Back in the Day: Commencement Through the Years

Back in the Day: Commencement Through the Years

In honor of our 250,000th graduate, we look back at 45 years of commencement ceremonies.

On May 9, UCF’s 250,000th graduate crossed the stage at the CFE Arena.

Daniel Berreth, ’15 , a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq and Kuwait, received his bachelor’s degree in marketing from the College of Business Administration and joined an alumni community one-quarter million strong. Since the first commencement ceremony in 1970, the locations, speakers and milestones have changed, but one thing remains constant — the satisfaction of earning a college degree.

Number of Graduates

1976: 10,000

1979: 15,000

1984: 25,000

1988: 50,000

1992: 100,000

2005: 150,000

2012: 200,000

2015: 250,000 (as of Spring Term)

Commencement Speakers

NASA Astronaut John Young in his flight suit

1970 | John Young, NASA astronaut

1972 | Capt. Mary Gore, commanding officer, Recruit Training Command Orlando

President Richard Nixon and UCF President Charles Millican

1973 | Richard Nixon, U.S. president

1977 | Lee Scherer, director, NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center

1978 | U.S. Sen. Joseph Biden

1979 | Dick Batchelor, ’71, Florida House of Representatives/first recipient of UCF Distinguished Alumni Award

1981 | U.S. Rep. Bill Nelson

1984 | Allan Gotlieb, Canadian ambassador to the U.S.

1985 | Bob Graham, governor of Florida

Florida governor Reuben Askew sitting at his desk

1987 | Reuben Askew, governor of Florida

1990 | Lt. Gen. Forrest S. McCartney, director, NASA John F. Kennedy Space Center

1992 | Glenda Hood, mayor, city of Orlando

1993 | Richard Astro, director, National Consortium for Academics and Sports

1994 | Lee Constantine, ’74, Florida House of Representatives

Olympic gold medal winner Michelle Akers

1996 | Michelle Akers, ’89, Olympic gold medalist soccer player

1997 | Tico Perez, ’83, partner, Baker & Hostetler

1998 | Roger Pynn, ’73, president, Curley & Pynn Public Relations

2000 | Rear Adm. Paul G. Gaffney II, U.S. Navy

2001 | Kevin Beary, ’01, Orange County Sheriff

2002 | Jeb Bush, governor of Florida

Miss America 2004 Ericka Dunlap

2004 | Ericka Dunlap, ’05, Miss America 2004

William W. Parsons, ’93, manager, NASA Space Shuttle Program

2005 | Harriet Elam Thomas, U.S. ambassador to Senegal

Nobel Price winner Charles H. Townes

2007 | Charles H. Townes, Nobel Prize-winning physicist and laser inventor

2011 | Buddy Dyer, mayor, city of Orlando

2012 | Barbara Jenkins, ’83, superintendent, Orange County Public Schools

Former president Bill Clinton speaking at UCF commencement

2013 | Bill Clinton, former U.S. president

Images Courtesy of University Archives and Special Collections