May 31, 2017
It was on a bright, sunny day that UCF and the Nicholson School of Communication took the first tangible step toward a brighter and bolder future for both the school and the university. On May 11, UCF officially broke ground on the Dr. Phillips Academic Commons, the first of two new buildings that will make up the first phase of UCF’s Downtown campus.
Community and education leaders, including NSC benefactors
Tony and Sonja Nicholson, were present at the ceremony. UCF President John C. Hitt released an announcement expressing his support for the project.
“This innovative campus will offer a bold new avenue for uplifting lives and livelihoods of students from the Parramore community, from Central Florida and from throughout our Sunshine State,” said Hitt.
The campus will be the cornerstone of the Creative Village project, a major downtown revitalization effort. The vision for Creative Village focuses on creating a true “live, work, learn and play” urban destination through a development plan that supports a dynamic mix of uses including office and creative studios, elementary, secondary and higher education, and more. NSC Associate Director of Downtown Initiative Tim Brown, Ph.D., said this project will offer NSC faculty, staff and students many different learning experiences.
“This will be an evolving campus, and Nicholson is going to be a major part of it,” said Brown, who also serves as an associate professor. “Not only are we going to come up with innovative ways to work with students, but we’re going to be shaped by what the Parramore community can teach us.”
Milka Derisma, a 2016 NSC graduate with a bachelor’s degree in human communication, was present at the groundbreaking. She spoke with WFTV-Channel 9 about potential opportunities for students.
“I think Creative Village is just a great place for student ingenuity,” said Derisma, who is studying for her master’s in communication in NSC.
Prior to the official groundbreaking, the Nicholson School was front and center at a VIP breakfast for community, city and state leaders. Derisma was the only student, and Brown the only faculty member, who were asked to speak to the nearly 200 leaders in attendance.
NSC’s human communication and graduate programs, including a forthcoming Ph.D. program in strategic communication, will transition downtown in addition to programs in digital media, health management, social work and legal studies. Culinary, digital media and health management programs from Valencia College will also move to the downtown campus. The campus is scheduled to open in August 2019 with approximately 7,700 students.