COS Alumni Shine at Black and Gold Gala

The University of Central Florida recently celebrated the professional achievements of some of its most distinguished graduates at the UCF Alumni Association’s annual Black & Gold Gala on Nov. 7.   The gala is held during UCF Homecoming week at the CFE Arena and celebrates the achievements of UCF alumni who have “Reached for the Stars”.   The evening included a cocktail reception and a silent auction to benefit the UCF Alumni Association Trust Scholarship Fund followed by a sit-down dinner and the awards banquet.  At this year’s gala, 630 people were in attendance and 14 awards were presented.  This was the largest gala to date and raised over $20,000 to benefit student scholarships.

This year’s honorees included three COS alumni.

Dr. Philip Inderwiesen, ’74 – Physics

Marcos Marchena, ’82 – Political Science

George A. Kalogridis, ’76 – Sociology

philip InderwiesenDr. Philip Inderwiesen, 74 was honored with the Professional Achievement Award.  The annual Professional Achievement Award is the highest honor awarded to an alumna or alumnus from each college by the UCF Alumni Association.

Philip Inderwiesen’s love of Physics, started with the love of aviation. He served in the Civil Air Patrol with an eye towards becoming a test pilot, but he found the science of flight to be fascinating and soon discovered that he wanted to learn everything there is to know about physics.

“When I went to UCF, I continued on of course, in the Physics curriculum–and there you are taught how to problem solve, how to break a problem into its basic components, and that’s what we do all the time,” Inderwiesen says.

His in depth studies of physics, astrophysics and later geophysics, led him to the petroleum industry. The modern sciences of finding and optimizing energy sources underground, employs high tech tools such as 3-D time lapse seismic imagery.

“These days, with the computer power and acquisition capabilities we have, we can look into the Earth in 3-D and construct 3-D images and the detail that you see now is phenomenal. It’s almost like you’re walking through the Earth when you go look at these sections; so it’s pretty impressive,” he notes.

Currently working for Chevron’s Exploration Technology company, he has been around the world acquiring seismic images from the mountains of Alaska to the jungles of Sumatra and presenting papers in China, Mongolia, Paris and the Middle East. He’s an explorer by nature, and see’s the world through the fascinated eyes of science.

“Just about everything is neat in physics, it has to do with the whole world, the whole universe around us, it helps you understand what you’re seeing. It goes to all sorts of physical phenomena that way, and it’s very enjoyable to have a deeper understanding of things,” he describes.


Marcos MarchenMarcos Marchena, ’82
was honored with the Service to UCF Award

“My mother my sister and I, came from Cuba in February of 1971. What was most different was the language, we didn’t understand much of what was being said to us, nor were we able to speak with people very easily,” says Marcos Marchena.

Never one to back away from a challenge, Marcos Marchena grabbed the reins of the opportunities around him, drawing everything he could from his surroundings. He excelled at UCF, getting involved in many influential groups on campus and even serving as Vice President of the student body. His family had no college history, but he knew what was expected of him and how to make his parents proud.

“Everyday when I came home from school, I would either hear or I would sense, sometimes it was unstated, an expectation of getting ahead from my parents; an expectation that I needed to do well and that was something that just permeated throughout my school career and frankly I carry it with me today,” says Marchena.

After graduation, he attended Law school. He is the now the senior partner at Marchena and Graham P.A., and General Council to the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority. He actively engages with city, county and state politics and is a well-known, well-respected leader in Central Florida. Fully appreciating the part it played in his own success, he believes deeply in the transformative power of education.

“Education to me is important, because I think it is one of the few ways that people have to get themselves out of a lower economic echelon and I think our society is based on giving everyone an opportunity to succeed and education is a key to doing that,” notes Marchena.

Marcos Marchena backs up his beliefs with actions. Even with a full plate professionally, he volunteered to serve on the UCF Foundation Board. Since 2006, he has served as Secretary of the Executive Committee, sat on the real estate, due diligence and directorship committees and since 2011 he has served on the UCF Board of Trustees. He is a passionate advocate for keeping education affordable while maintaining quality and gives generously of himself to support the University of Central Florida.

“I think that it is natural, and I find it odd when people don’t do this, to want to give back to those institutions that had such an impact in your life along the way. The most rewarding thing is seeing the success of many students that come out of UCF and seeing that permeate our community gives me a great deal of satisfaction,”says Marchena.


George Kalogridis resizedGeorge A. Kalogridis, ’76, was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.  This high honor is designed to acknowledge alumni for their professional achievement, volunteer work with the university and community service.

“Through his leadership at one of our region’s largest and most influential companies, George Kalogridis has become integral to the success of our community,” said John C. Hitt, Ph.D., president of the University of Central Florida.

Kalogridia is President of Walt Disney World Resort and a 42-year veteran of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.  He oversees a workforce of nearly 70,000 Cast Members at four theme parks and 25 resort hotels at WaltDisney World Resort. He graduated from UCF in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology, while still working at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Despite the years since his last college class, Kalogridis still values his college experience and is proud of his alma mater, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

“It’s really important for a community to have an institution like UCF to educate and train tomorrow’s professionals who are key to growing local businesses,” said Kalogridis.




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