President John C. Hitt sent the message below to the UCF community.
In the 24 years since I became UCF president, few moments have been as important to our university as the one that occurred today.
Earlier today, Governor Rick Scott approved $20 million toward a new academic building that will be the centerpiece of UCF Downtown. These state funds, along with $20 million matched in community support and another $20 million from internal university resources, will allow us to open a campus with Valencia College in our city’s urban core.
The new campus will build on the success of our existing Center for Emerging Media and the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, which The Princeton Review today ranked the No. 1 graduate video-gaming school in North America.
UCF Downtown will offer students an innovative learning environment within walking distance of thousands of internship and job opportunities in the growing fields of digital entertainment and communication, health technology and administration, and public service, including legal studies.
I am grateful for the efforts of our Central Florida Legislative delegation, led by Senate President Andy Gardiner and House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, Governor Scott, our university’s leadership team, as well as the more than 150 members of our UCF Downtown Task Force of faculty and staff members, community leaders and partners, and students.
Today, the Governor also approved $15 million in the state budget toward UCF’s advanced manufacturing research center and consortium for smart sensors in Osceola County. This project is certain to give Florida a global competitive advantage in this critical and emerging market.
UCF has a history of success with location-based education with the internationally recognized Rosen College of Hospitality Management in the heart of the region’s tourism corridor, the $5 billion modeling and simulation cluster in the Central Florida Research Park, and the pioneering College of Medicine as the centerpiece of the Lake Nona Medical City.
Similarly, UCF Downtown will transform the lives of our students and the future of our community, as well as benefit our state for decades to come.