The Board of Trustees heard an update on the freshman class during its meeting on Thursday.

Trustees learned that the freshman class includes 67 National Merit Scholars, 14 National Hispanic Scholars, four National Achievement Scholars and 53 high school valedictorians.

“We are continuing to attract top-notch students from across the country,” said Al Harms, vice president of Strategy, Marketing, Communications and Admissions.

Eighteen percent of freshmen are the first in their families to attend a four-year college or university. That figure rises to 26 percent for the entire UCF student body.

“This is great for them, but also for their children,” President John C. Hitt said during the State of the University Address on Tuesday. “Data show that children of college graduates are 12 times more likely to go to college than children of parents who have not attended college.”

Other key statistics for the fall freshman class of 3,640 students include:

  • 37 percent of the students are minorities.
  • Students are fluent in more than 20 languages
  • Many of the class’ most popular majors are in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. They include Biology, Biomedical Sciences, Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering.
  • In other action Thursday, the Board of Trustees:

    Learned that UCF’s purchase of the WMFE TV broadcast license and production equipment is now final. The sale ensures that, through WUCF TV, public broadcasting will remain in Central Florida and will lead to a stronger broadcast signal, meaning PBS will be accessible to more people in Central Florida and others will enjoy better viewing reception. Additionally, more educational opportunities will be available for UCF students in broadcast engineering, digital film and media, communications and other fields.

    Discussed the success of UCF’s online learning initiatives, including the university’s emphasis on providing the resources faculty members need to develop highly effective online courses. The Sloan Consortium, a higher-education association that promotes online learning, recognized UCF this year with its top institution-wide award for creating and delivering high-quality courses online.

    Approved naming the presentation room in the Graduate Student Center in Colbourn Hall after Patricia Bishop, who retired in January as vice provost and dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

    Remembered Al Burnett, a highly respected entrepreneur and one of the university’s most generous supporters. Burnett, who passed away this month, and his wife Nancy, who died last year, donated $12.8 million over more than 30 years to support UCF students and programs, and the impact of their gifts plus state matching funds totaled nearly $25 million. The university president’s home, honors college and school of biomedical sciences are named in their honor. Trustees watched a video tribute created by Burnett Honors College students.

    Learned that the U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $1.1 million grant to continue the UCF McNair Scholars Program, which prepares juniors and seniors for a doctoral education. Participants are low-income or first-generation students or are from underrepresented groups.

    Honored Physics Professor Dan Britt for developing the technology that allowed scientists and the public to get close-up views of Mars’ minerals and textures with the proper color.

    Applauded the women’s soccer team for ranking as high as No. 6 in the nation this fall. The team has been ranked in the top 10 for six consecutive weeks.