Faculty members, staff and students who have made significant achievements and academic contributions at the University of Central Florida were recognized at the annual Founders’ Day Honors Convocation on Wednesday.

From a biology professor who has been featured in two National Geographic Channel documentary films (William Crampton), to a Professor Emeritus who wrote the initial grant proposal to establish UCF’s highly ranked Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (Michael Moshell), and to a Grammy Award-winning saxophonist who is director of jazz studies (Jeffrey Rupert), the recipients were honored at a program and reception in the Student Union.

President John C. Hitt said the accomplishments recognized at the annual convocation continue to confirm the pursuit of excellence by those at the university.

One new honor presented this year was the Reach for the Stars Award, given to eight early-career professionals for their outstanding research or creative endeavors. The president said narrowing down the recipients was hard because there were so many noteworthy nominations, and he expects the choices will become more difficult in the years to come.

Awards also were given to honor excellence in teaching, advising, research, professional service, outstanding theses, length-of-service milestones and other categories.

A number of past winners and retirees joined employees, students, recipients’ families and friends, and others from the UCF community at the program.

For more on today’s winners, go to these stories: