UCF will award more than 9,000 degrees during six commencement ceremonies at Addition Financial Arena May 3-4, sending a talented group of highly skilled graduates into careers in-demand fields across our region and throughout Florida.

This year’s graduates will also hear from six leaders across Central Florida — including NASA Administrator and former U.S. Senator Bill Nelson — who are improving communities, transforming lives and making industry breakthroughs with their work.

Of the degrees UCF expects to award, 8,317 are bachelor’s, 1,248 are master’s, 144 are doctoral and 13 are specialist degrees. UCF will also award 121 graduate certificates.

Overall, UCF anticipates awarding 2,967 degrees in STEM fields — including 1,177 in engineering and computer science — as well as 1,346 in business-related fields, 397 in hospitality-related fields, 359 in nursing, 230 in biomedical sciences, and 405 in digital and emerging media.

More than a quarter of the bachelor’s degree recipients, totaling 3,793 students, are eligible for Pell Grants, showcasing the university’s commitment to social mobility. Additionally, 1,654 bachelor’s degrees will be awarded to first-generation students who will be the first in their families to graduate from college.

Commencement Festivities

Held in Addition Financial Arena, the spring commencement will take place May 3-4.

All guests, including children and infants, need a ticket for admission. All graduates who have filed an intent to graduate will receive five commencement ceremony tickets when they pick up their regalia packet.

Guests who do not have tickets may watch the live ceremony via a simulcast viewing in the FAIRWINDS Alumni Center and the Student Union. Ceremonies will also be livestreamed on UCF’s YouTube channel.

Commencement Photo-ops Across UCF

Main Campus

Three different photo-ops on UCF’s main campus are available for students to celebrate their accomplishments.

The Reflecting Pond is one of the most iconic spots on campus for grad photos. Strike a pose and make memories through May 5.

Graduating Knights will also be able to take photos in FBC Mortgage Stadium from 10 a.m. to 4p.m., April 29 to May 2. Please enter through Gate 17 to access the stadium. Taking photos on the field is prohibited.

On Thursday, May 2, 2:30-7 p.m., spring graduates will be offered a photo-op — Grad Walk — within Addition Financial Arena. This will be a first-come, first-served occasion for graduates and up to 10 of their well-wishers to take photos and videos on the ceremony stage. Graduates are required to register here.

UCF Downtown

UCF Downtown offers several great locations for unforgettable graduation photos. Here are our top picks of the best spots to memorialize your academic achievement.

Celebrate your college journey by honoring your support system at the Dr. Phillips Academic Commons West Lobby donor wall. Use the iconic phrase, “If you want to go far, go together,” on the donor wall as a backdrop to pay homage to those who helped you along the way.

The Seneff Plaza, located between the East and West Wings of Dr. Phillips Academic Commons, is where so many campus events and gatherings take place. The towering columns and reflective glass of Dr. Phillips Academic Commons capture the modern campus where you worked so hard to earn your degree.

Enhance your graduation photos by venturing beyond campus into the surrounding Orlando area. You barely have to step off campus to encounter the iconic Orlando sign located at Luminary Green Park. The 2.3-acre park features a large, welcoming lawn that leads up to the oversized “Orlando” letters at the end of the park, creating the ideal environment to mark your time in The City Beautiful.

Commencement Schedule

Graduates and guests can review the below commencement ceremony schedule, listing colleges, ceremony dates and streaming links:

PLEASE NOTE: College of Sciences graduates in the Nicholson School of Communication and Media* and the School of Politics, Security and International Affairs** attend the Friday, May 3, 2024 – Evening Ceremony (6:30 p.m.). All other College of Sciences graduates attend the Saturday, May 4, 2024 – Evening Ceremony (6:30 p.m.)

May 3, 9 a.m.
College of Business Administration
College of Undergraduate Studies

May 3, 2 p.m.
College of Health Professions and Sciences
College of Medicine
College of Nursing

May 3, 6:30 p.m.
Nicholson School of Communication and Media* (College of Sciences)
School of Politics, Security and International Affairs** (College of Sciences)
College of Arts and Humanities

May 4, 9 a.m.
College of Community Innovation and Education
Rosen College of Hospitality Management

May 4, 2 p.m.
College of Engineering and Computer Science
College of Graduate Studies
College of Optics and Photonics

May 4, 6:30 p.m.
College of Sciences (excluding Nicholson School of Communication and Media and School of Politics, Security and International Affairs)

Commencement Speakers

Bill Nelson

Bill Nelson

NASA Administrator
May 4, 2 p.m.

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson was sworn in as the 14th NASA administrator on May 3, 2021. He is tasked with carrying out President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’ vision for NASA to demonstrate American leadership in air, space and on Earth for the benefit of humanity.

Nelson has devoted nearly five decades of his life to public service, representing Florida for 18 years in the U.S. Senate and 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives, and before that in the Florida state legislature. He served on key committees, including as ranking member of the Senate Commerce Committee and chairman of the Subcommittees on Science and Space in both the Senate and the House.

In Congress, Nelson was considered the congressional leader for our nation’s space program, a strong advocate to combat climate change and a proponent for career training and education programs in science and technology to create better-paying American jobs.

In 1986, he trained and flew with the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia for mission STS-61C, the 24th flight of the Space Shuttle. While orbiting Earth 98 times over six days, Nelson conducted 12 medical experiments, including the first American stress test in space on a treadmill and a cancer research experiment sponsored by university researchers.

