Alumnus Elevates UCF Nationwide
Orlando resident Louis Rotundo, ’73, ’75, has been influential in shaping local legislation. He began the political effort, drafted the legislation and secured the funding for SunRail and has worked with some of the most prominent elected officials in Florida over the last forty years. He is also a proud University of Central Florida graduate.
Rotundo was born and raised in Sanford, Florida. He attended UCF when it was still known as Florida Technological University. He graduated with dual degrees in history and political science in 1973 and again with his master’s degree in public policy in 1975. After working his way through school by working night shifts at the former Winter Park Mall, Rotundo used all of his degrees to succeed in many different fields.
“My entire working career has been in government or working with government,” Rotundo said. “When not doing that, I have taught college-level history at Rollins College and political science at Valencia and written and published extensively in the field of military and aviation history.”
Rotundo came back to UCF in 1984 to work as the special assistant to the President for four years. During his time in the position, he participated in the creation of and helped to secure the original state funding for the UCF Institute of Simulation and Training and for the Center for Research in Electro-Optics and Lasers.
He is currently serving on the Florida Solar Energy Center Policy Advisory Board and working as the principal of Louis Rotundo and Associates, his lobbying firm in Altamonte, Fla. He still strives to advance UCF through his position on the FSEC board.
“I have the privilege of numerous memories of creating or securing funding for several federal energy initiatives for FSEC which served to elevate UCF to national research prominence in Washington D.C. and across the federal research community,” Rotundo said.
The alumnus is grateful to affect Floridians all over the state through his work.
“My favorite thing about my job is creating programs, or drafting legislation, that impacts millions of Floridians in their daily lives,” he said. “Some of these impacts will still be enjoyed by many people long after I have retired.”
Some of Rotundo’s published scholarly works have been made into documentaries aired on television networks such as PBS, NBC and The History Channel. His background in history earned him a spot on the editorial board of the United States and British defense journal, the Journal of Soviet Military Studies, when he was only 35 years old.
Staying involved at UCF was important to Rotundo, as a student and as a graduate. He was an active member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity and met his wife, Sherrye, through Greek life. He maintained relationships with his professors who he said grew to become his good friends and colleagues later on.
“Dr. Robert Bledsoe, Dr. Leland Jackson and Dr. David Block each played a mentoring role in everything I later did as a professional,” Rotundo explained.
After graduating, he was one of the founding members of the Pegasus scholarship and has donated to the UCF Alumni Association.
While he was special assistant to the President, Rotundo was frequently visited by students that came to him for advice. He would always answer with a question, asking them “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
“I think it’s the eternal college question of all students and, in reality, for all individuals as they face the uncertainty of their future,” Rotundo said. “The answer for me is simple. Do what you love. Do it until it’s no longer the joy of your life and then move on. The trip is not to one destination, but a journey of events, experiences, and achievements that eventually answers that one question.”