the country for 2011 by Playboy
Playboy
Playboy is an American men's magazine that features photographs of nude women as well as journalism and fiction. It was founded in Chicago in 1953 by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. The magazine has grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc., with...

. In 2006, High Times magazine ranked UCF one of the top five counterculture colleges in the nation.

Residential life

The university currently houses 6,000 beds on-campus in eight different housing communities. Residence hall style suites are available in the Libra, Apollo, Hercules, and Nike communities. All of the residence hall suites have bathrooms shared between 2 or 3 rooms as opposed to communal bathrooms. Apartment
Apartment
An apartment or flat is a self-contained housing unit that occupies only part of a building...

 style housing is available in the Academic Village (Nike and Hercules) communities, the Towers at Knights Plaza
Knights Plaza
Knights Plaza at University of Central Florida, commonly referred to as Knights Plaza, is an athletic village and shopping center on the main campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, USA. The plaza consists of housing for 2,000 students in four Towers, of commercial space,...

, and the Lake Claire Courtyard Apartments Community. UCF also has 400 beds at the Rosen College Apartments Community, located on the Rosen College of Hospitality Management
Rosen College of Hospitality Management
The UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management is an academic college of the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida, USA. The dean of the college is Abraham Pizam, Ph.D....

 campus. The majority of all on campus housing is occupied by freshman, though The Towers at Knights Plaza house mainly upper-classmen, student athletes, and honors students. Residents of the Towers Communities and Rosen College Apartments sign annual contracts to rent their apartments for a full academic year (fall, spring, and summer), whereas residents of all other standard housing communities on the main campus sign academic contracts to rent their rooms only for one or two semesters at a time.

Housing on the main campus typically fills to capacity well before the start of the Fall semester, and cannot accommodate everyone who applies. In order to provide additional student housing to meet the demand, UCF is constructing a new learning community known as NorthView directly north of the main campus. When completed the project will house 600 students around a faith-based community center, which will include a Hillel
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life
Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life is the largest Jewish campus organization in the world, working with thousands of college students globally...

 Jewish Student Center, a Catholic Student Center, and a common space for other faith based organizations on campus to use.

In addition, about 3,750 beds are available at the University-affiliated housing communities of Knights Circle and The Pointe at Central, which are off-campus apartment communities owned by the University of Central Florida Foundation, Inc. and managed by Asset Campus Housing. These communities contain many UCF services such as Resident Assistants, UCF Police service, reduced rent and offer shuttle service to and from campus on class days.

Greek housing is also available on the main campus in the Greek Park community, which consists of close to 400 beds. There are seven sororities and four fraternities housed on campus, with five fraternities offering housing off campus.

Greek life

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at the University of Central Florida is separated into five divisions: UCF Greek Council, Interfraternity Council
North-American Interfraternity Conference
The North-American Interfraternity Conference , is an association of collegiate men's fraternities that was formally organized in 1910, although it began on November 27, 1909. The power of the organization rests in a House of Delegates where each member fraternity is represented by a single delegate...

, National Pan-Hellenic Council
National Pan-Hellenic Council
The National Pan-Hellenic Council is a collaborative organization of nine historically African American, international Greek lettered fraternities and sororities. The nine NPHC organizations are sometimes collectively referred to as the "Divine Nine"...

, Panhellenic Council, and the Diversified Greek Council. The Order of Omega
Order of Omega
The Order of Omega is an undergraduate Greek society recognizing "fraternity men and women who have attained a high standard of leadership in inter-fraternity activities." It functions as an adjunct to traditional fraternal organizations, rather than a social or professional group in se...

 has a chapter at the university.

The Interfraternity Council (IFC) comprises 16 fraternities, and the Panhellenic Council is made up of 11 sororities. In addition there are also many multicultural and honor Greek organizations. The Diversified Greek Council consists of 9 cultural organizations, four fraternities and five sororities. The National Pan-Hellenic Council comprises nine historically-black organizations, five fraternities and four sororities. There are now also three recognized fraternal organizations for Christian students.

Greek life at the University of Central Florida involves more than 2,900 students in over 40 chapters. Approximately 11% of current undergraduates males and 9% of undergraduate females are members of either a sorority or fraternity.

