Graduate in 4, Save a Bundle

Taylor shared some data from the UCF graduating senior survey last week  that reported that the biggest reason students took longer than four years to complete their degree was that they changed their major. More than 40% of students who took longer than four years cited this as the reason they didn’t graduate on time.

About a day later, Foard passed along a recent study completed by NerdWallet that estimates that the cost of delaying graduation by a year at a public university is almost $150,000.  A two-year delay costs almost $290,000.  You can read about the findings by clicking here.  Opportunity costs and extra interest payments on student debt are the main drivers of the cost of delay.

The costs of delaying graduation are among the reasons we stress getting students into the right major as early as possible in the college: refusing to accept feedback that certain majors don’t match your talents and skills and retaking courses in the hope of eventually getting into a major or constantly changing majors leads to delay and delay is expensive.  It’s not just the extra tuition, it’s the lost wages from postponing the start of your career that really costs you in the long run.

So have that conversation with your career coach early, do those exercises Lonny assigns in his professional development courses, make a realistic assessment of how you are doing in the primary core courses and get yourself on the road to success as early as possible.  Doing so is going to save you a bundle.


1106 people just invited Elon Musk to speak at #UCF.  The tweet had a combined social reach of 954,221.  My tweet looked like this:


I then tweeted the following to Mr. Musk:

That we were able to mobilize more than 1100 people during the summer should more than convince Elon that we can fill the CFE Arena to hear him speak.

Thanks so much for everyone who participated.  Next up: A UCF Gift Basket full of products by UCF student entrepreneurs from Tiffany Hughes.

#MissionToMusk Launch is Wednesday

Two weeks ago, we made a formal ask to Elon Musk through his PR team to come and speak at UCF.  The invitation came from me, Dean Georgiopoulos in Engineering, Albert Manero from Limbitless and Jesse Wolfe from O’Dang Hummus.  We promised Elon we would fill the CFE Arena with 10,000 business and engineering students to hear him speak for 20 minutes on how failure leads to success.  You can pretty much guess why I want him to talk about this…if you’re clueless, see my last post.

To help solidify our claim that we can fill the CFE Arena (actually this is cake for us, Elon just doesn’t know it) and give Mr. Musk a sense of how committed we are to making this happen, we have launched a social medial campaign using a platform called Thunderclap.  Thunderclap allows you to send out a common message (a tweet, Facebook post, etc.) from many different people to everyone in each of their social networks.  Our goal was to have at least 500 supporters sign up with a collective social network of 500,000 people. Then on June 20, a single message would come out from those 500 people asking Elon Musk to give UCF students 20 minutes of inspiration. The message looks like this:

Our ask #ElonMusk – 20 mins of inspiration for 10k #UCF students who want to see the future like you. #MissiontoMusk

By Friday of last week, we had more than 750 people sign up with a collective reach of 550,000.  You read that right—500,000. There is a ton of excitement around bringing Elon to UCF.  But given recent events in Orlando, we decided to back up the launch a couple of days out of respect for the victims. The collective tweet via Thunderclap will now go out Wednesday, June 22 at 2 p.m.  So you still have a few days to join our effort.

If you would like to add your voice and social network to our #MissionToMusk,  sign up via Thunderclap by going to

How-To: (Mobile) 

  • Click right hand corner, click red square box with three horizontal lines
  • Click explore Thunderclaps
  • Click dropdown box that says Filter by category
  • Choose category EDUCATION
  • Select #MissiontoMusk
  •  Click: red box SUPPORT
  • Share on both Twitter and then REPEAT and share on Facebook
  • Click: Add my Support
  • Tweet to followers or add to Facebook NOW too! THANK YOU!

Thank you in advance for your help with this.  A visit from Elon Musk would not only inspire our students, it would help cement UCF as a place that routinely surprises.


The mass shooting in Orlando this week has brought pain to many UCF students, faculty and staff. I have always found that in struggling to understand something outside my full experience that it helps to turn to friends who can give me a different perspective. So, I reached out to Jim Gilkeson.  Jim is the head of our Integrated Business program, a finance professor, and a gay man who has made Orlando his home for many years.  What follows is from him.  Thanks Jim.

I am struggling to comprehend the shootings at Pulse Night Club early Sunday morning. You see, I live about 8 blocks from the club and I remember wondering why there were so many helicopters flying overhead when I walked my dog that morning. And wondering why there was a police car sitting a block and a half down the street from my house with its lights flashing.

