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Earlier today, the board that oversees our state universities approved UCF’s plans for a campus in downtown Orlando.

The Florida Board of Governors’ support is a critical milestone in the project — one that came after more than a year of planning and input from many of you across campus.

Thank you to all faculty and staff members, students and alumni who contributed to the 150-person UCF Downtown Task Force, exploring everything from academic programs to student activities to transportation.

Our plan is better than it was a year ago because of your feedback — and today, the Board of Governors recognized that.

Calling the project great for the city, county — but most of all for students — Board of Governors’ Chair Tom Kuntz praised UCF’s work over the past year to refine its plans for downtown.

As I told Governors at this afternoon’s presentation, UCF Downtown will be a new kind of campus — one that’s embedded in our community.

By working with our partners at Valencia College, the City of Orlando and throughout our community, collectively we have designed a distinctive education environment in the heart of our city. UCF Downtown best aligns degree programs with industry needs and neighborhood synergies to provide our students with high-impact learning experiences not possible on our main campus.

We have raised $16 million in community support, and expect to soon reach our $20 million philanthropic goal for the new academic building.

In the coming weeks, UCF will learn if its matching $20 million request from the state will be funded. The remaining $20 million for the new academic building will come from university auxiliary resources.

As President Hitt told the Governors, few moments have been as important as today to transform our students’ lives, our community and our state for decades to come.