The average GPA of Greek Life is higher than the overall university average. UCF's Greek Life won the inaugural Mid-American Conference
Mid-American Conference
The Mid-American Conference is a National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I college athletic conference with a membership base in the Great Lakes region that stretches from Western New York to Illinois. Nine of the twelve full member schools are in Ohio and Michigan, with single members...

 Grade Point Average Award, which is given to the university with the highest Greek GPA above their campus’ non-Greek GPA. In 2003, Florida Leader Magazine named UCF the university with the best Greek academics program in the state.

Student traditions

Spirit Splash is a homecoming
Homecoming
Homecoming is the tradition of welcoming back alumni of a school. It most commonly refers to a tradition in many universities, colleges and high schools in North America...

 tradition at UCF, and is traditionally the only time during the year that students are allowed into the Reflection Pond. Named one of the best homecoming traditions in the nation, the Friday before the Homecoming game is reserved for a pep rally at the Reflection Pond, where students descend into the pond to demonstrate their school spirit.

Spirit Splash has been named the best college or university tradition in Florida by Florida Leader magazine. Along with the students, there are members of the community, alumni, children and even dogs who come to join in on the festivities. Spirit Splash began in 1995 when the Student Body President Miguel Torregrossa was pushed into the Reflection Pond by one of his cabinet members and fellow students at the pep rally followed suit. Knightro
Knightro
Knightro is the official mascot of the University of Central Florida, and its sports teams, the Knights. Knightro appears at UCF sporting events and also appears at UCF-related functions...

, the Marching Knights
Marching Knights
The Marching Knights is the official marching band of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, USA....

, cheerleaders, student athletes
UCF Knights
The UCF Knights are the athletics teams of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida. All of UCF's varsity sports teams are known as the Knights, with the women's teams sometimes referred to as the "Lady Knights." The Knights, which includes the university's 16 varsity sports teams,...

, and dancers all participate in the pep rally, usually followed by a concert. Spirit Splash was made possible in part by weight testing performed on the Reflection Pond in preparation for President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Richard Nixon's
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 visit to the university to speak at its 1973 commencement. It was determined that the best way to protect the president would be to hold commencement in the pond itself, after being drained, so that Secret Service
United States Secret Service
The United States Secret Service is a United States federal law enforcement agency that is part of the United States Department of Homeland Security. The sworn members are divided among the Special Agents and the Uniformed Division. Until March 1, 2003, the Service was part of the United States...

 agents could be stationed on the roofs of the adjacent buildings.

One of the newest traditions on the UCF campus pertains to the Pegasus seal in the center of the main floor of the Student Union. From their first day on campus for orientation, new students are told to never walk on the Pegasus. As the tradition is told, those who step on the seal will never graduate from UCF. Usually the seal is roped off with heavy black velvet ropes, but when the ropes are not in place, students can be seen carefully avoiding the seal. In 2005, Florida Leader magazine named this new tradition the best college superstition
Superstition
Superstition is a belief in supernatural causality: that one event leads to the cause of another without any process in the physical world linking the two events....

 in Florida.

Recreation

Many different recreational organizations and facilities are available on the UCF campus. Lake Claire is an on-campus lake with canoes, kayaks, and pedal boats available for rent (free to UCF students), and a small beachfront. Students may also swim in the lake, which is the home to one shy, 4 feet (1.2 m) gator. In addition, UCF's Challenge Course is one of only five in the country to contain a high elements course.

The UCF Recreation and Wellness Center, which opened in 2002, comprises five programs: Intramural Sports, Sport Clubs, Outdoor Adventure, Fitness, and Aquatics. The Center is open to all students, and paid memberships are available for non-students. The Wellness Center offers programs to boost students' understanding of their health, provides discounted blood and STD
Sexually transmitted disease
Sexually transmitted disease , also known as a sexually transmitted infection or venereal disease , is an illness that has a significant probability of transmission between humans by means of human sexual behavior, including vaginal intercourse, oral sex, and anal sex...

 testing, staffs certified personal trainers, and teaches methods to maintain good health. The recreation center includes a custom climbing wall
Climbing wall
A climbing wall is an artificially constructed wall with grips for hands and feet, usually used for indoor climbing, but sometimes located outdoors as well. Some are brick or wooden constructions, but on most modern walls, the material most often used is a thick multiplex board with holes drilled...

 with more than 20 different routes, as well as, tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, a disc golf course, numerous intramural sports fields, a leisure pool, and an outdoor lap pool. In 2010, the Center underwent a $21 million, 65000 square feet (6,038.7 m²) expansion that created more room in the fitness center's free weight, cardiovascular and weight machine areas. The Center now totals 150000 square feet (13,935.5 m²).

