ORLANDO, Fla—July 20, 2023—The National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA) and Women in Defense (WID) hosted a luncheon focusing on the topic of University of Central Florida’s (UCF) “Transformative Impact on the Defense Industry,” featuring speaker Michael Johnson, UCF provost.


Johnson shared how UCF, ranked as one of America’s most innovative universities, has had a high impact role in our nation’s defense industry since its founding 60 years ago.


“UCF and Orlando have grown up together,” he said, “UCF started with the mission to support the space program. By partnering with Orlando’s important industries, we’ve developed strengths within the university, areas of excellence where we have become truly great among the nation’s leading universities in the areas that focus on these partnerships.”


UCF has become one of the top universities and has been able achieve their mission because of the close partnership with industry. Johnson highlighted the Central Florida Tech Grove as an example of the strong ties UCF has with DoD and industry. He said, “These structures, which reflect our strong ties to DOD and industry, were built by UCF and state funds to advance DoD mission, in partnership with the Central Florida Tech Grove.”


The combination of UCF’s history with the Department of Defense (DoD) and the expertise of the faculty in areas of importance has made working with the defense industry a strategic priority for the university. Emphasizing that relationship, he said, “UCF places more engineers into aerospace and defense industries than any other university in the country.”


Another tie to DoD is UCF’s programs in modeling and simulation, which are a top choice for military officers who are seeking advanced degrees. “By supporting this industry, it has permitted UCF to develop academic expertise in modeling and simulation and place us among the nation’s best universities,” he said.


“As provost, my job is to build and strengthen UCF’s academic quality, our student’s success, and our research impact, to transform lives and energize the workforce,” said Johnson. He is proud of the university’s accomplishments, noting that UCF’s excellence in academics, talent production, and high-tech research makes for a wonderful environment for collaboration and innovation as well as an ideal partner for the DoD and industry.


Concluding his presentation, Johnson said, “You may know UCF’s motto ’ and we look forward to reaching for the stars for you, with more of you, for many years to come.”


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