A.J. Range, UCF’s assistant vice president of Student Development and Enrollment Services, will retire Dec. 11 after a 46-year career in education, the past 26 at the university.
In his current position, he works closely with Neighborhood Relations and Safety Education and the Office of Student Legal Services, but through his career he has served in a variety of roles, stretching from housing and residence life, to counseling, multicultural student services, academic support services, student activities, campus life, judicial affairs, regional campuses and special services.
“I have observed tremendous growth in enrollment, quality, diversity and reputation of this university in positive ways,” Range says, “and I have seen this university change from a local commuter school to a national leading metropolitan research university.”
Range says he always looks forward to seeing “his” students walk across the stage at commencement, especially those who may have struggled to reach that point.
“Another rewarding achievement has been to mentor, advise and support many students and staff members to the point where they have attained or achieved higher levels of success than me,” he says.
Range earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology and his master’s degree in educational administration and supervision from Florida A&M University. His first job in education was as an occupational specialist at the counseling center of Hillsborough Community College in Plant City, Florida, from 1974-76. He followed that with administrative positions at the universities of Florida, Florida A&M, Tampa, Alabama and Tennessee before coming to UCF on Aug. 4, 1994, as the director of multicultural student services.
“Another rewarding achievement has been to mentor, advise and support many students and staff members to the point where they have attained or achieved higher levels of success than me.”
In 1998 he was named assistant vice president of special programs, in 2003 he became assistant vice president of campus life, and in 2005 assistant vice president of regional campuses’ student services before taking on his current role in 2012. With such a range of background, Range also has presented at local, regional, and national conferences on a variety of topics.
Through the years at UCF he said he is thankful that the university has had a dedicated commitment to effective teaching, quality research and public service.
“These are the hallmarks of a great university, in my opinion,” he says, “and at UCF, high caliber and creative faculty, competent and dedicated staff, and capable and committed administrators have made us a great university.”
In his retirement, the Oviedo resident says he plans to stay involved in Rotary as a district leader and in his church as an officer. He also wants to travel and enjoy time with his wife, their son and his family.
And what advice does he leave for educators?
“Nourish minds, encourage hearts and train hands,” he says, “for in doing so, you are building the future. To me, this is what being an educator is all about.”