The University of Central Florida was originally named Florida Technological University when it was established in 1963. Its initial purpose was to provide highly trained personnel to support the Kennedy Space Center, 35 miles to its east. Its founding president was Dr. Charles Millican, who chose the school colors of black and gold.
The school changed its name to UCF in 1978, under the third president, Dr. Colbourn. At the time, the school was expanding to encompass a wider range of academic disciplines. In 1990, the University of Central Florida founded the Space Education and Research Center. Its current president is Dr. John Hitt. UCF has continued to expand, and is now the largest undergraduate school in Florida and the sixth largest university in the country. The school’s most recent additions are a new football stadium, a new arena, and plans for a medical school.
UCF’s campus is located 13 miles from downtown Orlando, and is composed of 12 distinct colleges. The campus is laid out in concentric circles with few roads, designed to be a pedestrian-friendly space, and students generally get around by shuttle, bus, bike, or their own two feet. The only other campus in the country with a similar design is UC Irvine.
The outermost circle, and the main road for car traffic on campus, is Gemini Boulevard. Inside Gemini are Apollo Circle, Mercury Circle, and finally, Pegasus Circle. Pegasus is the center of campus, and contains the student union, with the library located directly to the south. All UCF’s academic buildings are located inside of Gemini, with the circle divided up into pie-shaped sections for each college.
Housing is along the outer rim of the campus (though 75% of students live off-campus). The northwest side of campus is mainly Greek communities, the north side contains an athletic village, the east side houses the Arboretum, and the south side contains student recreation and wellness facilities.
Also on campus are 800 acres of natural wetlands, which include beautiful cypress domes and 45 species of animal.
The five best on-campus hangouts are the student union, the recreation and wellness center and leisure pool, the reflection pond, Greek row, and memory mall with the arena and stadium.
The student union houses the food court, meeting rooms for events, Student Government Association, Office of Student Involvement, SGA Printing Lab, Activity and Service Fee Office, and the Pegasus Ballroom. The recreation and wellness center is our gym on campus, and has an open-exercise floor, an indoor track, a cardio floor, a weight machine floor, and multiple basketball courts. Also included are group-exercise studios. The Leisure Pool is located next to the gym.
The reflection pond is located between Millican Hall and the library. Many students come to relax or study here on a sunny day. Greek Row is another popular hangout among students. Memory Mall is located right in front of the arena, and is a popular destination for tailgating during football season as well as for and playing a pick-up game of Frisbee or football during the week. The stadium is located behind the arena.
UCF is located in a suburban area 13 miles from downtown Orlando. About 2.7 million people live in the greater metropolitan area. Students have the chance to take advantage of all the amenities of the city, including its popular beaches and theme parks.
Orlando attracts more than 42 million tourists each year, has over 400 hotels with 120,000 rooms, 5,000 restaurants, and 75 theme parks and attractions (including Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Studios). UCF is therefore an ideal location for studying the tourist trade, at its Rosen College of Hospitality Management.
The Kennedy Space Center is only 35 miles to the east of campus, and NASA has always been an important educational and professional partner with the university.
Each year, the university partners with the city to put on the Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival. Orlando has a large entertainment industry, and numerous TV shows and films have been shot on UCF’s campus or with the collaboration of UCF students.
Downtown Orlando has a thriving night life and you can find something fun to do any night of the week. Also downtown is Lake Eola, a beautiful lake and park that is at the heart of the city.
City Walk at Universal Studios and I-Drive are about 30 minutes away, a great destination treat if you have the time. City Walk has many popular restaurants, including Margaritaville and Bubba Gump’s. I-Drive has many attractions for tourists and the avid shopper.
There are also many restaurants along University Boulevard. Moe’s and Huey Magoo’s are located within five minutes of campus. Their two restaurants are very popular among the students. Blanchard Park is also located about five minutes from campus as well and has a running trail and also picnic and cook-out areas for a lazy Sunday.
UCF students have adopted many traditions in the school’s short history, centered on sports and more.
