Looking ahead to new opportunities is what UCF does best. But every once in a while, it’s good to look back and enjoy a job well done.

That’s why UCF is celebrating the end of a remarkable “Decade of Opportunity” for the university and Knights everywhere.From Nov. 25 to Dec. 11, the Central Florida community cast more than 2,000 votes to select the top five stories that demonstrate how the university is fulfilling its promise that “UCF Stands for Opportunity.”

The top five stories are:

No. 5: U.S. News Ranks UCF as Top 5 ‘Up-and-Coming School’

UCF’s national reputation continued to grow in 2009, as U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” guide lauded UCF as a top 5 national university to watch.

No. 4: UCF surpasses $100M milestone in annual research funding

In 2004-05, UCF surpassed $100 million in annual research funding for the first time. The university continued to secure more than $100 million every year, culminating with $121.7 million in 2008-09.

No. 3: Football comes ‘home’ to Bright House Networks Stadium

After years of playing miles away from campus in downtown Orlando’s Citrus Bowl, the Knights made their on-campus debut at the 45,000-seat stadium in September 2007 against the University of Texas.

No. 2: Growth With Quality

When the decade began, UCF’s enrollment was 33,453 students. By the fall of 2009, the university’s commitment to growth with quality saw a record enrollment of 53,537 students.

No. 1: UCF College of Medicine Opens

In 2009, UCF’s College of Medicine opened its doors to its charter class of 41 students, the culmination of an opportunity that had been years in the making.

The list included a multitude of thrilling events that powered UCF’s transformation during the past 10 years — much of it fueled by the university’s first-ever capital campaign, which raised $366 million and concluded in 2006.

“The outstanding accomplishments of this ‘Decade of Opportunity’ have been due in large part to the strong, unwavering support of the Central Florida community and the wonderfully generous contributions of our many university donors,” UCF President John Hitt said. “As I look back, I am reminded of how far we have come, but also know our best years are ahead of us.

“There has never been a better time to be a Knight, and I look forward to what the next ‘Decade of Opportunity’ has in store for our university.”