The University of Central Florida, commonly referred to as UCF, is a metropolitan public research university located in Orlando, Florida, United States. UCF is a member institution of the State University System of Florida, and is the second-largest university in the United States by enrollment. The University of Central Florida was authorized by the Florida State Legislature in 1963, and opened in 1968 as Florida Technological University, with the goal of providing highly-trained personnel to support the Kennedy Space Center, located only 35 miles (56 km) to the east. As the university's academic scope had expanded to encompass other disciplines, along with concerns over potential confusion with the Florida Institute of Technology, also known as "Florida Tech", the school was renamed the University of Central Florida in 1978. Although initial enrollment in 1968 was only 1,948 students, as of 2011 enrollment consists of 58,698 students representing over 140 countries, all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The majority of the student population is located on the university's 1,415-acre (573 ha) main campus approximately 13 miles (21 km) east-northeast of downtown Orlando and 55 miles (89 km) south-southwest of Daytona Beach. The university offers over 210 separate degree options through twelve colleges and eleven satellite campuses throughout Florida. Since its founding, UCF has awarded more than 225,000 degrees, including 40,000 graduate and professional degrees, to nearly 185,000 alumni worldwide. UCF is a space-grant university and has made noted research contributions to optics, modeling and simulation, digital media, engineering and computer science, business administration, education, and hospitality management, and is considered to be the fourth-best up-and-coming national university by U.S. News and World Report. UCF's official colors are black and gold and the academic logo is a Pegasus. The athletic teams, called the 'Knights' and represented by the mascot Knightro, are members of Conference USA until the start of the 2013-2014 season, when they will become all-sports members of the Big East.
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