University of Central Florida
The University of Central Florida (UCF), located in Orlando, Florida, is a member institution of the State University System of Florida. As of 2004, UCF is the third largest public university in Florida by enrollment, with the University of South Florida outranking them by a little more than 100 students and coming in second to the University of Florida by less than 6,000 students. UCF awards bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctorates. The main campus is located approximately nine miles from downtown Orlando and fifty-five miles from Daytona Beach, and there are a number of satellite campuses in eastern central Florida, though none is as large as the 1400 acre (5.7 km²) main campus.
The university was established on 10 June 1963, and the first classes began in August 1968. UCF was known as Florida Technological University (or Florida Tech) until the name was changed on December 6, 1978 by action of the state legislature; now FTU's former rival, the Florida Institute of Technology, goes by Florida Tech. In 2003, UCF had the distinction of being the fastest growing University in the United States in terms of undergraduate enrollment, and as of 2004, more than 42,000 students attend the school.
One of the founding goals of the university was to act as a support system for the Kennedy Space Center which is about 50 miles (80 km) away. Additionally, the Central Florida Research Park, which is nearby and which infuses research funds into the university and draws many interns and graduates from it, has a major focus of simulation as well space and defense related research.
UCF also has several specialized schools including the School of Computer Science, and the School of Film and Digital Media, which supply graduates to Disney, Lockheed Martin, and many other local companies. In 2004, the board of trustees voted to give the School of Optics and Photonics full college status, making it the first college dedicated specifically Optics and Photonics at a public university in the United States.
UCF's official colors are gold (or yellow) and black, the various sports teams go by the name of "Golden Knights," and the official mascot is a gold-armored black knight named Knightro. The UCF academic logo, however, is the Pegasus.
- Michelle Akers, who is a champion women's soccer player and was named to the FIFA 100.
- Daunte Culpepper, who is a professional football quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings.
- Ericka Dunlap, who was chosen to be Miss America for 2004.
- Doug Gabriel, wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders.
- Cheryl Hines, who is an American actress most famous for her role on HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm.
- Glenn Hubbard, Dean of Columbia Business School and former chairman of US Presidents Council of Economic Advisers.
- Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sánchez, who wrote and directed The Blair Witch Project.
- Asante Samuel, cornerback for the New England Patriots.
Points of interest
- The University of Central Florida homepage
- Official UCF athletics site
- Current facts about UCF from the university's Office of Institutional Research.
- UCF Mascot, Knightro, Blog
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