Several University of Central Florida leaders and successful alumni were named this week to the Orlando magazine 2015 list of the 50 most powerful people in the region.
The 12th annual list is made up of leaders in politics, business, education, sports, health, philanthropy and other fields.
UCF President John C. Hitt earned the No. 4 ranking, following Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer; attorney, businessman and philanthropist John Morgan; and Lars Houman, president and CEO of Florida Hospital and Florida Division Adventist Health System.
Under Hitt, who has been president since 1992, UCF has become the nation’s second largest university with about 61,000 students. The magazine praised Hitt for leading the effort in October of breaking ground with industry and government partners on the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center in Osceola County, a $270 million project to develop sensors for assorted electronic devices. Hitt also received the Historical Society of Central Florida’s 2015 John Young History Maker Award for lifetime achievements making a historic impact on the community.
Others with UCF roles named to the list were:
No. 9 – Harris Rosen, hotelier and philanthropist. The founder of Rosen Hotels & Resorts has seven hotels, and UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management was developed in part because he donated the initial $18 million in money and land for the campus that opened in 2004. Rosen is a former member of the UCF Board of Trustees.
No. 12 – Alex Martins, CEO of the Orlando Magic. Martins sits on the UCF Board of Trustees and earned an MBA from UCF in 2001. He is a member of the College of Business Administration’s Hall of Fame and serves on the Dean’s Executive Council for the college.
No. 26 – Marcos Marchena, managing shareholder, Marchena and Graham. Marchena, general counsel for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, is a member of the UCF Board of Trustees and chairman of the UCF Finance and Facilities Committee, working to maintain affordable tuition and fees for students. The university presented him with its 2013 Service to UCF Award.
No. 40 – Dr. Deborah German, UCF vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the College of Medicine. UCF’s medical school opened in Lake Nona in 2009 and enrollment has grown tenfold in the past six years. By 2016-17 it expects to be educating 480 physicians-in-training.
No. 43 – Rich Maladecki, president/CEO, Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association. Maladecki is in his 18th year as head of the CFHLA, and is a UCF adjunct in business.
In addition to alumni Martins and Marchena (College of Sciences, UCF Class of 1982) several other UCF graduates are on the top-50 list:
No. 5 – Barbara Jenkins, Education, ’83, ’86 and ’96, Orange County School Superintendent.
No. 10 – George A. Kalogridis, Sciences, ’76, president of Walt Disney World Resort.
No. 15 – Rasesh H. Thakkar, Business Administration, ’84, senior managing director of Tavistock Group.
No. 44 – Patty Sheehan, Art, ’87, Orlando city commissioner.
No. 46 – Dick J. Batchelor, Sciences, ’71, business and political consultant, and advocate for children’s causes.