Typical hot and humid August morning in central Florida. The reflecting pool behind the administration building drained and filled with chairs arranged in neat rows. My family in the audience. Although the commencement speaker’s name is long forgotten I still remember cheers from a few of my classmates as I crossed the “stage”. My sister snapped the photo as I stepped away.
I had spent my junior and senior years there as an engineering student and even though a job waited that would over time turn into a successful career, I didn’t have a clue about the future; it was mysterious uncharted territory.
For me August 25, 1978 is special for another somewhat related reason. Those of us who graduated that day from ‘Florida Technological University’ knew we were the last of our kind. The state Board of Regents were changing FTU’s name to the ‘University of Central Florida’ the following month. Although they’ve approached me repeatedly over the decades I’ve never accepted the UCF alumni association because their name has no meaning to me. The last time I checked UCF was #6 in the U.S. for single campus enrollments. With numbers today around 50,000, the 11,000 or so students who were there in 1978 seems small though at the time I thought it was big enough.