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Grateful for His Success, Alumnus Gives Back

Mark Plaumann ’74 & ’79 was by no means a traditional junior when he entered the University of Central Florida, then known as Florida Technological University.

“I hadn’t graduated from high school exactly,” he said. “And I hadn’t exactly graduated from Valencia College.”

Plaumann’s credentials simply lagged his accomplishments. An Orlando native who took summer courses in calculus and trigonometry for fun, he finished his high school’s three-year accelerated program in just two years. He then tested out of all the courses for his associate’s degree, and was only a year away from earning his bachelor’s degree by the time his high school and Valencia handed him diplomas in June 1973.

Today Plaumann is a managing member of Greyhawke Capital Advisors LLC, a Greenwich, Conn., firm that he co-founded. It controls several million square feet of real estate around the country. He chairs the audit committee of three public companies, is chairman of the board of a small private company, and serves as a trustee of the Eagle Hill School where his 14-year-old daughter, Margaux, attends. Married to Marilyn Wilson, he and family live in New York.

With all his success he remains grateful to UCF for embracing his fast paced approach to academics. “I flew through the university because they bent over backwards for me,” he said.

He shows that gratitude with generous support of the university’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership. His special interest is in science and technology startups, reflecting his lifelong love of science and engineering.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea for the university to combine disciplines to develop ideas for viable, new companies,” he said. “Stanford University has done an excellent job of that. So have the University of Texas Austin, and the Boston area with all its colleges and universities. UCF could create the same sort of environment and take it to the big time. People could think of UCF as the school that develops dynamic entrepreneurs who are discovering the next Google.”

Plaumann’s varied career has provided him with a broad view of what is possible. He was 18 years old when he joined Ernst & Ernst as the youngest employee of the then Big Eight public accounting firm’s Orlando office. He was still completing his bachelor’s degree.

Viewed as a prodigy, Plaumann was training for a prestigious assignment in the firm’s new consulting division when he decided he needed an MBA. Again he turned to UCF, studying at night to complete the degree in 1979.

Now, giving back to the university that named him to College of Business Administration Hall of Fame is an obligation he is happy to fulfill.

“I was the son of a manager of a Black and Decker store. My dad was the only one earning money in the family, and we weren’t wealthy by any means,” he said. “UCF was flexible and affordable because I could live at home while I studied. And the education was rigorous. I am grateful for my career, and UCF prepared me for the success I have had.”