ignite UCF



On Sept. 16, 2016, the UCF community was introduced to IGNITE: The Campaign for the University of Central Florida.

IGNITE is the most ambitious fundraising effort in our history — an intense, focused and strategic effort to raise $500 million in philanthropic support by June 2019. President John C. Hitt once said, “If there is anything I have learned ... it is that our greatest danger is not to dream too large, but to dream too small.” IGNITE’s impact will ensure student success, academic excellence and growth and opportunity. It will provide the spark to an even bigger and brighter future, and we believe that’s a future worth dreaming about.

By leveraging the remarkable power of scale, UCF is challenging long-held assumptions about the role and scope of public higher education. And with a strategic infusion of philanthropic support, we are poised to emerge as the first of a new category of university, uniquely suited to meet the challenges and pursue the opportunities of a rapidly changing world.

This campaign belongs to all of us, as alumni and friends of this great university. We ask that you please visit igniteucf.org to learn more about the IGNITE campaign and its priorities, and that you consider joining this historic effort to IGNITE the future with a gift of your own.


IGNITE: Houston - Oct. 28, 2016 

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Alumni spanning every decade of UCF's existence were in attendance for the kickoff of the IGNITE Tour. One of those alumni, four-time Paralympian Chris Seilkop '92, made a new friend in Limbitless cheerleader Julianna Linton and her family. President John C. Hitt stole the show with an enlightening question and answer session before Chair of the UCF Foundation Board Nelson Marchioli '72 delivered an impassioned speech about why he supports the university. Vice President and Director of Athletics Danny White was also in attendance and addressed the crowd, many of whom attended the Knights' football game the next day against the Cougars.

IGNITE: Orlando - Nov. 16, 2016 

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At this hometown event, many friends and alumni gathered to hear a special conversation between Chair of the IGNITE Campaign, Rick Walsh '77 '83MS; Chair of the UCF Alumni Board, Sara Bernard '00; and President John C. Hitt. 

IGNITE: Naples - Jan. 23, 2017 

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The IGNITE tour headed to the west coast of Florida for its final in-state stop. Chair of the UCF Foundation Board Nelson Marchioli '72 returned to the lineup of speakers and was joined alongside The Honorable Beverly Seay and Matt Ayala '11, who serves as chair of the Southwest Florida UCF Alumni Club and was a recipient of this year's 30 Under 30 award.

IGNITE: Atlanta - Feb. 16, 2017 

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IGNITE's stop in Atlanta welcomed a new face to tour: Provost and Executive Vice President Dale Whittaker, who gave an enlightening perspective on UCF's journey through the years. One of Atlanta's own, Nelson Marchioli '72, chair of the UCF Foundation Board, entertained the crowd with a spirited testimony before the night concluded.

IGNITE: Washington D.C. - March 8, 2017 

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UCF brought some of its biggest game changers to Washington, D.C. to discuss topics ranging from PTSD research, 3D-printed bionic arms, nursing and engineering partnerships and the future of higher education. In addition to speakers Thad Seymour Jr., PhD.Deborah C. Beidel, PhDGregory F. Welch, PhD; and Albert Manero ’12 ’14MS ’16PhD, U.S. Representatives Stephanie Murphy and Darren Soto addressed the crowd.



Student Success

Student Success Our first concern is with making the university accessible and affordable to as many deserving students as possible and then ensuring their academic progress, personal development, and career readiness. As part of IGNITE, we seek $200 million in philanthropic commitments to support scholarships, programs, and initiatives that directly benefit both current and future Knights by advancing five key goals:

  • Expand access by meeting students where they are, based on who they are. Innovative new pathways to and through higher education broaden opportunity without diluting quality.
  • Fund student scholarships to negate socio-economic background as a predictor of graduation. No promising student should ever fail to graduate because he or she runs out of money.
  • Attract the best and brightest students by offering incentives like prestigious scholarships. When academic superstars come to UCF, their peers, the university, and the region benefit.
  • Enrich the university experience through expanded campus programming, service learning opportunities and study abroad. Some of the most valuable learning takes place outside the classroom.
  • Prepare students for rewarding careers by bolstering experiential learning opportunities and expanding career readiness programs. A UCF degree is not an end in itself; it is only the beginning.

Academic Excellence

Academic Excellence We are committed to fueling the academic enterprise by building a world-class faculty and providing them — and their students — the resources they need to reach their full potential. To that end, IGNITE seeks $200 million in philanthropic support for endowments, research funding, technology and facilities improvements that will fuel the academic enterprise at UCF in four fundamental ways:

  • Recruit and retain top teacher-scholars through prestigious endowed chairs, professorships and deanships that serve as magnets for world-class faculty.
  • Pursue breakthrough research in disciplines ranging from cancer treatment to hospitality management and optical networks to public administration.
  • Advance interdisciplinary solutions to pressing issues and challenges through innovative approaches like the Faculty Cluster Initiative.
  • Enhance teaching and learning by investing in next-generation technologies, facilities and equipment.

Growth and Opportunity

Growth and Opportunity UCF Downtown is just the latest and largest in a long history of UCF-led partnerships with public impact, from health care and veterans’ services to coastal conservation. We seek $100 million in support for initiatives that serve not only the needs of the university but also the Central Florida community:

  • Expand UCF’s presence in downtown Orlando, where approximately 7,700 UCF students will pursue degree programs that align with emerging downtown industries.
  • Develop innovative solutions for health care needs by engaging in interdisciplinary endeavors in medicine, nursing, bioengineering and more.
  • Contribute to a healthier environment for the people, plants and animals that share Florida’s unique ecosystem.
  • Experience and transform lives worldwide through initiatives led by UCF’s new Division of International Affairs and Global Strategies.











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