Athletics

The University of Central Florida features a large variety of intercollegiate athletics teams known as the UCF Knights that competes in NCAA
National Collegiate Athletic Association
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a semi-voluntary association of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States...

's Division I as part of Conference USA
Conference USA
Conference USA, officially abbreviated C-USA, is a college athletic conference whose member institutions are located within the Southern United States. The conference participates in the NCAA's Division I in all sports...

, although as of November 2011, it was reported that UCF would move to the Big East Conference
Big East Conference
The Big East Conference is a collegiate athletics conference consisting of sixteen universities in the eastern half of the United States. The conference's 17 members participate in 24 NCAA sports...

 for all sports.

Men's sports include Baseball
College baseball
College baseball is baseball that is played on the intercollegiate level at institutions of higher education. Compared to football and basketball, college competition in the United States plays a less significant contribution to cultivating professional players, as the minor leagues primarily...

, basketball
College basketball
College basketball most often refers to the USA basketball competitive governance structure established by the National Collegiate Athletic Association . Basketball in the NCAA is divided into three divisions: Division I, Division II and Division III....

, cross country
Cross country running
Cross country running is a sport in which people run a race on open-air courses over natural terrain. The course, typically long, may include surfaces of grass and earth, pass through woodlands and open country, and include hills, flat ground and sometimes gravel road...

, football
College football
College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities...

, golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

, soccer
College soccer
College soccer is a term used to describe association football played by teams who are operated by colleges and universities as opposed to a professional league operated for exclusively financial purposes...

, and tennis
Tennis
Tennis is a sport usually played between two players or between two teams of two players each . Each player uses a racket that is strung to strike a hollow rubber ball covered with felt over a net into the opponent's court. Tennis is an Olympic sport and is played at all levels of society at all...

.

Women's sports include basketball, cross country, golf, rowing
Rowing (sport)
Rowing is a sport in which athletes race against each other on rivers, on lakes or on the ocean, depending upon the type of race and the discipline. The boats are propelled by the reaction forces on the oar blades as they are pushed against the water...

, soccer, softball
Softball
Softball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of 10 to 14 players. It is a direct descendant of baseball although there are some key differences: softballs are larger than baseballs, and the pitches are thrown underhand rather than overhand...

, Tennis, track and field
Track and field
Track and field is a sport comprising various competitive athletic contests based around the activities of running, jumping and throwing. The name of the sport derives from the venue for the competitions: a stadium which features an oval running track surrounding a grassy area...

, and volleyball
Volleyball
Volleyball is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team's court under organized rules.The complete rules are extensive...

. Co-ed sports include cheerleading
Cheerleading
Cheerleading is a physical activity, sometimes a competitive sport, based on organized routines, usually ranging from one to three minutes, which contain the components of tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers, and stunting to direct spectators of events to cheer on sports teams at games or to participate...

.

In 2007, UCF made notable changes to its athletic program. A newly developed "athletic village" on the north end of campus known as Knights Plaza
Knights Plaza
Knights Plaza at University of Central Florida, commonly referred to as Knights Plaza, is an athletic village and shopping center on the main campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, USA. The plaza consists of housing for 2,000 students in four Towers, of commercial space,...

 was opened which consisted of new sports facilities, including the new UCF Arena
UCF Arena
The UCF Arena is a multi-purpose arena complex located on the main campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, USA. It is the home to the UCF Knights men's and women's basketball teams...

, the new 45,000 seat Bright House Networks Stadium
Bright House Networks Stadium
Bright House Networks Stadium is the football stadium for the University of Central Florida’s football team, nicknamed the Knights. Located in Knights Plaza on the main campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, the stadium was the first on-campus stadium in NCAA Division I...

, a new softball complex, and the only Division I indoor football practice facility in the state. This made UCF the first university to ever open a new stadium and arena during the same year, for the 2007-08 season. The athletic complex surrounding Knights Plaza also includes Jay Bergman Field
Jay Bergman Field
Jay Bergman Field is a baseball stadium located on the main campus of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida, USA. The stadium serves as the home of the UCF Knights baseball team.-History:...

