About 7,900 University of Central Florida students are expected to graduate in six ceremonies May 4-6 at the CFE Arena.
The commencement ceremonies for the different colleges will be:
UCF has awarded more than 302,000 degrees since classes began in 1968.
The university’s Distinguished Alumnus Award will be presented to the commencement speaker for the first ceremony, Steve Crisafulli, a former speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.
Crisafulli is a seventh-generation Floridian and holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from UCF in 1996. He served in the House of Representatives 2008-16, served as majority leader 2013-14, and as House Speaker 2014-16. He presided over last year’s legislative session that funded several projects important to UCF. He could not run for re-election because of term limits.
He manages his family’s cattle, citrus, real estate, development and construction business. Since 1996, he has been a director of the Brevard County Farm Bureau and served as president of the Bureau 2003-05. Crisafulli received the President’s Award from the Florida Farm Bureau, the Champion for Business Award from the Associated Industries of Florida, and the Award for Exceptional Leadership from the Florida Economic Development Commission.
Other commencement speakers are: Mori Hosseini, chair and CEO of ICI Homes (2:30 May 4); Robert Utsey, senior vice president for Skanska USA Building (9 a.m. May 5); former Florida legislator Geraldine Thompson (2:30 p.m. May 5); Wendy Link, managing and founding partner of the Ackerman, Link & Sartory law firm (9 a.m. May 6); and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer (2:30 May 6).
Here’s more on the speakers:
Hosseini leads one of Florida’s most successful residential homebuilders. ICI has created some of the largest master development communities in the state and is ranked by Builder Magazine among the nation’s Top 100 homebuilders. Hosseini is a former member and chair of the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida, chair of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s board of trustees, and member of the University of Florida’s board of trustees. Both the Mori Hosseini Center at Daytona State College and the ICI Center at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University recognize his service to education. Hosseini has served on the boards of Halifax Medical Center and the Florida Council of 100. He earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from Chelsea College in England, and a bachelor of science and a master of business administration from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Utsey is responsible for business development and corporate training initiatives for the Florida and Georgia markets of Skanska USA Building. He has been a Skanska leader for 15 years following a successful career in manufacturing, distribution and specialty retailing. He was a member of the team that developed and built many prominent facilities in the region, including Nemours Children’s Hospital, BRIDG (formerly the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center), and the Port Canaveral Terminal 6 and Welcome Center. He and Skanska are responsible for a number of UCF buildings. Utsey also is board chair of the Orlando Economic Development Commission and Seminole State College Foundation. He has held leadership positions in many regional nonprofit organizations, including the Boys & Girls Clubs, Central Florida Council of Boy Scouts of America, and the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf event. Utsey is a graduate of the University of Florida.
Thompson was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2008 and to the Florida Senate in 2012. She served as chair of the Orange County Legislative Delegation, becoming the first woman and first African-American to hold the leadership position. In 2014, she was named chair of the Florida Women’s Legislative Caucus. She previously was director of equal opportunity and assistant to the president at Valencia College for 24 years. Among her accomplishments was the establishment of the College Reach Out Program, which enabled thousands of low-income and disadvantaged students to attend college. She is also credited with preserving one of Orlando’s unique landmarks, the Well’s Built Hotel. Today, the Well’s Built Museum preserves the history of African-Americans in Central Florida. Thompson received a bachelor’s degree journalism and business education from the University of Miami and a master’s in communications from Florida State University.
Link‘s law practice focuses on commercial real estate, asset-based financing and corporate law. She is the past chair of the Economic Council of Palm Beach County and the Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches. She chairs the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation and serves on the Business Development Board and the Florida Council of 100. Link serves on the Board of Governors of the State University System of Florida, is a past officer of the Florida College Trustee Commission, and is a member and past chair of the board of trustees of Palm Beach State College. She has been named one of the Top Lawyers in South Florida for real estate and commercial loan transactions by South Florida Legal Guide. Link received her bachelor of science from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and her law degree from Duke University.
Dyer, Orlando’s longest-serving mayor, took the oath of office in 2003. During his tenure, Orlando has become one of the nation’s fastest growing cities and the country’s most visited destination, hosting more than 65 million visitors annually. He has worked to increase cooperation and partnerships among Central Florida’s governments, businesses, civic communities and residents, including supporting educational efforts such as the University of Central Florida-Valencia College campus in downtown Orlando. UCF Downtown will anchor the Creative Village innovation cluster, enroll 7,700 students, and generate an estimated $200 million annual economic impact. Some of his other collaborative projects include the Amway Center, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, and Camping World Stadium. The former Florida state senator has fought to end veteran homelessness and has strived to ensure that Orlando embraces diversity, promotes fairness and equality, and is a welcoming, multicultural community. Dyer earned his undergraduate degree in civil engineering from Brown University and a law degree from the University of Florida.
All guests attending the ceremonies, including children and infants, are required to have a ticket.
Guests should expect long lines because of security measures. It is advised not to take purses, backpacks or large bags to expedite security screenings. Doors at the arena will open 90 minutes before the start of each ceremony.
Those who do not have tickets can view a telecast of the ceremonies on closed circuit television at the FAIRWINDS Alumni Center and the Student Union if seats are available.
For other details, go to the commencement website.
The university is trying a new feature on the UCF Mobile app to allow graduates and families to view the commencement program booklet, link to the online stream, get information on parking, seating and other logistics. To access the pilot program:
- Open the UCF Mobile app
- Go to “About” (bottom row, right side)
- Tap on Commencement Spring 2017 at the bottom of the page.
The module will go live at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday and close 8 p.m. Sunday.