Conversation with Joshua Goodridge ’17

Joshua Goodridge ’17  is a young alum who started giving back to UCF in his freshman year. He has stayed involved with his alma mater ever since, and just recently started working at UCF in the alumni engagement area. We talked to him about why he believes in UCF.

What inspired your gift/s to UCF?

When I was a freshman, I got this job on campus working for the Knight Line. We were the students at the call center who reached out to alumni and others to try and get donations for the school. It started out as just a job but I quickly learned that the majority of the funds it takes to run UCF come from private funding! Once I heard that, I never stopped telling people and I’ve donated every year since I started working there — even as a STUDENT! The best part about it is that I can choose where my money goes, and a lot of times I’ll switch up my giving areas from year to year.

Why was it important to you to keep giving after graduation and become an alumni donor?

The main reason I continue to give as an alum, is because I understand that a majority of the funds it takes to run UCF come from alumni donations. A LOT of small gifts from alumni is what keeps the university going, along with the big gifts that come along occasionally. I learned as a student that alumni donations help to increase our ranking with the US News and World Report and that helps us get national recognition and additional funding from all over. So if my $5, $10 or $50 can help UCF continue to grow and be great then that’s a plus!

Why does UCF matter to you? Why do these areas of support matter to you?

My time at UCF, like many others, was some of the best times of my life. . .UCF prepared me SO well for the real world. When you go out into your field and you feel like you’re ahead of over half the people at the entry level, it really makes you appreciate your training. This is why I like to give back to my academic program areas of acting and business. UCF also shaped the social parts of me by having so many opportunities on campus to have safe fun. So, I also like to donate to student activities, SGA and other programs like that.

What is your favorite UCF memory or experience?

This one’s easy! I was very blessed to be selected as one of the student ambassadors who helped escort the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation sponsors around campus for their higher learning initiatives. On the company’s final visit, Bill and Melinda came to campus and I was able to speak with them and assisted in giving them the tour around campus. It was awesome!

We know you love UCF, of course, but you just married the love of your life! Tell us about her.

Jessica and I go way back! We’re both artists. She received her degree in experimental animation and one day is going to work for Disney Pixar. Like me, Jess was a LEAD Scholar and she was also involved in SGA Senate for a bit. We were both 4EK Ambassadors and enjoyed connecting UCF students to alumni and encouraging them to give back to UCF as a student. Jessica also gives back financially to UCF.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

The best piece of advice I’ve received has to be: “Always keep going. If you get knocked down, get up and start again.” That really helped me in my personal journey at UCF.

How do you hope to play a role in the future of UCF?

I hope to continue to be able to mentor future and current UCF students. I pride myself in my involvement with local alumni chapters. I’ve served on two boards already and will continue to do so as long as I can. One of my dreams is to one day be able to donate a large amount of funds to help build a new theater on campus for the Theater Department.

I recently became assistant director of Regional Alumni Engagement. I work with chapter and club leaders to host social and networking events as well as community service projects to help engage the alumni in their area. It really has been amazing being in this role because I worked with almost all of my team members either while I was in school or while I was volunteering with the local Atlanta Chapter and Seminole County Chapter.

Just for fun: What did you want to be when you grew up? How is that the same or different from the career you have today?

As a young boy, I always wanted to be a superhero, or a cop; someone who made a difference and helped people. It wasn’t until I was in middle school that I realized I could really do that with my gifts of talking and acting. Ever since then, I’ve dedicated myself to using my skills to bring laughter and happiness to people. It’s great that I can do that within my career but I tend to also do it outside of that too and to me that’s even better!

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