, the UCF Soccer and Track Stadium and numerous practice facilities. To mark the start of the new era in Knights athletics, culminating in the homecoming of the Knights football team from playing in off-site facilities, the university's athletic teams were renamed from the Golden Knights to the Knights, new logos and an update to their mascot, Knightro
Knightro
Knightro is the official mascot of the University of Central Florida, and its sports teams, the Knights. Knightro appears at UCF sporting events and also appears at UCF-related functions...

, were introduced before the start of the 2007-08 sports season.

UCF joined Conference USA for all sports in 2005, and during their first year with the conference the Knights football team, under the leadership of second-year coach George O'Leary
George O'Leary
George Joseph O'Leary is the head football coach of the UCF Knights football team that represents the University of Central Florida located in Orlando, Florida; he previously coached the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets football team from 1994 to 2001, and served as an assistant coach for the Minnesota...

, concluded the fourth-best turnaround in NCAA history by winning the conference's eastern division and earning its first bowl berth in the 4th Annual Hawai'i Bowl. Celebrating their inaugural year in their new on-campus stadium, the 2007 UCF Football team
2007 UCF Knights football team
The 2007 UCF Knights football team represented the University of Central Florida in the 2007 NCAA Division I FBS football season. Their head coach is George O'Leary...

 won the Conference USA Championship
2007 Conference USA Football Championship Game
The 2007 Conference USA Football Championship Game was played on December 1, 2007 between the UCF Knights, the champion of C-USA's East Division, and the West Division champion, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando, Florida...

 for the first time in the school's history, and the eastern division for the second time in three seasons, securing a berth to the school's second bowl game, the 49th Annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl
2007 Liberty Bowl
The 2007 AutoZone Liberty Bowl, part of the 2007-08 NCAA football bowl games season, was played on December 29, 2007 at the Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee....

. The Knights football team secured their third bowl berth following an 8-4 season
2009 UCF Knights football team
The 2009 UCF Knights football team represented the University of Central Florida in the 2009 NCAA Division I FBS football season. Their head coach was George O'Leary, in his sixth season with the team. Coaching changes included new offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe...

 in the 2009 St. Petersburg Bowl
2009 St. Petersburg Bowl
The 2009 St. Petersburg Bowl presented by Beef 'O' Brady's, formerly known as the St. Petersburg Bowl, was the second edition of the college football bowl game and was played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. The game began at 8:00 PM US EST on Saturday, December 19, 2009, was...

. For the first time in school history, on November 7, 2010, the Knights garnered national rankings, ranking 25th in the AP Poll
AP Poll
The Associated Press College Poll refers to weekly rankings of the top 25 NCAA teams in one of three Division I college sports: football, men's basketball and women's basketball. The rankings are compiled by polling sportswriters across the nation...

, 23rd in the USA Today Coaches Poll and 25th in the Harris Poll. The Knights won the 2010 Conference USA Championship game
2010 Conference USA Football Championship Game
The 2010 Conference USA Football Championship Game presented by HotelPlanner.com was played on December 4, 2010 at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando, FL. The game was played between the UCF Knights, winner of Conference USA's East Division, and the SMU Mustangs, the winner the West...

, defeating SMU 17–7, securing a berth in their fourth bowl game
2010 Liberty Bowl (December)
The 2010 Liberty Bowl, also known as Autozone Liberty Bowl, was the fifty-second edition of the college football bowl game, and was played at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. The game started at 3:30 PM US EST on December 31, 2010...

. After winning their second league title in four years, UCF entered the BCS Standings
Bowl Championship Series
The Bowl Championship Series is a selection system that creates five bowl match-ups involving ten of the top ranked teams in the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision , including an opportunity for the top two to compete in the BCS National Championship Game.The BCS relies on a combination of...

 for the first time in program history, ranking #25. The Knights ended the 2010 season
2010 UCF Knights football team
The 2010 UCF Knights football team represented the University of Central Florida in the 2010 NCAA Division I FBS football season. Their head coach was George O'Leary, who was in his seventh season with the team. For the first time in program history, the Knights were nationally ranked following a...

 with their first-ever bowl victory, a 10–6 victory over Georgia
2010 Georgia Bulldogs football team
The 2010 Georgia Bulldogs football team represented the University of Georgia in 2010. The Bulldogs competed in the East Division of the Southeastern Conference . This was the Georgia Bulldogs' tenth season for head coach Mark Richt...

 in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl
2010 Liberty Bowl (December)
The 2010 Liberty Bowl, also known as Autozone Liberty Bowl, was the fifty-second edition of the college football bowl game, and was played at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium in Memphis, Tennessee. The game started at 3:30 PM US EST on December 31, 2010...

