Magazine Names 5 UCF Leaders, 8 Alumni to Orlando's Most-Powerful List

Magazine Names 5 UCF Leaders, 8 Alumni to Orlando’s Most-Powerful List

Five University of Central Florida leaders were named this week to Orlando Magazine’s 2013 list of the region’s 50 most powerful people.

The magazine’s July edition compiled the list from the area’s political leaders, educators, business owners, and other movers and shakers. UCF President John C. Hitt earned the No. 3 ranking, behind only Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs.

Hitt, who has served as president for 21 years, moved up one notch from last year’s list. He was praised for successfully guiding the nation’s second-largest university, with nearly 60,000 students.

His formula for success, the magazine said, is “laying out a clear vision and goals, then using a talented supporting cast of VPs and others to help achieve them.” One example is the university’s success in attracting research funding, including a $55 million grant from NASA earlier this year to build an imaging instrument to launch into space.

Others with UCF connections who were named to the list are:

  • No. 12 – Dr. Deborah German, UCF vice president for medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine. Her leadership the past seven years to build UCF’s medical school from scratch culminated with this year’s graduation of the school’s charter class.
  • No. 26 – Jim Atchison, CEO and president of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, and a member of UCF’s Board of Trustees. This year the company launched a public stock offering and opened its largest attraction ever, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin.
  • No. 37 – Helen Donegan, UCF vice president for community relations. She oversaw the university’s recent 50th anniversary gala, and she was founding chair of the local United Way’s Leadership Council. Her “Friends of Helen” luncheons provide networking for businesswomen.
  • No. 45 – Marcos Marchena, attorney, general counsel for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, and a member of the UCF Board of Trustees. He has chaired the Florida Transportation Commission and the panel that nominates federal judges for the Middle District of Florida.

In addition to Atchison (College of Business Administration, UCF Class of 1992) and Marchena (College of Sciences, ’82), there are six other UCF alumni on the top-50 list:

  • No. 7 – George A. Kalogridis, Sciences, ’76, president of Walt Disney World Resort
  • No. 9 – Alex Martins, Business Administration, ’01, CEO of Orlando Magic
  • No. 18 – Sherrie L. Sitarik, Health & Public Affairs, ’93, president and CEO of Orlando Health
  • No. 24 – Rasesh H. Thakkar, Business Administration, ’84, senior managing director of Tavistock Group
  • No. 38 – Barbara Jenkins, Education, ’83, Orange County School Superintendent
  • No. 44 – Dick J. Batchelor, Sciences, ’71, business and political consultant, and advocate for children’s causes.

A separate list in the Orlando Magazine article includes 12 people to watch in the coming years, including Maritza Martinez, UCF associate vice president and director of community relations. She has chaired both the Hispanic and Winter Park chambers of commerce.