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May 22, 2018

Hitting Its Stride

Diane Sears | 6/1/2003
When John Hitt became president of the University of Central Florida in 1992, the school had 20,200 students and was mostly a local resource for community college transfers. Today, UCF is on the cusp of becoming a national force known for research and specialized programs. It ranks second in the state and seventh nationwide in enrollment, with 45,000 students, and recently passed the $100-million milestone in research funding.
"We really have matured quite a bit as an institution," says Hitt. A key to the research fund raising, he says, has been a concerted effort to target research efforts in areas important to the regional economy, including computer science, engineering, optics, photonics and digital film production.
The university reached several other milestones last year:
It got the go-ahead to build an on-campus stadium to open in 2007.
It kicked off a campaign that aims to raise $250 million by June 30. As of mid-January, it had raised $224 million.
It finalized plans for a 10,000-seat convocation center set to open in 2007.
It opened Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy downtown for graduate-level courses designed to educate workers for the electronic gaming industry.
It enrolled more students from a county other than its home base of Orange County -- Broward.
And this month, Hitt will find out if the Board of Governors will allow UCF to build a medical college. The university envisions the proposed med school as the cornerstone of a "medical city" between UCF and Orlando International Airport and has already raised $32 million for it.
Non-profits: Making an Impact
The Rollins College Philanthropy & Nonprofit Leadership Center has partnered with, a national job listings website, to connect area non-profits with job candidates.
Facts about non-profit employment in Florida:
Employed 431,308 in 2000, or 6% of Florida's workforce
60% employed by hospitals, social services and health services, which account for 69% of non-profits' payroll
Paid an average wage of $26,197
On the web:
Baldwin park:Lakefront Luxury
Rock Equities has started construction on Baldwin Harbor, a lakefront luxury residential development of two eight-story complexes in Baldwin Park near downtown Orlando with up to 500 condominiums and town homes priced from the mid-$500,000s to $3 million. Both buildings will include 24-hour concierge service, business centers, workout facilities and private clubs and lounges. Estimated completion date: Late 2007 or early 2008.
Research: Hydrogen Help
The University of Central Florida has secured $7.4 million from NASA for another year of research into ways to use hydrogen as fuel, bringing total funding to $30.4 million. Researchers have developed a "smart paint" that changes colors when a hydrogen tank develops a leak; extracted hydrogen from landfill gas; produced hydrogen from used lube oil; and used cryogenics to densify hydrogen so smaller amounts can be used to fuel the space shuttle.
Thomas Connolly, Embry-Riddle's first presidential endowed chair in aviation, has been named chancellor at the Daytona Beach university. Bill Jennings has stepped down as executive director of Orlando International Airport after 30 years. Senior director Steve Gardner will serve as interim executive director. Beverly Pindling of Orlando Real Estate Professionals has been inaugurated as 2005-06 president of the 11,500-member Orlando Regional Realtor Association. A native of Jamaica, she is the organization's first foreign-born president. Productivity Apex, a modeling and simulation solutions provider in Orlando, has named Maurice "Mike" Callinan president. He formerly served as a senior manager at Lockheed Martin's Simulation, Training and Support division. Frank W. Herring Jr. has been elected chairman of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. He is senior vice president of Faison Enterprises. Tom Goodson, who owns a paving company, has been named chairman of the Canaveral Port Authority for a one-year term.
Business briefs
DAYTONA BEACH -- Volusia County has earmarked 130 acres adjacent to Daytona Beach International Airport and north of Beville Road for expansion of aviation, industrial and commercial development that might include corporate hangars, aviation maintenance facilities and manufacturing and office buildings.
LAKE MARY -- Stirling International Realty has formed an alliance with auction house spinoff Sotheby's International Realty, giving the Lake Mary-based luxury real estate operation a worldwide brand identity to appeal to buyers outside central Florida.
ORANGE COUNTY -- The Mentor Group plans to open a spinal injury treatment center in the Avalon Park Medical Building
at Founders Square. The practice will employ more than 20.
The University of Central Florida will help people with disabilities learn about the latest
devices to assist them at a new center in the Central Florida Research Park. The first-ever Orlando World's Fair for Kids debuts at the Orange County Convention Center April 15-23. The event is designed to challenge children through interactive pavilions representing six worlds. Orlando and Visit Florida, the state's official tourism marketing company, will co-host the Travel Industry Association of America's International Pow Wow tradeshow in May at the Orange County Convention Center. The event is expected to bring delegates from more than 70 countries.
ORLANDO -- Home Depot has purchased Hughes Supply, the only Fortune 500 company besides Darden Restaurants (NYSE-DRI) with headquarters in central Florida, for $3.47 billion. Orlando-based CNL Hotels & Resorts is paying $753 million for the Grande Lakes Orlando resort, which includes a Ritz-Carlton and a J.W. Marriott. Developer Cameron Kuhn's operation, Kuhn Cos., which is developing downtown projects worth more than $1 billion in Orlando and Jacksonville, has formed a telecommunications reseller, Kuhn Communications, to offer tenants high-speed broadband and VOIP for a discount of about 40%.
The Superior Group has purchased the 101-room Crowne Plaza Resort Orlando on International Drive and plans to add a 700-unit condo project. The Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando has completed a $5.5-million renovation. Sage Resort, a 10-story condominium-hotel, is scheduled to break ground in April on International Drive near Sand Lake Road and open in June 2007 with 260 units. The 394-room Hurricane Charley-damaged Royal Plaza at Walt Disney World Resort has reopened after a multimillion-dollar refurbishment. ,b>Florida A&M University's College of Law moved into its permanent campus in the Parramore neighborhood.
winter park -- Rollins College has completed an 18-month renovation and expansion of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, which reopened in January. One of the oldest museums in Florida, the facility houses works from the Renaissance period through modern times. The renovation doubled?the number?of galleries and added?a print study room, a first of its kind in the state, which was funded by the Siemens Corp. Foundation.

Tags: North Central

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