Then I got on my computer and saw the first Facebook post from a friend. And started reading news stories. Checking with friends to make sure they were okay. Receiving texts and emails – from family, from friends, from a high school classmate I hadn’t seen in 15 years – all asking if I was okay. The news kept getting worse.

But it isn’t just about living in the neighborhood of this tragedy. Or about a club I drive by all the time. It’s about being a gay man who’s been to that club. It’s about remembering that I took a friend to see a show at Parliament House (another gay club in town) just last weekend for his birthday: it never occurred to me that going to PH was risky. It’s about being the father of an 18- year-old who could have been at Pulse or at some other club with his Latina girlfriend.

It’s about UCF students, including at least one in our College of Business Administration, Juan Ramon Guerrero, who won’t be coming back to us. It’s about our young alums whose lives were cut short or are forever changed by injury and the impact of being in the middle of that horrendous event. It’s about the broader community who have lost significant others, friends, coworkers and family members who no longer feel safe in their own homes or neighborhoods.

The analysis of the Pulse shootings has started. We know that homophobia played a part. The shooter’s religious beliefs and messages from his family members had an impact. There are suggestions mental illness was involved. Most of the victims were Hispanic, perhaps that was an issue. It was certainly easy enough for the shooter to buy the weapons that left 49 dead and 53 injured. Such a mix of things. So easy to start arguing about what piece is more important than what other piece.

I’m sad. I’m angry. I feel helpless. I’m a little bit scared. I suspect I’m not alone in any of these feelings.

Anti-Muslim rhetoric won’t help. My Muslim friends in Orlando and elsewhere are outraged by this – and justifiably scared of potential “backlash.” And the shooters at Sandy Hook Elementary, and the movie theater in Aurora, CO, and the African-American church in Charleston weren’t Muslims. Anti-immigrant rhetoric isn’t helpful either – the shooter wasn’t an immigrant and Central Florida and UCF are home to thousands and thousands of immigrants making incredible contributions to our community and our institution.

So what can we do?

First of all, we can be there. For the victims and their loved ones. For one another. Ask people if they’re okay. Let them talk their feelings out. Offer support. Let them know that resources are available, counseling through CAPS or the employee assistance program for students and employees of UCF and community-based support through a number of organizations downtown. Don’t downplay the impact this event will have on others, or on yourself.

Show support for the community. The mile-long lines to donate blood – and folks passing out food, water and umbrellas – represented an amazing and almost immediate outpouring of support from the wonderful, diverse community that is Orlando. As did the thousands who attended the vigil at the Dr. Phillips Center on Monday night. And the One Pulse Vigil at UCF on Tuesday night. And the GoFundMe campaign( to support victims and their families that has raised over $3 million at this point, the largest campaign by far in the site’s history. Even this very dark cloud has many bright silver linings.

As we try to digest this event – try somehow to make sense from senseless violence – my true hope is each of us can each figure out something tangible, something proactive we can do to prevent anything like this from happening again, in our community or in any other.

For students who are struggling to cope with this horrific event, CAPS counselors will be in the student union all week. While CAPS is only for students, victim services is available to faculty and staff as well as students. UCF Faculty and Staff can also reach out for counseling through our Employee Assistance Program – Dean Jarley



I want Elon Musk to come and give 20 minutes of inspiration on how failure leads to success to 10,000 UCF Business and Engineering students.  Why?  Because our students don’t take enough smart risks.  Fear of failure just might be the No. 1 enemy of college students today.  Nobody has dreamed bigger, taken bolder actions and stared down failure more than Elon Musk. Twenty minutes from him on the subject would be like two hours from anyone else.  He visits the Cape regularly.  So, the neighborly thing to do would be to invite him over for a chat.

That said, Elon is a busy dude: SpaceX, Tesla, AI, renewable energy, etc.  We are going to have to get his attention and convince him that visiting us is worth his incredibly valuable time. Next week I’ll share the substance of our request to him.  What I need from all of you, is help getting his attention.  One way we plan to do that is through social media.  Elon is active on Twitter.  To help convince him we can mobilize 10,000 students to hear him speak, we are going to do a coordinated Twitter and Facebook campaign.  Stay tuned for the details…

In the meantime, send me your reasons for wanting to hear from Elon.  Use #MissionToMusk.