Spirit Splash is a very original and unique tradition that takes place during homecoming every year. Students are allowed to jump in the reflection pond and have a huge pep rally to celebrate the upcoming homecoming game.
We also have fight songs and chants that students are very proud of. At football games, we have what is called ‘zombie nation.’ We all jump up and down to the song of the same name by Kernkraft 400. Apparently the school had to add reinforcement to the new stadium to make sure all of the students wouldn't damage the structure because of the jumping! At the basketball games, we have a special cheer right for after a free throw is made by our team.
Lastly, the school symbol, the Pegasus, on the floor of the student union, is sacred. There is a saying that a student won't graduate if he steps on the Pegasus during his college career. One of the main photo opportunities for seniors after graduation is to take a picture standing on the Pegasus!
Cheryl Hines: Actress on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm
John C. Bersia: Pulitzer Prize winning writer for the Orlando Sentinel
Lee Constantine: Florida State Senator
Daunte Culpepper: Famous NFL Quaterback for the Oakland Raiders
Mike Maroth: MLB Player for the St. Louis Cardinals
Glenn Hubbard: Dean of Columbia Business School
Angel Ruiz: President and CEO of Ericsson North America
Erika Dunlap: Miss America 2004
Alan Gooch: President and General Manager, Orlando Predators
William Parsons: Director of Space Shuttle program, NASA
Michelle Akers: Champion women’s soccer player, named to the FIFA 100
The UCF Knights compete in NCAA Division I sports, in Conference USA. Until 1990, they were a Division II school.
UCF has 17 varsity sports teams. UCF is also the first school to ever build and open a new stadium and sports arena at the same time: they did so for the 2007-2008 season with the Bright House Networks Stadium and the UCF Arena. In 2007, the UCF Football team won their first C-USA Conference Championship, and played in the 49th Annual AutoZone Liberty Bowl.
UCF also has a good soccer team and has produced a number of soccer stars, including Michelle Akers, who went on to play in the Olympics and was part of the 1999 USA National Team that won the World Cup.
The UCF cheerleading squad has won two national titles at the College Cheerleading and Dance Team Nationals, in 2003 and 2007. They were recently followed by WE TV's hit cheerleading show, Cheerleader U, as the reigning national champions.
The school mascot, seen at sports events, is a gold-armored black knight named Knightro.
UCF's official colors are black and gold, the mascot is Knightro, and the logo is a Pegasus.
96% of UCF’s students are from Florida, and UCF has more undergraduates than any other university in the state (roughly 41,000).
UCF has 800 acres of natural wetlands on its campus, which include cypress domes and 45 species of animal.
UCF is a NASA Space Grant college and has a satellite campus at the Kennedy Space Center.
Cheerleader U is a television program that followed the story of the UCF cheerleaders as they prepared for the College Cheerleading Championship. They have been past nation champions.
The Blair Witch Project was filmed in the area by UCF students.
Housing at UCF is organized into communities, each with its own staff, office, and attitude. There are three types of housing contracts: summer, academic, and annual. The residences are located on the perimeter of the campus.
We have five major dorms on campus - Apollo, Libra, Academic Village, the Towers, and Lake Claire. Apollo consists of four halls, which are named Polk, Volusia, Osceola, and Lake. The complex has four two-story buildings in which four or five people share each suite. Units have two or three bedrooms, a bathroom, and a common room that are shared.
Libra has six halls that house mostly freshman. There are two different styles of rooms in the community, but both have four people per suite and a shared bathroom. There is a kitchen and laundry on the premises.
Academic Village has the Hercules and Nike communities, with more apartments and residence halls.
Lake Claire is made up fifteen buildings with apartment-style living, each arranged around three courtyards. The complex has a central community building with an office, lounge, vending machines, and laundry.
The Towers are the newest of halls on campus. There are four seven-story buildings near the new Bright House Networks Stadium and right by shops and restaurants. The Towers house approximately 500 students each in apartments that feature single bedrooms with full-size beds, kitchens with dishwashers, internet, cable TV, local phone service, and optional preferred parking. The Towers offer 11.5-month annual contracts and are open year-round. Summer enrollment in classes is not required.