What do a bust of President Charles Millican, a shovel and a taxidermied vulture have in common? They're all in the University Archives.
Housed in the John C. Hitt Library, the University Archives is charged with cataloging UCF's history and collecting items of significance.
With the help of senior archivist Mary Rubin, the Central Florida Future compiled the history of four notable items in the collection that tell the story of UCF, formerly Florida Technological University, in its early years.
First Student Handbook
The first Student Handbook, from 1968-69, marked the first appearance of the Citronaut, a green astronaut with an orange for a body.
Beloved by some and despised by others, the Citronaut never became an official mascot and no official costume was ever made.
The Future even covered the plight of the Citronaut in a 1970 article, "Are we doomed to be the Citronauts forever?" However, in 2012, another column ran titled "Patiently waiting, Citronaut shall rise, return to glory." Today, the men's baseball team dons Citronaut uniforms during its season.
In 1969, a new mascot was up for proposal. Some of the proposed mascots included a scorpion, a mosquito and even a fruit fly.
Vincent the Vulture, inspired by a number of vultures that were commonly seen circling campus, was another mascot up for contention.
Notably, one vulture was particularly friendly, having been fed by students for so long. When the vulture was found dead on campus, instead of being disposed of, it was taxidermied and held in the President's Office until it was moved to the University Archives at an unknown time.
Never an official mascot, simply a proposal, the suggestion resembled a fat penguin and had UCF's first president, Millican, in stitches, said UCF professor Christian Clausen.
"I thought President Millican was going to die," Clausen said. "President Millican had a good sense of humor, but that almost sent him overboard."
Old Knightro costumes
Knightro did not officially appear until the 1994 Spirit Splash, though he was not named Knightro until 1995. Previously, other knight-themed mascots included the Knights of Pegasus, introduced in December 1970, as well as Sir Winsalot, who was knighted by UCF's second president, Trevor Colbourn. There was even a dragon named Puff that served as the slaying target of the mascot.
These costumes represent the first and second generation costumes. By 1999, Knightro was already in his second generation. It is unknown the exact date of each generational transition, but the Knightro known today is the fourth generation, said Mike Callahan of the UCF Spirit Team.
University ground-breaking shovel
The ground-breaking ceremony for the UCF, then FTU, main campus did not occur until March 19, 1967. At that point, the university had already been established for four years, but construction did not begin until January 1967.
The shovel was used by then Gov. Claude Kirk, who was the featured speaker for the ceremony. The same shovel was also used for the Lake Nona Medical campus.
Two other shovels exist in the collection and have been used for groundbreakings on Lake Sumter Community College joint-use center, as well as the South Lake Center.
Turning facts into feet
University Archives has 600 linear feet of materials processed and 300 linear feet of unprocessed material. 1 linear foot = 1 box.
University Archives also has 2.5 terabytes of digital material.
Special Collections has 700 linear feet of processed material and 300 feet of unprocessed material.
Adam Rhodes is the Entertainment Editor at the Central Florida Future. Follow him on Twitter at @byadamrhodes or email him at AdamR@CentralFloridaFuture.com.