When he handed me that napkin with those goals, I didn’t understand how central they would become to UCF. It was such a casual moment, so understated, that it’s amazing when contrasted with what we’ve become. Through those goals, we’ve built our university and our neighborhood—beyond what just about anybody on the outside ever could have imagined.
—Dr. Dan Holsenbeck
Some say that UCF’s rise to prominence began when President Hitt gave a napkin to Dr. Dan Holsenbeck in an airport restaurant in 1992. On that napkin was the future of UCF—five handwritten goals:
1. Offer the best undergraduate education available in Florida
2. Achieve international prominence in key programs of graduate study and research
3. Provide international focus to our curricula and research programs
4. Become more inclusive and diverse
5. Be America’s leading partnership university
When asked, “What do you think of these?” Holsenbeck, vice president for University Relations, responded, “Yeah, those will work.” Understatement, indeed. These goals weren’t introduced for fanfare; they were and are a real plan for the university’s future.
An Eye to the Future
Over the past 40 years, the pace has been intense and the achievements unprecedented. Our connection to the community is evident in so many ways. For example, our Central to Our Future campaign raised $356 million. The 2007 opening of the 10,000-seat UCF Arena and 45,300-seat Bright House Networks Stadium reflects our desire to draw more members of our community to campus while giving students, faculty, staff and alumni a sense of place and pride. In so many ways, UCF continues to contribute to Central Florida’s economy and well being, including impacting more than 25,000 jobs. And the new College of Medicine will add to that growth.
UCF has grown to 12 colleges, offers more than 200 degree programs and has conferred almost 200,000 degrees. Students have become Rhodes, Mellon, Truman and Goldwater scholars. Alumni lead Fortune 500 companies. UCF and its partners energize the economy and make contributions worldwide.
After 40 years, we call this is a good start.