.

The UCF men's basketball team has advanced to the NCAA tournament four times ('94
1994 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament
The 1994 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 64 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 17, 1994, and ended with the championship game on April 4 in Charlotte, North Carolina...

, '96
1996 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament
The 1996 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 64 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 14, 1996, and ended with the championship game on April 1 at Continental Airlines Arena in...

, '04
2004 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament
The 2004 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 65 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 16, 2004, and ended with the championship game on April 5 at the Alamodome in San Antonio,...

, '05
2005 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament
The 2005 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament involved 65 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA Division I college basketball. It began on March 15, 2005, and ended with the championship game on April 4 at the Edward Jones Dome in St...

) since its 1990 Division I debut, all under then head coach Kirk Speraw
Kirk Speraw
Kirk Speraw is currently an assistant basketball coach for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, under Head Coach Fran McCaffery. He is the former head basketball coach at the University of Central Florida, in Orlando, Florida...

. The 2008–09 UCF men's team featured senior Jermaine Taylor
Jermaine Taylor (basketball)
Jermaine Taylor is an American professional basketball player. Taylor was a starting guard for the University of Central Florida basketball team...

, who was one of the nation's top scorers averaging over 20 points per game. The women's basketball team is the 2009 Conference USA champions, and have previously won two tournament and three regular season championships in the Atlantic Sun Conference. The 2009–2010
2009–10 UCF Knights men's basketball team
The 2009–10 UCF Knights men's basketball team was a NCAA Division I college basketball team that represented the University of Central Florida and competed in Conference USA. They played their home games at the UCF Arena in Orlando, Florida...

 men's basketball team featured the reunion of Chicago players Marcus Jordan
Marcus Jordan
Marcus Jordan is an American college basketball player for the UCF Knights men's basketball team of Conference USA. He is the son of Hall of Fame NBA player Michael Jordan.-High school:...

 and AJ Rompza. Though after the conclusion of the season, the university decided to not retain 17-year head coach Kirk Speraw for the upcoming season, and in March 2010 announced the hiring of Donnie Jones as the new Knight's men's basketball head coach. Following a 10–0 start to the 2010–11 season
2010–11 UCF Knights men's basketball team
The 2010–11 UCF Knights men's basketball team was a NCAA Division I college basketball team that represented the University of Central Florida and competed in Conference USA...

, and being one of nine unbeaten teams, the Knights were nationally ranked for the first time in program history. At the time, UCF was one of only four schools to be ranked in the BCS standings and the AP men's basketball poll.

UCF's cheerleading
Cheerleading
Cheerleading is a physical activity, sometimes a competitive sport, based on organized routines, usually ranging from one to three minutes, which contain the components of tumbling, dance, jumps, cheers, and stunting to direct spectators of events to cheer on sports teams at games or to participate...

 squad has captured two national titles at the College Cheerleading and Dance Team Nationals, in 2003 and 2007. As the reigning national champions, they were followed by WE tv
WE TV
We TV is the third TV channel from Malayalam Communications Ltd, in Kerala and based at Trivandrum. The other two channels of this company are Kairali TV and People TV. WE TV is mainly aimed at the youth and was officially launched on April 14, 2007. Mr...

's hit cheerleading show, Cheerleader U.

Notable alumni and faculty

UCF has awarded over 200,000 degrees, with more than 170,000 alumni located around the world. 71% of UCF alumni reside in Florida, while 57% are located within the Central Florida area. The university has produced eight members of the Florida House of Representatives
Florida House of Representatives
The Florida House of Representatives is the lower house of the Florida Legislature, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Florida. The House is composed of 120 members representing an equal number of districts, with each district having an average population of 156,677.The House convenes at...

, a Florida State Senator
Florida Senate
The Florida Senate is the upper house of the Florida Legislature, the state legislature of the U.S. state of Florida. The Senate is composed of 40 members representing an equal number of districts, with each district having an average population of 470,032....

