The Origins of Pegasus Magazine
BY DANIELLE (LILLIG) KRISCHIK, ’07
A lot has changed in 20 years. In 1994, the Internet was new to the public and Netscape Navigator had just launched. That same year, the first e-commerce transaction (Pizza Hut), the first banner ad placement (Wired), and the first Web search engine (WebCrawler) were born. Firsts were not limited to the Internet that year. The United States hosted its first World Cup in nine cities across the country, including Orlando, breaking FIFA attendance records. As the Netherlands defeated the Republic of Ireland at the Citrus Bowl, another first was underway just down the street.
The inaugural issue of Pegasus magazine had been written, designed and sent to press. A new day had come for the UCF Alumni Association.
Manny Rodriguez, ’75, and Tom Messina, ’84, led the UCF Alumni Association with two staff members and a handful of young volunteers. They believed they could take the association to the next level; they just needed the right big idea. The association had always wanted a magazine that they could send to everyone, but this required money they didn’t have. Your reading this is proof that they found a way. As we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Pegasus, we’ll take a look at how the magazine was started, and get a glimpse of its inaugural year.
1994: A Year of Firsts
January: Risky Business
After a long lunch at the Knight Out Pub, Tom Messina, executive director of the UCF Alumni Association, takes a chance on two young alumni — Jim Hobart, ’91, and Mike Hinn, ’92 — and agrees to an alumni magazine feasibility study. Volunteering leads to new jobs and Knight Images (now the Knight agency) is born. The only catch is there’s no money.
March: Green Light
The communications committee approves Pegasus magazine, building on the alumni newsletter they helped create. There is still no money, but there is a plan: Create partnerships and sell them advertising to fund the magazine.
The contract signing party takes place at Wally’s at 7 a.m. Yes, Margot was there.
April: The A-List
The selling starts. Hinn and Messina work to close the “definite” yes list. The money total is now up to $0. It’s time for a new list.
The year 1994 brought several new beginnings. Pegasus helped generate many new programs for the UCF Alumni Association. It also gave young alumni volunteers an opportunity that developed into a thriving marketing agency, appropriately named Knight.
May: Alumni to the Rescue
UCF alumni Todd Bowers, ’77, and Peter Cranis, ’84, join the cause and sign the first Pegasus partnership on behalf of SunBank (now SunTrust). Momentum shifts, and sales start to close.
June: Our Story
Joanne Griggs, ’76, and Mike Candelaria, ’83, work with the Alumni Association, Knight agency staff and volunteers to finalize the content for the inaugural issue.
The first issue of Pegasus is printed and sent to 59,861 alumni.
September: Bringing It Home
Mike “Dodd” Foristall, ’94, and John Speake, ’95, join the Knight team and take Pegasus and UCF Homecoming to new heights.
December: Click and Move
Joining other Internet firsts, Pegasus goes online, and the first UCF Alumni Association website is launched.