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The University of Central Florida, or UCF, is an American metropolitan public research university in Orlando, Florida. It is the largest university in the United States by undergraduate enrollment, as well as the largest by total enrollment.
Founded in 1963 by the Florida Legislature, UCF opened in 1968 as Florida Technological University, with the mission of providing personnel to support the growing U.S. space program at the Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Florida’s Space Coast. As the academic scope expanded beyond its original focus on engineering and technology, “Florida Tech” was renamed The University of Central Florida in 1978. UCF’s space roots continue as the university currently leads the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium. While initial enrollment was only 1,948 students, enrollment today amounts to some 60,821 students from 140 countries and all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
The majority of the student population is located on the university’s main campus just 13 miles (21 km) east-northeast of downtown Orlando, and 55 miles (89 km) southwest of Daytona Beach. The university offers over 200 degrees through thirteen colleges and twelve satellite campuses in Central Florida. Since its founding, UCF has awarded more than 290,000 degrees, including 55,000 graduate and professional degrees, to over 250,000 alumni worldwide