UCF President John C. Hitt was honored Thursday night with the John Young History Maker Award, presented annually by the Historical Society of Central Florida in recognition of lifetime achievements that have made an impact on the community. The award, named after Orlando’s hometown astronaut, is the society’s highest honor.

Hitt became president of UCF on March 1, 1992. Since then, enrollment has tripled to nearly 61,000 students, making UCF the second largest university in the nation. During his tenure, the school has become a major metropolitan research university of global impact and is now known as America’s Partnership University.

Hitt led a community effort to create the UCF College of Medicine, co-founded the Florida High Tech Corridor that involves 23 counties, and is now leading the drive to open UCF Downtown.

Hitt told the audience in the UCF Student Union that UCF’s success has been the result of those in the community who have been willing to combine their resources to get things done.

“It had always seemed to me that none of us as individuals, institutions, or organizations have the resources to address and resolve the pressing problems that we face. But, working together, we can do a lot to advance the quality of life in our Orlando city-state. And we can turn the impossible into the inevitable,” Hitt said. “I’ve been fortunate to work with many determined and progressive people who desire to enhance their community. I’ve also benefitted from talented team members at UCF who endeavor to think big, to confront challenges and to work hard to invent a better future.”