Today the College of Health and Public Affairs begins a yearlong recognition of it first 25 years.

It was 25 years ago, in the summer of 1990, that UCF merged the academic programs in its College of Health with academic programs from its College of Arts and Sciences to create a new college with a unique interdisciplinary focus. Belinda McCarthy, Ph.D., was recruited to serve as its first dean.

UCF named the new college the College of Health and Professional Studies. However, McCarthy suggested in her first year that the name be changed to the College of Health and Public Affairs “to better [reflect] its mission.” UCF adopted the new name in July 1991.*

In 1990-91 the college offered academic programs in cardiopulmonary sciences, communicative disorders, criminal justice, health sciences, hospitality management, legal studies, medical laboratory sciences, medical records administration, nursing, public administration, radiologic sciences and social work.

Its fall 1990 enrollment was 1,902 students. (UCF’s was 20,387 students.)

UCF’s tremendous growth over the past two and a half decades has brought many changes. But the college’s academic mission — to offer students an exceptional education that provides opportunities for engagement in research and community service — has remained consistent.

That’s not to say the college hasn’t changed any since 1990-1991. Several of its original academic programs went on to form or become part of new colleges at UCF. Others relocated to neighboring academic institutions. The college established new programs too, in athletic training, health services administration, nonprofit management, physical therapy, public affairs, research administration, and urban and regional planning.

McCarthy served as dean of the college for 15 years, and Interim Dean Joyce Dorner succeeded her for two years. In 2008 Michael Frumkin, Ph.D., became the college’s second permanent dean. After his arrival the college established its motto of “Strengthening Communities. Changing Lives.”

Twenty-five years after its founding, the College of Health and Public Affairs is now the second largest college at UCF with some 9,500 students. This fall the college will offer a total of 57 degree, minor and certificate programs, including a new criminal justice doctoral program. And today the college boasts more than 35,000 alumni providing vitally important health and public services for community members in the region and around the world.

That’s a lot to recognize.

*Purpose of College of Health and Public Affairs Better Reflected in New Name, UCF News – June 26, 1991