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UCF Looks Back on its First Day of Classes

UCF Looks Back on its First Day of Classes

Fifty years ago, Central Florida changed forever when UCF — then known as Florida Technological University — opened for classes on October 7, 1968.

Fall  2018 | By Nicole Dudenhoefer ’17

During a morning convocation and dedication ceremony, President Charles Millican welcomed 1,948 students who became responsible for upholding the university’s motto of “Reach for the Stars.” These students would pursue studies to fulfill the region’s high demand for scientists, engineers, business professionals and teachers.

“As members of the charter class, you will help establish the traditions and the reputation of an entirely new university. An opportunity and a responsibility such as this comes to only a few, but by working together we can make this a great university, one of which we can be proud.”

Charles Millican, founding president of UCF

A black and white image shows a construction site with a finished building and trees.

What is now the chemistry building was one of the first buildings on campus in 1968.

Acres made up the campus

Seats in the auditorium


Buildings on campus: a library, a science building, an auditorium, a village center, a utility plant and two residence halls

A black and white image shows a group of students standing at the back of a room, while others sit in chairs with books.

Even from the university’s beginning the library was a popular spot for students to hang out with friends and study.

Instructors taught the first classes. Today, UCF has more than 12,500 faculty and staff members.

Degree programs offered. Today, students can select from more than 215 degree programs.

A black and white image shows two students wearing hats while one shakes hands with a man in a suit.

Two student guides wear the university’s first mascot, Citronaut, as they are greeted by Charles Millican, UCF’s founding president.

Founding colleges: Business Administration, Education, Humanities & Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Engineering & Technology

A black and white overhead shot shows a large crowd outside while a man speaks at a podium.

More than 2,000 people attended the university’s first convocation ceremony, which was held outdoors. Students today attend a similar ceremony, known as the Knighting, inside CFE Arena.