By Wendy Sarubbi | June 28, 2013 3:31 pm

The reading room at the College of Medicine’s Health Sciences Library has been named for Drs. Julia Pet-Armacost and Robert Armacost, in honor of their dedicated leadership in helping to create the young medical school and years of service to the university.

The Armacosts are retiring this summer. At a June 26 celebration for them, UCF President John C. Hitt and Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and dean, announced that the reading room in the Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library is now named the Julia J. Pet-Armacost, Ph.D., and Robert L. Armacost, D.Sc. reading room. A naming plaque hangs on the door and a photo of the couple hangs below the reading room clock with the inscription, “With deep appreciation for your unparalleled dedication, unmatched performance and instrumental leadership in founding the University of Central Florida College of Medicine.”

Dr. German applauded the Armacosts’ contributions to the medical school, including leading accreditation efforts, establishing processes and procedures, and helping to hire most of the early leadership team, faculty members and staff. “When critics said creating a medical school in such a short time was impossible, Julia and Bob helped turn – as President Hitt says – the impossible into the inevitable,” Dr. German said.

The naming of the reading room was a surprise to the Armacosts, who have served on the College of Medicine executive leadership team since the school began, and were involved in virtually all planning of medical school events. Following the announcement, they and celebration attendees participated in a ribbon-cutting at the reading room.

Dr. Pet-Armacost served most recently as associate dean for planning and knowledge management, leading the medical school’s information technology, library, assessment and communications functions. The new assessment and information systems her team developed received national acclaim from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education when it granted the medical school preliminary accreditation, allowing it to enroll the charter class.

Dr. Pet-Armacost has spent the past 20 years at UCF, as an associate professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems, then founding director of the UCF Operational Excellence and Assessment Support Office. She served as assistant vice president for information, analysis, and assessment and assistant vice president for special academic initiatives responsible for the initial development of the College of Medicine. She is retiring as associate dean emerita.

Dr. Armacost retired from UCF in 2006 after 15 years at UCF. He was an associate professor in the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems and is an associate professor emeritus in the department. He was also the founding director of the University Analysis and Planning Support office and numerous analytic initiatives designed to support more informed university decision-making. Dr. Armacost came out of retirement in 2007 to support the College of Medicine as special advisor to the dean.

College of Medicine staff members, who had worked with and for the Armacosts, spoke at the retirement celebration, thanking the two for their mentorship and leadership.  Dr. Basma Selim, executive director of planning and knowledge management, has worked with the Armacosts for the last 18 years, beginning as a graduate student. “My decision to continue my education was largely because Julia and Bob inspired me,” she said. “I saw their love of teaching and helping students grow and I knew that is what I wanted to do.”

The Armacosts said they were overwhelmed by the medical school’s recognition. Known for the inspirational quotes he provided every Friday to the College of Medicine team, Dr. Armacost read a quote that has been in his office for years and one that he and Dr. Pet-Armacost presented to team members on their last day: “Great success is a journey that is not made alone.”

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