Several community leaders with University of Central Florida connections were named this week to Orlando Magazine’s 2012 list of the region’s most powerful people. The list includes UCF President John C. Hitt at No. 4 and Alex Martins, a UCF alumnus and chief executive officer of the Orlando Magic, in the No. 1 spot.
The magazine’s July edition ranks the region’s most influential political and civic leaders, business executives, activists, philanthropists and others.
Hitt, who moved up a notch from the magazine’s 2011 rankings, recently celebrated his 20th anniversary as president of UCF. The magazine lauded the president because “UCF has consistently landed more than $100 million a year in research contracts and grants, and its…medical school is purring along.”
In recognition of Hitt’s two decades of service to the university and community, former Gov. Jeb Bush wrote in an Orlando Sentinel column that the two most transformative figures in Central Florida’s history have been Hitt and Walt Disney.
Martins, who holds an MBA from UCF, is the first “private person” to be chosen for the top spot after Orlando and Orange County mayors and Hitt, all public employees.
Martins is chairman of the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission and is active on several community boards ranging from Visit Orlando to the Coalition for the Homeless.
Martins also was named to the magazine’s Hall of Power, joining Hitt, who was inducted into that group in 2009.
Others with UCF connections who were named to the power list are:
- No. 7 – Meg Crofton, a member of the UCF Board of Trustees and president of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Operations in the United States and France. “Crofton remains a charitable force in the community, with her company generating $28 million in cash and in-kind support through volunteer hours in the past year,” said the magazine, which also inducted her into the 2012 Hall of Power.
- No. 14 – Deborah German, UCF vice president for medical affairs and dean of the College of Medicine. Her leadership has helped establish Lake Nona as a medical center and develop Pegasus Health, the school’s faculty practice. She serves as a board member of Fifth Third Bank and the Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation.
- No. 16 – Helen Donegan, UCF vice president of community relations. The magazine called Donegan one of Orlando’s most prominent female executives. She serves on numerous community boards and charitable committees, and recently was given the Women’s Summit Award by the Central Florida Women’s Resource Center for outstanding community service and leadership.
- No. 33 – Harris Rosen, a member of the UCF Board of Trustees, and president and chief operating officer of Rosen Hotels & Resorts. Rosen also is chief benefactor of UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, and he recently opened the Rosen Medical Center to serve his hotel employees and families. For all his charitable, educational and philanthropic efforts, the Orlando Sentinel named him 2011 Central Floridian of the Year.
- No. 40 – Jim Atchison, a member of the UCF Board of Trustees, and president and chief executive officer of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. Atchison is in charge of SeaWorld’s 10 theme parks and has expanded the company’s brand in movies, television and digital media.
- No. 46 – Rick Walsh, a board member of UCF Foundation Inc.; a former and charter member of the UCF Board of Trustees; and owner of Knob Hill Group, a strategic development and investment company. “In the last two years, the former Darden executive has taken two agencies tainted by scandal … and restored them to the straight and narrow, cementing his reputation as a civic leader dedicated to the common good,” the magazine said about the UCF alumnus who has a master’s degree in public policy/business.
Donegan drew a second honor on the magazine’s list by joining husband, Bill, Orange County’s property appraiser, as Orlando’s No. 2 power couple. “They’re the prototypical power couple, knowing all the right people in all the right places…in Orlando and beyond,” the magazine said.