The $55 million from NASA over the next five years will allow for unprecedented imaging of the Earth’s upper atmosphere. And the grant distinguishes UCF as the first Florida university to lead a NASA mission.John C. Hitt, UCF president
Walk the Talk
UCF’s President Hitt creates a platform for partnerships and an open-door policy to encourage them. He puts himself on the line for them. His philosophy amplifies partnerships and nurtures UCF’s reputation by growing the regional economy through them. He says, “I fervently believe that in partnerships we discover our highest and best futures, and our best chance to move beyond conventional success to true significance.”
Give to Get
To UCF, going it alone shortchanges not only UCF but also those who depend on us or might benefit from working with us. Collaboration and custom solutions are even part of the story of UCF’s birth. Before the university had a name, 89 citizens collected donations of land and money to help it get started. And just like that, UCF’s give-to-get reciprocity culture began.
We’ve asked ourselves for years what comes next after Medical City and it’s this infrastructure project — the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center. Rick Weddle, president and CEO of the Orlando Economic Development Commission
Better Health Care
UCF and Florida International University joined together to make their pitches to Florida legislators. According to UCF President John Hitt, “If we made our efforts individually, the prevailing argument would be that Florida could not afford a new medical school. But Mitch [Maidique, then president of FIU] and I were convinced that a joint effort would reveal a remarkable paradox: While Florida could not afford one new medical school, it could afford two.”
Today, the UCF College of Medicine anchors a medical city which is projected to create 30,000 jobs and more than $7.6 billion in economic activity by 2017 with business partners including the University of Florida, Sanford-Burnham, Veteran Affairs and Nemours Children’s Hospital.
With seven of the top theme parks in the world, a record-setting 59 million visitors in 2013, Orlando, Florida continues to lead the nation as its most visited destination. The partnership between UCF and Harris Rosen, the owner of the largest independently held hotel group in Florida, was a natural fit. Not only did Rosen donate $10 million and 25 acres of land, he also helped shape the program that now enrolls 3,500 students, making it the largest hospitality program in the nation.
Situated in the heart of hospitality, Rosen College of Hospitality Management also looks like it belongs in a world-class destination: the 159,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art, Mediterranean resort-style campus is the largest facility ever built for hospitality management education.
Aerospace and Defense
Founded in 1982 as a research unit of UCF, the Institute for Simulation and Training (IST) continues the partnership forged among UCF, the state of Florida, local industry and Department of Defense. It has achieved international recognition through its work in collaboration with the military simulation and training commands located in the 1,027-acre Central Florida Research Park adjacent to UCF. Today, the institute is at the heart of a $5.0 billion industry.
IST’s Department of Defense contracts still account for a sizable portion of the institute’s contract and grant support, but clients range from Google, Johnson & Johnson, U.S. Department of Education and Federal Aviation Administration, to health care providers with similar training goals, to museums and science centers looking to simulation to enhance their exhibits’ learning value.
In 1996, the Florida High Tech Corridor Council was established and formally funded by the Florida State Legislature to promote high-tech employment in partnership with education by attracting, retaining and growing high-tech industry in the service areas of UCF and the University of South Florida. The outcome of this effort has been matching research funds, workforce development, pro-industry legislation and tax incentives.
The Corridor Council is a partnership involving local and regional economic development organizations and community colleges, as well as the University of Florida, which joined the effort in 2005. Today, this effort has not only earned national recognition, but also attracted more than 350 companies and generated $1 billion in downstream impact.
Small Business Engine
In the U.S. more than 50 percent of the working population works in a small business. And small businesses have generated more than 65 percent of the net new jobs since 1995. Named the 2013 and 2004 “Business Incubator of the Year” by the National Business Incubation Association, UCF launched the Technology Incubator in 1999 to give small, locally-relevant businesses the guidance they needed to succeed. In the last two years, UCF incubator companies helped create and sustain more than 3,200 new jobs in the Central Florida region, generating more than $18.5 million in state and local taxes and had a total regional economic output of more than $620 million.
Video game producer Electronic Arts (EA) was in need of skilled workers and had approached other universities. But the best partnership opportunity came when the City of Orlando, the State of Florida, the Economic Development Commission and others joined forces to form the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) at UCF.
Since its 2005 founding, FIEA has been ranked among the top five in all five Princeton Review sets of rankings and was recently ranked the number one video game design graduate program in North America. Located in the School of Film and Digital Media in downtown Orlando, FIEA has graduated 359 alumni working at 124 companies around the world, including Google, Electronic Arts, Blizzard, Ubisoft, Disney and Microsoft. The average starting salary for FIEA graduates is $54,581.
The Lockheed Martin/UCF Academy is an excellent example of a successful partnership. We know that at the core of STEM success is the teacher in the classroom – working with students every day.Tobi Allen, Lockheed Martin, Community Relations