The University of Central Florida reached a milestone Tuesday when it inaugurated its first sanctioned international alumni chapter, which will be hosted by students and scholars in Saudi Arabia.

Officially recognized by UCF Alumni, chapter members plan to meet to discuss opportunities for partnerships and cooperation with the university, said Chairman Yahya Alassaf, a 2016 doctoral graduate in civil engineering.

“This is fantastic. We had this idea, we discussed it with the UCF Global administration and in a few weeks, they said ‘Yes, you can do this’,” said Alassaf, who is returning home to Saudi Arabia to become an assistant professor of engineering at Northern Borders University in Saudi Arabia.

Cynthia Young, Vice Provost for Faculty Excellence and UCF Global, spoke at Tuesday’s inauguration breakfast to recognize the new chapter. She reminded students that UCF wants to grow the number of international undergraduates, increase our students’ international mobility and strengthen our UCF Global brand. International alumni can help UCF advance all three.  She challenged the students and recent alumni to be ambassadors for UCF.

“I want you to think about how you can impact undergraduates and help others transform their lives at UCF,” she said. “You are our best international ambassadors.”

About a dozen students and recent alumni milled about at the inaugural breakfast, which featured delicacies like sugared dates and Saudi coffee flavored with cardamom. Young presented Alassaf with its charter certificate recognizing UCF’s first International Alumni Chapter in Saudi Arabia.

“It makes me happy that my journey at UCF continues,” Alassaf told students and administrators. “Having the first international chapter means the story of UCF won’t be lost. Saudi alumni will continue to be great representatives for UCF and its commitment to excellence.”