Loss of UCF’s 2nd President Trevor Colbourn

January 15, 2015

It is with sadness that we share the loss of UCF’s second President, Trevor Colbourn. It was during his tenure of bold leadership that UCF’s honors and football programs were launched and a research park created – and that Town & Gown Council was envisioned and established by his wife, Beryl. We offer our condolences to his family and our dear and gracious founder, Beryl Colbourn.

Please take a moment to read about President Colbourn’s legacy and contributions to the university and community.

TColbourn

UCF Today, Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The University of Central Florida was known as Florida Technological University when Trevor Colbourn became president in 1978. Recognizing the university had grown beyond its early moniker as “Florida’s space university,” Colbourn renamed the institution that same year.

In addition to that high-profile name change, Colbourn also established UCF’s honors program and a football program that has earned national rankings; nurtured a fledgling research park; and developed a partnership with Orange County that has created thousands of high tech jobs and helped transform the region’s economy.

Colbourn, UCF’s second president, died Tuesday in Winter Park. He was 87.

“Trevor blazed trails for UCF, from giving us our name to the leap of faith that led to a nationally prominent football program,” said UCF President John C. Hitt.  ”He was an astute academic leader with a keen vision. As president, I greatly valued his advice and contributions to our university.”

“We hear of presidents building coalitions of support—people, countries and materials—all designed to come together to achieve some great purpose,” said Colbourn’s friend and former UCF Alumni Association President Ron Page.  “Of the many accomplishments of Trevor Colbourn, I’m fond of focusing on the masterful way he marshaled support for the renaming and rebranding of the university.  He created a comprehensive plan, garnered support from all the appropriate constituencies and realized a victory.  All those who love this university are beneficiaries of his craftsmanship, in this instance and many others.”

Colbourn retired as president in 1989 and remained active as a history teacher, the university’s historian and a president emeritus who raised funds and goodwill for UCF. In 2001, UCF’s Humanities and Fine Arts Building was renamed Colbourn Hall in his honor.

The Scholar President

Colbourn, who was born Feb. 24, 1927, in Armidale, New South Wales, Australia, became president of Florida Technological University in 1978, after founding president Charles Millican retired.

During Colbourn’s tenure, UCF created an honors program that later would become the Burnett Honors College. The college’s enrollment has grown to more than 1,700, and its freshmen classes continue to post record SAT and GPA scores year after year.

During his presidency, Colbourn oversaw enrollment growth from 11,000 to 18,000 students and an increase in research funding from $3.8 million to $16.4 million annually. The UCF Foundation’s assets increased from almost $800,000 to more than $11 million.

“Change is what higher education is all about,” Colbourn once said. “This institution has a distinguished past and will have a much more distinguished future. It’s been a lot of fun, some anguish and certainly no regrets.”

Known as the “Scholar President,” Colbourn held degrees from the University of London, the College of William and Mary, and Johns Hopkins University, where he earned his doctorate in American History in 1953.

Prior to his UCF presidency, Colbourn taught history at Penn State University and Indiana University Bloomington before moving into adminstration.  He also served as the graduate dean at the University of New Hampshire and academic vice president and eventually acting president at San Diego State University.

An expert on the American Revolution and Thomas Jefferson, Colbourn penned a number of books and articles, including “The Lamp of Experience,” “Fame and the Founding Father” and “The Americans: A Brief History.”

‘Crazy to Start Football’

Colbourn established UCF’s football program in 1979. Led by a volunteer coach, the team won its inaugural game, defeating host St. Leo College 21-0 in a rain-soaked cow pasture.

“A lot of people thought I was crazy to start football,” Colbourn said in 1998, three years after UCF’s football program advanced to Division 1-A. “(But) it was the key to open the door for visibility.”  In 2008, he was inducted into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame.

Twenty-eight years later in 2007, the UCF Knights played their first game on campus in Bright House Networks Stadium. Since then, more than 1 million fans have watched the Knights play on campus since the stadium’s opening.

The 2010 season saw UCF football reach new level of success, earning the team’s first bowl victory, winning its second Conference USA title and ending the season ranked in the top 20.  The program has continued to grow, joining the American Athletic Conference, winning the Fiesta Bowl and earning a Top 10 national ranking in 2013.

Leading UCF Innovations

Colbourn’s tenure as president saw UCF introduce the state’s first stand-alone doctoral program in computer science, followed by Ph.D. offerings in civil, computer, electrical, mechanical, industrial and environmental engineering; business administration; and human factors psychology. UCF also expanded master’s and bachelor’s programs, dedicated new buildings at the Daytona Beach and Cocoa campuses and established Greek Park on the main campus.

The Central Florida Research Park, adjacent to UCF’s East Orlando campus, today employs about 10,000 in a variety of high-tech industries. The park is home to one of the nation’s largest concentrations of federal defense technology agencies and UCF’s Institute for Simulation and Training, also founded during Colburn’s presidency.