Nelson graduated from Yale University and the University of Virginia School of Law. He is a member of the Florida Bar Association and served on active duty for two years in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of captain.

Kevin Thibault 

Kevin Thibault

CEO for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority
May 3, 9 a.m.

As CEO of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Kevin Thibault is responsible for the operation and management of both Orlando International Airport and Orlando Executive Airport. Orlando International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the State of Florida with more than 55 million annual passengers and recently opened the $2.8 billion Terminal C complex to handle the growing transportation needs of the region.

Prior to joining the Aviation Authority, Thibault served as Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation where he was responsible for coordinating the planning and development of a safe, viable and balanced transportation system, including multimodal facilities.

Thibault was recently named to the Space Florida Board of Directors by Gov. Ron DeSantis and to the U.S. Travel Association’s Governance Committee. He serves on the Florida A&M University-Florida State University College of Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council, University of Florida Transportation Institute’s External Advisory Board, University of South Florida Center for Urban Transportation Research and the UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management’s Dean’s Advisory Board. He also serves on the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Dean’s Advisory Council for the College of Engineering.

Wendy Brandon

Wendy Brandon

CEO for UCF Lake Nona Hospital
May 3, 2 p.m.

Wendy Brandon is the CEO of UCF Lake Nona Hospital, a partnership hospital between the University of Central Florida Academic Health Sciences Center and HCA Healthcare. For the past seven years she has led the design and development of the hospital campus and built a premiere team of talented people to serve Lake Nona and the communities in Southeast Orange and Osceola Counties through this technologically advanced new medical facility.

Brandon is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, earned her master’s in business administration from Belmont University and is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. Since 1995, she has held numerous leadership positions in hospitals owned by HCA Healthcare, one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare services.

Through her volunteer leadership, she has worked to improve quality of life in the Orlando Region by serving as a trustee and chairman of the Board for Seminole State College. She currently serves as a board member and former chairman of the Board of CareerSource Central Florida and is a member of the Orlando Economic Partnership Board of Directors. Additionally, she is part of the 2023, 2024 and 2025 executive committee for the American Heart Association (AHA) Central Florida Heart Walk, serving as event chair in 2025, is a member of AHA’s Circle of Red and serves on the Board of Shepherd’s Hope.

Ericka Pace ’07

Ericka Pace ’07

Division President for Lennar Orlando
May 3, 6:30 p.m.

Ericka Pace ’07 is the division president for Lennar Orlando, presiding over one of Lennar’s largest homebuilding operations in the nation. She leads a prodigious team of more than 370 associates and is responsible for generating over $1 billion in revenue for Lennar annually.

Her distinctive expertise in sales management and operations has allowed her to affirm a presence within the new home sales industry for the last two decades. Pace has worked with the largest multifamily developers on repositioning new homes, revenue augmentation and expanding absorption. Her uncanny ability to think outside the box and to inspire others around her has made her a change agent within the Orlando market. Pace is a UCF theatre studies graduate.

Steve Hogan ’91

Steve Hogan ’91

CEO for Florida Citrus Sports
May 4, 9 a.m.

Since 2006, Steve Hogan ’91 has served as the CEO of Florida Citrus Sports, a nonprofit event management company based at Camping World Stadium in Orlando. His organization produces the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl, Pop-Tarts Bowl, Florida Blue Florida Classic, FC Series and other major events that generate year-round exposure and economic impact for the region and benefit at-risk children and educational initiatives locally.

Hogan is the 2024 chair of the Orlando Economic Partnership and has been named Orlando Business Journal’s CEO of the Year as well as one of Orlando Magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Leaders. He has appeared on Florida Trend’s 500 Most Influential Business Leaders list, has held the national chair for Bowl Season (formerly the Football Bowl Association) and served locally as chair of Leadership Orlando and on the Greater Orlando Sports Commission board.

Hogan has also held leadership roles with the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis and the AdventHealth Community Health Impact Council. However, his most impactful commitment may be his involvement as a founding member of Lift Orlando, a Florida Citrus Sports partner organization that has influenced $120 million in capital development and counting over the past decade in the West Lakes neighborhoods near Camping World Stadium.

Robert Long

Robert Long

President/CEO for Space Florida
May 4, 6:30 p.m.

Robert Long serves as Space Florida’s president and CEO, leading the state’s aerospace finance and development authority to advance the aerospace industry and solidify the state as the premier global and interplanetary capital for aerospace commerce. Long has spent his 25-year career improving and enhancing the transportation to, from and in space. He manages complex aerospace programs, leverages innovative technologies to improve both government and private sector outcomes, and develops new business models and operating concepts to create value for the commercial aerospace industry.

Long most recently served as the commander for Space Launch Delta 30 and Western Launch and Test Range, Vandenberg Space Force Base. In this role, he managed $8.4 billion in assets, installations spanning more than 118,000 acres and oversaw 11,000 military, civilian and contractor personnel.

Long holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Washington, a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, and additional master’s degrees from the College of Naval Command and Staff, the School for Advanced Air and Space Studies, and the Eisenhower School. He retired as a colonel from the United States Space Force in July 2023.

For more details and FAQs about Spring 2024 commencement celebrations, visit ucf.edu/graduation.