, two NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 astronaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

s, and numerous officers in the armed forces through Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 and Air Force
United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...

 ROTC
Reserve Officers' Training Corps
The Reserve Officers' Training Corps is a college-based, officer commissioning program, predominantly in the United States. It is designed as a college elective that focuses on leadership development, problem solving, strategic planning, and professional ethics.The U.S...

 programs. UCF graduates have served at the head of such diverse and important institutions as the Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic is a professional basketball team based in Orlando, Florida. They play in the Southeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Basketball Association and are currently coached by Stan Van Gundy...

, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
Walt Disney Parks and Resorts is the segment of The Walt Disney Company that conceives, builds, and manages the company's theme parks and holiday resorts, as well as a variety of additional family-oriented leisure enterprises...

, Texas Rangers
Texas Rangers (baseball)
The Texas Rangers are a professional baseball team in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, based in Arlington, Texas. The Rangers are a member of the Western Division of Major League Baseball's American League, and are the reigning A.L. Western Division and A.L. Champions. Since , the Rangers have...

, NASCAR
NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

, Busch Entertainment Corporation, Darden Restaurants
Darden Restaurants
Darden Restaurants, Inc. is a multi-brand restaurant operator headquartered in an unincorporated area in Orange County, Florida, near Orlando. The firm owns several casual dining restaurant chains, most notably Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, and Red Lobster...

, Sun Sports
Sun Sports
Sun Sports is a Florida sports broadcasting network, with its headquarters in Orlando. Launched in 1988 as Sunshine Network, the station is now affiliated with virtually every cable company throughout the state of Florida and can be picked up by some satellite providers around the United...

 and Fox Sports Florida, and Raymond James Financial. Actor James Best
James Best
James Best is an American actor best known for his role as bumbling Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane in the CBS television series The Dukes of Hazzard. He has also worked as an acting coach, artist, and musician.-Early years:...

, best known as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane
Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane
On the American TV series The Dukes of Hazzard, Rosco Purvis Coltrane is the bumbling sheriff of Hazzard County and right-hand man of its corrupt county commissioner, Jefferson Davis "J.D." Hogg ....

 from the Dukes of Hazzard
Dukes of Hazzard
The Dukes of Hazzard is an American television series that aired on the CBS television network from 1979 to 1985.The series was inspired by the 1975 film Moonrunners, which was also created by Gy Waldron and had many identical or similar character names and concepts.- Overview :The Dukes of Hazzard...

, taught classes at UCF for several years, actress Cheryl Hines
Cheryl Hines
Cheryl Ruth Hines is an American actress and director, known for her role as Larry David's wife Cheryl on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. She currently appears on the ABC sitcom Suburgatory...

, best known for her role as Cheryl David on the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm
Curb Your Enthusiasm
Curb Your Enthusiasm is an American comedy television series produced and broadcast by HBO, which premiered on October 15, 2000. As of 2011, it has completed 80 episodes over eight seasons. The series was created by Seinfeld co-creator Larry David, who stars as a fictionalized version of himself...

, graduated from UCF with a degree in communication, and comedian
Comedian
A comedian or comic is a person who seeks to entertain an audience, primarily by making them laugh. This might be through jokes or amusing situations, or acting a fool, as in slapstick, or employing prop comedy...

 Daniel Tosh
Daniel Tosh
Daniel Dwight Tosh is an American stand-up comedian and host of the Comedy Central television show, Tosh.0.-Personal life:...

, host of Comedy Central
Comedy Central
Comedy Central is an American cable television and satellite television channel that carries comedy programming, both original and syndicated....

's Tosh.0
Tosh.0
Tosh.0 is an American television series hosted by comedian Daniel Tosh, who provides sarcastic commentary on online video clips, society, celebrities, and other parts of popular culture.-History:...

, graduated with a degree in marketing. Also, The Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project
The Blair Witch Project is a 1999 American horror film pieced together from amateur footage. The film was produced by the Haxan Films production company. The film relates the story of three student filmmakers The Blair Witch Project is a 1999 American horror film pieced together from amateur...

, one of the most successful independent films ever produced, was filmed by UCF students and directed by alumnus Daniel Myrick
Daniel Myrick
Daniel Myrick is an American director most famous for co-directing and writing the 1999 film The Blair Witch Project with Eduardo Sánchez, for which they won the Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award.-Life and career:...