UCF became one of the first schools in the nation to begin using a telephone system for course registrations. Colbourn’s efforts laid the groundwork for UCF becoming one of America’s “most wired” universities with extensive Internet technology and services provided for faculty, students and staff.

Although known for the high-profile name change, football program and research park, Colbourn shouldered a long effort to establish equitable funding for the state’s newer universities to put them on the same financial footing as more established institutions.

“He championed that cause, often standing alone before legislative leaders and the Florida Board of Regents, predecessor to today’s University System Board of Governors,” said Alan Fickett, who served as associate vice president for University Relations and UCF’s lobbyist in Tallahassee and Washington during Colbourn’s tenure.

Said James A. Donovan, executive director of the UCF Foundation in the early 1980s: “Trevor Colbourn recognized the need to augment state funding with philanthropic support from the community. He was fond of saying, ‘We can have a good university with legislative funding, but we can have a great university with philanthropic support.’”

Reaching Out to the Community

Colbourn was active in the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, the Industrial Development Commission of Mid-Florida (now known as the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission), the Orlando Crime Prevention Association, the Board of Visitors of the Air University at Maxwell Air Force Base, the United Way, the Greater Orlando Sports Organizing Committee, the Kiwanis Club, the boards of the local opera company and public television station and the Organization of American Historians.

Philanthropic firsts under Colbourn’s leadership included UCF’s first endowed chair, the Della Phillips-Martha D. Schenck Chair in American Private Enterprise, and the first endowed chair in the southeastern U.S. in computer science.

His wife, Beryl, played a key role in reaching out to the community in her role as UCF’s first lady by creating the Town & Gown Council, a women’s organization of community and campus leaders dedicated to “friend raising” and sharing the UCF story.

A lifelong Episcopalian, Colbourn is survived by Beryl, his wife of 66 years; and daughters, Katherine “Kit” Wrye, of Fishkill, N.Y., and Elinor Colbourn, of Takoma Park, Md. Colbourn also leaves four grandchildren.

 


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Volleyball: Perfect Start to Season

September 3, 2014

UCF Today   –   Sunday, August 31, 2014   –   by Megan Herboth, UCF Athletics

Volleyball

The UCF volleyball team claimed the Radisson UCF Invitational championship with a 3-0 (25-23, 25-13, 25-17) win over FIU on Saturday evening at The Venue at UCF. The Knights needed the bare minimum of 12 sets to open the season with a perfect 4-0 record.

“I’m proud of the team for going 4-0 and not dropping a set along the way,” UCF head coach Todd Dagenais said. “I thought we were remarkable at closing out sets all weekend.”

FIU was not going to hand the title to UCF, as the Panthers jumped out to an early 10-5 lead but a 6-1 run from the Knights put UCF on top. The Knights took the lead for good on a block from seniors Kaye-Alese Green and Ashley Gialenios. Once UCF took the lead in the second set, they maintained it and persevered in the final set to become tournament champions.

UCF had four all-tournament selections, as senior middle blocker DeLaina Sarden, senior libero Jade Hayes, sophomore outside hitter Kia Bright and sophomore outside hitter Jale Hervey received the accolades.

Hervey led the Knights against FIU with 14 kills, while hitting .565 and serving up a team-high five aces. Hervey took home the tournament MVP honors, as she finished the weekend with 60 kills, 24 digs, and seven digs while hitting .481.

Bright added 12 kills and finished the match with eight digs. Hayes tallied double-digit digs for the fourth time this season, finishing with 13. Senior Marie Reiterova and junior Dana Faught had 17 and 15 assists, respectively.


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New UCF Provost Committed to ‘Lifting Lives and Livelihoods’

UCF Today   –   Thursday, May 29, 2014   –   by cbinette

DaleWhittaker

Dale Whittaker, a Purdue University vice provost committed to student success, innovation and  partnerships, will become the University of Central Florida’s provost and vice president for academic affairs on Aug. 1.

Dr. Whittaker has served in multiple faculty and leadership positions at Purdue and Texas A&M universities. He has been Purdue’s vice provost for undergraduate academic affairs since 2010, and he currently is acting vice president for student affairs. He is also a professor of agricultural and biological engineering.

UCF President John C. Hitt praised Whittaker’s “tremendous range and depth of experience in large and excellent universities.”

“He is a professional who will help us become better in all areas of our operation and help us develop excellent educational programs that will meet the needs of Central Florida, the state and nation,” Hitt said.

U.S. News & World Report ranks Purdue among the nation’s top 25 public universities and lists Purdue’s First-Year Experience, Learning Communities, and Writing in the Disciplines programs among the best in the country.

During Whittaker’s two visits to UCF, he was impressed with the vitality and diversity of the student body, as well as the energy and loyalty that he felt throughout the campus.

“I’m deeply committed to lifting lives and livelihoods through knowledge,” he said. “Our core mission as a university is knowledge, and the impact is advancing people’s lives economically and socially for generations. What I bring to this job is a passionate commitment to that mission and high levels of energy and engagement.”

