UCF Alumna Serves the Central Florida Arts Community

WardHeadshot300If the family dog’s name is Knightro, you know its owners are passionate Knights. A strong advocate for UCF and the Central Florida arts community, Rae Ward, ’93, has been appointed as the new executive director for the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Central Florida, after previously serving as the organization’s marketing director.

Ward graduated from UCF with a bachelor’s degree in Advertising-Public Relations.  Even though she was a commuting student with a full time job, she still found time to participate in extracurricular activities such as the PR Club at UCF, Quotes, and even the paintball club. Her involvement both inside and outside the classroom helped her fully take advantage of the opportunities that UCF offered, one of which was her first public relations job.  According to Ward, it was an advantage to have attended a metropolitan university that embraces community partnerships.

Ward has been fortunate enough to maintain strong relationships with previous professors who serve as close mentors and friends. In addition, she has maintained a strong connection to UCF since graduation. Not only is she a Knights for Life (lifetime member) of the UCF Alumni Association, but she has also served on the UCF Nicholson School of Communication Alumni Chapter Board of Volunteers for several years. To this day, she mentors students through internships and speaking engagements and is constantly ‘waving the UCF flag’ in all aspects of her life.

As she reminisces of her days at UCF relaxing and studying around the Reflecting Pond, she has a simple piece of advice for current students and UCF alumni.

“[I’m] stealing a quote from my husband, Dan, ‘Make UCF part of your life, not just part of your resume.’ This university and community have so much to offer and it is up to YOU to make the most of it,” said Ward.

In her new role, Ward will be in charge of managing the strategic direction of the Alliance by overseeing daily operations and maintaining strong ties with the community and arts partners. In addition, she recently coordinated the Alliance’s signature event, Red Chair Affair, which is in its ninth consecutive year; the event served as the official kickoff to Central Florida’s 2013-14 arts and cultural season, and more than 1,300 people attended.

To learn more about the Alliance, visit www.artsandculturalalliance.org.

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