University of Central Florida (Campus History)

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9780738567686: University of Central Florida (Campus History)
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The University of Central Florida has stood at the edges of Orlando for 40 years, a major institution of research, culture, education, and professional development stitched into the fabric of one of the nation's most dynamic and influential metropolitan areas. Conceived in 1963, at the height of America's fascination with the space program and less than an hour from Florida's Space Coast, the school began as Florida Technological University, a vast and remote tract of wild palmettos and swampland that held the promise of a cutting-edge "Space University." But 1963 was the same year that Walt Disney made his fateful fly over Central Florida and chose the location for Walt Disney World, a decision that would ultimately transform the entire region. Florida Tech found itself growing along with the surrounding community in size, prominence, and power into a diverse institution that no one in those early years could have envisioned. Renamed the University of Central Florida in 1979 to better reflect its broad curriculum and its strong marriage with the region, the school has blossomed into the prototype for the modern metropolitan university.

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About the Author:

Author Nathan Holic is a visiting instructor at the University of Central Florida and holds a master's of fine arts in creative writing. This book was made possible not only by the collections of the university archives, but also by the four decades of alumni who have contributed their own personal materials.

Review:

Title: Professor's book shows the history from FTU to UCF

Author: Gretha McCandele

Publisher: Central Florida Future

Date: 12/2/2009
As a senior creative writing major in 2001, Jason Haffner knew most of the undergraduate students in his fiction workshop.
He recognized every face with the exception of a newcomer, Nathan Holic, a senior majoring in advertising/public relations with a minor in English.
It was only when Holic wrote his first story about a father struggling to understand his sons that everyone learned what to expect of him, Haffner said.
"I'll never forget that feeling," he said. "It blew us away."
Eight years have passed, and Haffner is now an English teacher at Apopka High School, but he still remembers what he discovered that day.
"No doubt, he was the most talented guy," Haffner said. "He turned out to be the best writer of all of us."
Holic is now a creative writing visiting instructor at UCF.
In October, he published University of Central Florida, the first book to illustrate a complete history of UCF.
According to Arcadia Publishing, the book uses more than 200 photographs to illustrate UCF from its beginnings in 1963 as Florida Technological University to how the university is today.
Holic said he decided to write the book because he wanted to write what he wanted to know about UCF. He was fascinated by its rich culture and the lack of knowledge about it.
"As a university, we've always been so forward-thinking that we haven't really sat back, taken a deep breath and asked: How did we get here? What's the story? Who are the people that made all of this possible?" Holic said.
The book reveals the roots of traditions and programs such as Spirit Splash and the football team that students have taken for granted, Holic said.
Holic said the Office of Student Involvement traced the origin of Spirit Splash to 1994, but a group of students said they jumped into the Reflecting Pond in 1995. The event first began to be called Spirit Splash and received the support of SGA in 1996.
"I think it's important to note that the tradition was organic, natural, because students have always treated the Reflecting Pond as a symbol for the university," Holic said.
The start of the football team was one of the most interesting discoveries during the research for the book, Holic said. Players paid for their own dorm rooms, had to bring their own equipment and practiced by using old rusty blocking sleds that were donated from other schools.
"Like Spirit Splash, we tend to take our football team for granted," Holic said. "We're a big university, so we just think we should have a football program, and it should be dominant."
Holic said he has always been a reader and a writer, but his interest in writing became more defined in high school. After earning his bachelor's degree at UCF, Holic came back to UCF to work on his master's degree in creative writing.
His short stories have been published in The Portland Review, The Roanoke Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, the Mangrove Review, Fiction Fix, The Cypress Dome, The Florida Review and Revelations, according to his blog, www.nholic.blogspot.com.
Mark Pursell, professor of mythology and storytelling at Full Sail University, attended the MFA in creative writing program with Holic. Pursell said Holic is the perfect writer for a book about the history of UCF.
"His creative inspiration is the social bubble -- a novel that explores different layers of society, social and cultural forces," Pursell said. "His strength is to create well-defined characters."
Haffner also attended the MFA in creative writing program alongside Holic.
Haffner said the publication of this book is not only the beginning of something greater for Holic, but also for the rest of his fellow creative writing program graduates.
"For all of us that went through this program, his publication increases the value of our degree," Haffner said.

Title: Campus history - and Mystery

Author: Nathan Holic

Publisher: Pegasus: UCF Alumni Magazine

Date: Sept/Oct 2009
One afternoon last autumn, as I was piecing together the complete history of UCF, I searched through old photos in University Archives with senior archivist Judith Beale, trying to trace the origins of Spirit Splash. You can't write a history book about UCF without detailing the start of the school's greatest tradition, but strangely, we couldn't find anything definitive.
Fittingly, this was around Homecoming Week, and the campus was engulfed in the usual mayhem. I remember thinking that Spirit Splash, like so many other events on this campus of 50,000+, had grown into something larger than anyone could have imagined: a festival, almost, boasted about to incoming students during campus tours, and attended by radio stations, newspapers and magazines that sought not simply to witness the pep rally, but also to capture the spectacle of thousands of young men and women cramming into the Reflecting Pond, chanting, dancing and cheering. Perhaps no other UCF event has been more extensively photographed.
And yet... no one seems quite able to narrate the particulars of how Spirit Splash came about. Ask one student, and he'll tell you that it has been around forever. Ask an alumna from 1988, and she might remember pep rallies at the pond, but no splashing. Ask an alumnus from 1970s FTU, and he might tell you about illegal late night swims, but not a word about Spirit Splash.
Separating rumors from reality was tough because early newspaper accounts offered only sparing Homecoming coverage. Judith and I pored through old Central Florida Futures, going year by year to see if and when students began jumping into the pond. Throughout the '70s and early '80s, the Homecoming parade weaved between the pond and the library, with pep rallies at the steps of Millican Hall. Students gathered on the patio and on the greens surrounding the pond, so, occasionally, the newspaper ran a photo of a student in the water. But never anything conclusive. One story from 1997 sent us on a wild goose chase, as it maintained that Spirit Splash had existed for 12 years. An e-mail from the Office of Student Involvement traced the event back to 1994, but other students insisted that they began the tradition in 1995.
Such is the nature of history: It is rarely clean and easy, and we don't always know when we are witnessing the birth of tradition. During my time researching this book, I learned that the flowering of myth and legend is sometimes just as important to a campus culture as the indisputable names and dates of record.
The University of Central Florida campus history collects the full fourdecade story of UCF's rise to prominence, including the story (stories?) of Spirit Splash. It will be available first from the UCF Alumni Association (see www.ucfalumni.com), and on Oct. 26 at Barnes & Noble on campus and major bookstores across Central Florida, as well as online at www.arcadiapublishing.com.

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