.

In addition, UCF graduates have held leadership positions in the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

, United States Department of Defense
United States Department of Defense
The United States Department of Defense is the U.S...

, Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a professional American football franchise based in Tampa, Florida, U.S. They are currently members of the Southern Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League – they are the only team in the division not to come from the old NFC West...

, Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jacksonville Jaguars are a professional American football team based in Jacksonville, Florida, U.S. They are currently members of the South Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League...

, Orlando Magic, NOAA, and Bright House Networks
Bright House Networks
Bright House Networks is a cable television company, the seventh largest cable operator and the sixth largest traditional multiple system operator in the United States owned by Advance/Newhouse, headquartered in Syracuse, New York...

 to name just a few.

As a competitor in college athletics
Sport
A Sport is all forms of physical activity which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical fitness and provide entertainment to participants. Sport may be competitive, where a winner or winners can be identified by objective means, and may require a degree...

, UCF has many notable student athletes, coaches and staff members, such as NFL players Josh Sitton
Josh Sitton
-Green Bay Packers:In 2010, he was named Offensive Lineman of the Year by the NFL Alumni Association and was selected as a Pro Bowl alternate.On September 2nd, 2011, the Packers signed Sitton to a five-year contract extension.-External links:**...

, Daunte Culpepper
Daunte Culpepper
Daunte Rachard Culpepper is an American football quarterback who is currently a free agent. He last played for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League . Prior to joining the UFL, Culpepper enjoyed a successful National Football League career after being drafted 11th overall in...

, Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith (running back)
Kevin Smith is an American football running back for the Detroit Lions of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the third round of the 2008 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Central Florida.-Early years:Smith attended Southridge High School...

, Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall
-2006:Before the regular season even began, Marshall suffered a slight tear to his PCL in a pre-season game against the Detroit Lions. Although the injury sidelined him for a couple of weeks, he was able to return and play 15 games during the regular season. Marshall had a total of 20 catches, 309...

, Asante Samuel
Asante Samuel
Asante T. Samuel is an American football cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League . He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the fourth round of the 2003 NFL Draft...

, Atari Bigby
Atari Bigby
Atari David Bigby is an American football safety for the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. He was signed by the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted free agent in 2005...

, and Mike Sims-Walker, MLS
Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer is a professional soccer league based in the United States and sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation . The league is composed of 19 teams — 16 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada...

 goalkeeper Sean Johnson, NBA starting guard Jermaine Taylor
Jermaine Taylor (basketball)
Jermaine Taylor is an American professional basketball player. Taylor was a starting guard for the University of Central Florida basketball team...

, NASCAR
NASCAR
The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing is a family-owned and -operated business venture that sanctions and governs multiple auto racing sports events. It was founded by Bill France Sr. in 1947–48. As of 2009, the CEO for the company is Brian France, grandson of the late Bill France Sr...

 driver Aric Almirola
Aric Almirola
Aric A. Almirola is a Cuban-American stock car driver in the NASCAR Nationwide Series. He currently drives the #88 Unilever/Grand Touring Vodka Chevrolet Impala for JR Motorsports. Almirola attended the University of Central Florida working on a degree in mechanical engineering before leaving to...

, Olympic beach volleyball player Phil Dalhausser
Phil Dalhausser
Philip "Phil" Peter Dalhausser is an American professional beach volleyball player. He and his playing partner, Todd Rogers, are the 2007 AVP Tour champions and the reigning FIVB world champions....

 and soccer star Michelle Akers
Michelle Akers
Michelle Akers is a former leading American association football player, who starred in the historic 1991 and 1999 Women's World Cup victory by the U.S.. She won the Golden Boot as the top scorer in the 1991 tournament...

. Currently, more than 50 UCF alumni compete in professional basketball
Basketball
Basketball is a team sport in which two teams of five players try to score points by throwing or "shooting" a ball through the top of a basketball hoop while following a set of rules...

, football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

, soccer, baseball
Baseball
Baseball is a bat-and-ball sport played between two teams of nine players each. The aim is to score runs by hitting a thrown ball with a bat and touching a series of four bases arranged at the corners of a ninety-foot diamond...

 and golf
Golf
Golf is a precision club and ball sport, in which competing players use many types of clubs to hit balls into a series of holes on a golf course using the fewest number of strokes....

.

External links

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