Hitt and Whittaker have worked together at the University Innovation Alliance, a coalition of 11 prestigious research universities working together to expand students’ access to higher education. Institutions joining Purdue and UCF in the coalition include Arizona State, Michigan State and Ohio State universities.

Although most of the participants are university presidents, Hitt said Whittaker “stood out as someone who had a depth of knowledge and deep understanding” of higher education and “who was committed to helping the alliance focus on its principal goal of finding cost-effective ways to produce more graduates at our universities.”

Whittaker said his goals include increasing research, expanding opportunities for graduate students and creating deeper and wider partnerships across and beyond the university.

“UCF is an economic engine for and a mirror of the Central Florida community,” he said. “It’s a great reflector of the community’s needs and its future economic development. You can see that through programs such as optics and photonics, digital media, hospitality management and the College of Medicine.”

Whittaker holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in agricultural engineering from Purdue and a bachelor’s degree in the same field from Texas A&M.

To view Whittaker’s CV, go to http://provost.ucf.edu/files/2014/02/WhittakerCV.pdf.

Diane Chase has served as UCF’s interim provost and vice president for academic affairs since March. Chase will remain interim provost through July 31, and Hitt said the university community owes her “a deep debt of gratitude.”

“I am very, very proud of the strong leadership Diane has provided us during this transition,” Hitt said. “She is the consummate professional, and I look forward to working with her for years to come.”

More than 60 candidates from across the country applied for the provost position. The Provost Search Committee, chaired by Cynthia Young, associate dean of the College of Sciences, narrowed the list to five finalists who visited UCF. All of the candidates held open forums during their visits, and students and staff and faculty members had the opportunity to provide feedback about each candidate.


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International Students Earn their “Ears” at Rosen College

August 7, 2014

UCF Today      Kathy Dorf, Rosen College Public Relations

On July 17, 33 international students from universities in China and South Korea graduated from the Disney Undergraduate Program in Hospitality & Tourism Management at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

In partnership with Walt Disney World Resort, Rosen College offers an intensive six-month Undergraduate Certificate Program in Hospitality & Tourism Management for international students who are currently enrolled in hospitality, tourism or business related programs in UCF’s international partnership universities (IPU). Students take academic courses at Rosen College and participate in an academic internship through the Disney International College Program at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Students gain experience working with a globally recognized hospitality brand while earning a certificate from a top hospitality institution. They also earn 12 credit hours toward graduation at their home institution: 9 from course work and 3 from successfully completing the academic internship.

Courses include:

  • Guest Services Management
  • Destination Marketing
  • Event Management
  • Hospitality Information Systems
  • Hospitality Brand Management
  • Hospitality Industry Finance
  • Leadership and Strategic Management
  • Academic internship

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UCF to Open Start-up Space for Tech Entrepreneurs

UCF Today   Todd Deery

A state-of-the-art digital-media workspace designed to encourage start-up companies was announced today by the Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, the University of Central Florida’s graduate video game development program.

The new FIEA Ventures program will initially be available to academy alumni and will be housed at UCF’s Center For Emerging Media in downtown Orlando. It is expected that some of the first clients to come into FIEA Ventures will be working on video games, animated film, simulation and mobile and web products.

Scheduled to open this fall, the 5,000-square-foot space will provide office and meeting space, a 20-seat theater, mentorships, equipment, and access to technology and expertise. Tenants will also have access to the center’s audio, motion capture and film studios, collectively called Studio 500, all at 500 W. Livingston St.

“FIEA’s success in developing graduates for high-wage, local industries has increased entrepreneurship, and this new program will place our recent graduates in a perfect atmosphere to start a successful small business,” said FIEA executive director Ben Noel.

Companies and individuals will be picked using an application process in which clients will be asked to detail their concept, technology needs, potential staffing, market prospects and business plan. If accepted, the applicant can stay in FIEA Ventures for up to one year.

Clients will also have access to the center’s faculty and staff, who will help with development and access to industry partners.

“As the No.2 ranked graduate school for game development, FIEA is an anchor for the Creative Village,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “Now, with the launch of FIEA Ventures, the University of Central Florida is taking an innovative approach to ensure its talented alumni become Orlando’s next generation of successful tech entrepreneurs.”

FIEA Ventures is a part of UCF’s Office of Research and Commercialization, which supports economic growth by being a liaison between UCF and local and national economic-development partners.

Other partnerships include UCF’s Business Incubation Program, which has grown into one of the biggest and best in the world; the UCF Venture lab, where technology entrepreneurs transform ideas and intellectual property into business plans; The GrowFL program that serves second-stage companies, and the Blackstone LaunchPad, which focuses on student entrepreneurs.

“This innovative facility will boost both UCF’s presence downtown and Orlando’s vision of a Creative Village in the city’s core,” said Tom O’Neal, UCF’s associate vice president for Research and Commercialization and director of the UCF Business Incubation Program. “This partnership will be an incubator of ideas and commerce to benefit both the university and the community.”


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