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Best Photos of 2016

The past year has been filled with triumphs and devastation. From graduations and world-renowned speakers to the heartbreak felt after the Pulse shootings, Pegasus shares the 33 photos that showcase UCF’s year in review.
Jan. 21
Previously at Princeton University and Los Alamos National Laboratory, assistant professor of physics Madhab Neupane is developing new topological insulators, which allow electrons to flow faster through the circuitry of computers, speeding up information processing to revolutionize our electronics and energy industries.
Photo by Bernard Wilchusky
Jan. 25
Students go for a sunrise canoe ride on Lake Claire, a 5-acre natural lake nestled on the northeast side of campus.
Photo by Bernard Wilchusky
Mar. 9
The Robinson Observatory, which houses a 20-inch telescope, provides research and educational opportunities for students and the community alike.
Photo by Nick Leyva ’15 
Mar. 16
Ten-year-old Julianna Linton practices with the cheerleading team, which presented her with a new 3-D printed bionic arm from Limbitless Solutions.
Photo by Nick Leyva ’15 
Mar. 29
UCF launches Coding Boot Camps, which provide the latest web-development skills for students and employers.
Photo by Nick Leyva ’15
Apr. 8
UCF dancers perform at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts as part of UCF Celebrates the Arts.
Photo by Bernard Wilchusky
Apr. 9
Composer Hans Zimmer facilitates a workshop with UCF students at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. He was in Orlando as part of UCF Celebrates the Arts.
Photo by Bernard Wilchusky 
Apr. 13
Oscar-nominated film composer Patrick Doyle teaches a course at the UCF Performing Arts Center.
Photo by Nick Leyva ’15 
Apr. 16
A local community member goes for a spin on one of the carnival rides during UCFastival, which was held prior to the Knights’ annual spring football game.
Photo by Nick Leyva ’15 
Apr. 21
Chung Park, director of orchestras and string music education, conducts musicians during UCF’s annual Symphony Under the Stars, which is held in front of the Reflecting Pond.
Photo by Bernard Wilchusky
Apr. 22
Emmy Award-winning public broadcaster Phil Hoffman joins UCF as the executive director of WUCF TV.
Photo by Bernard Wilchusky 
Apr. 27
A student studies outdoors in the Meditation Garden at Burnett Honors College. 
Photo by Josh Letchworth
Apr. 27
A student relaxes on the lawn in front of the Reflecting Pond. Located in front of the John C. Hitt Library, the Reflecting Pond is one of the oldest structures on campus — construction was completed a year before classes began in 1968.
Photo by Josh Letchworth
Apr. 27
A student practices his basketball skills during a pick-up game at the Recreation and Wellness Center.
Photo by Josh Letchworth
Apr. 27
Sophomore Spencer Shack catches some air between classes.
Photo by Steven Diaz
Apr. 27
A student runs through the Reflecting Pond in celebration of his upcoming graduation. The pond is typically strictly off limits, except during Spirit Splash, an annual tradition (see below to learn more), and when soon-to-be-graduates celebrate their special moment. In 1973, President Nixon even stood in the drained pond to deliver the commencement address.
Photo by Josh Letchworth
May 5
A new graduate and friend take a selfie after graduating from UCF. Nearly 8,000 students graduated from UCF during six commencement ceremonies in May, taking the number of degrees awarded to more than 290,000 degrees since the university first offered classes in 1968.
Photo by Nick Leyva ’15 
May 6
A student takes a moment to reflect after receiving his diploma during commencement.
Photo by Bernard Wilchusky 
June 13
In partnership with OneBlood, UCF hosts one of 10 blood drives on campus to collect blood for the victims of the Pulse shootings. A total of 424 units of blood were collected at UCF in two weeks for the victims.
Photo by Nick Leyva ’15
June 14
UCF holds a candlelight vigil at the Student Union in memory of the 49 people who were killed and 53 injured at Pulse nightclub. 
Photo by Nick Leyva ’15 
June 14
UCF projects the colors of the rainbow on Millican Hall to show its support for the LGBTQ community.
Photo by Nick Leyva ’15 
June 22
UCF hosts OrlandoStrong, a country music concert to benefit the victims of Pulse, at CFE Arena.
Photo by Steve Diaz
Aug. 19
Sorority members welcome new sisters home during Bid Day.
Photo by Paige Wilson
Aug. 20
Knightro and Knight fans try on UCF helmets in the football team’s locker room as part of FanFest.
Photo by Nick Leyva ’15 
Sep. 16
Coretta Cotton ’94 is one of five UCF victim advocates who worked with the survivors of Pulse, as well as the families and friends of the victims. Read more stories.
Photo by Brian Carlson
Sep. 16
“The pride we all feel in UCF dominates this evening,” says President John C. Hitt during the IGNITE gala, which officially kicked off UCF’s $500 million fundraising campaign. “Your generosity is at the heart of the relevant and transformational work our faculty members and students accomplish. On behalf of our entire UCF community: Thank you.”
Photo by Nick Leyva ’15 
Oct. 14
Knightro catches a ride from the crowd gathered for this year’s Spirit Splash, the annual Homecoming pep rally when thousands of students jump into the Reflecting Pond. In 2011, Spirit Splash received the best campus tradition award from the National Association for Campus Activities. 
Photo by Austin Warren

Sep. 3
Head coach Scott Frost leads the team onto the field at Brighthouse Stadium for their first game of the season.
Photo by Nick Leyva ’15 
Sep. 3
Wide receiver Jaquarius Bargnare shows off his UCF pride as the Knights celebrate their first victory of the season.
Photo by Nick Leyva ’15 
Oct. 15
Alumni and students gather on Memory Mall to watch fireworks over the UCF campus as part of Homecoming 2016.
Photo by Steven Diaz
Oct. 15
Students Kevin Louidor and Sabrina Jermone are crowned this year’s Homecoming king and queen
Photo by Nick Leyva ’15 
Nov. 14
Center Tacko Fall goes for a slam dunk in the season opener, as the Knights take home their first win with Johnny Dawkins as the head coach.
Nov. 19
Knightro and the UCF cheerleaders charge the field at Brighthouse Stadium before the Knights compete against the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes.
Photo by Nick Leyva ’15