This week, University of South Florida’s Sarasota-Manatee campus leadership unveiled Sacrifice, a monument honoring active-duty military, veterans and their families. Originally on display at Patriot Plaza, the monument, which features a thick piece of laminated glass imprinted with a poem and a photographic image representative of military life, was generously donated by The Patterson Foundation in recognition of USF’s continued contribution to active-duty military, veterans and their families.
“The Patterson Foundation chose the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus to be the monument’s new home because of the meaningful relationship the university has with its military-connected students,” said Carlos Moreira, director of campus engagement for veteran success and alumni affairs.
This spring, the Office of Veteran Success, which provides specialized programs and services to veterans, eligible dependents, active-duty service members and members of the Selected Reserve, connected with 7,389 students, 265 of whom call the Sarasota-Manatee campus home. “That’s 14.8% of the USF student body,” said Moreira. “We create unique opportunities and events for these students as well as provide guidance as they prepare for the next phase in their lives—whether that be continuing education or a meaningful career.”
The dedication and unveiling ceremony took place in the FCCI Main Rotunda on the Sarasota-Manatee campus Wednesday afternoon and featured remarks by USF Sarasota-Manatee campus Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook, The Patterson Foundation President and CEO Debra Jacobs, Sarasota National Cemetery Director Richard Wallace, and Moreira.
Just before the monument was unveiled, Mark Heise, a security officer at the Sarasota-Manatee campus who served in the Army National Guard for 13 years, read the poem inscribed on the monument’s façade:
“I am now able to tell my children
and my grandchildren
about a man they did not know
“I tell them to remember
that whenever they see the American flag
or hear the national anthem playing,
when they’re saying the
Pledge of Allegiance—
and especially when they hear “Taps,”
that it stands for something,
and always remember,
that have been made.”
Previously on display at the Sarasota National Cemetery, Sacrifice is part of a larger installation, which depicts the stories of the men, women and families who serve or have served the nation. The artist, Larry Kirkland, considers these testimonies an extension of the untold stories indicated by the cemetery’s headstones.
In the last couple of years, as some of the monuments began to delaminate, The Patterson Foundation replaced the glass and photos, and placed the original art in storage. The Patterson Foundation then partnered with local veteran organizations to display each piece of art indoors in places of honor such as the Office of Veteran Success on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus.
USF is one of only 15 universities in the nation selected as a Tillman Partnership University of the Pat Tillman Foundation, a selection based on innovative veteran-specific support services and proven culture of community for military families. In 2021, USF ranked 2nd in Florida and 19th among all public four-year U.S. institutions in the 2021 Military Times Best: Colleges and among the top 20 best public institutions in the Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges. And, this year, U.S. News and World Report ranked USF as a Best College for Veterans.
Most recently, USF’s Office of Veteran Success has partnered with The Patterson Foundation to offer a scholarship program. “We are also working with the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management to provide crucial certification to student veterans across USF and with campus leadership to provide certification in critical creative design thinking to military personnel,” said Moreira. “The Office of Veterans Success is successful in supporting its military-connected students because of our wonderful community.”
The monument can be found in the FCCI Main Rotunda at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus.
About the Office of Veteran Success at the University of South Florida
The Office of Veteran Success provides specialized programs and services to veterans, eligible dependents, active-duty service members, and members of the Selected Reserve. Services include assistance with university admissions, scholarships, VA benefits, graduation, employment opportunities and the continued pursuit of higher education. Located on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, the Military and Veterans Success Center offers veterans and their dependents a sense of community where they can connect with other student veterans and access important education resources.
This spring, the University of South Florida’s Student Consulting course paired teams of undergraduate students with international, global alumni-owned businesses—a first for the course, which launched in the fall of 2019.
Designed to give students the opportunity to collaborate with industry professionals and tackle contemporary business challenges, the course delivers a high-impact learning experience to students of all academic backgrounds. Over the course of each sixteen-week semester, students deepen their business acumen and develop valuable consulting skills as well as the ability to collaborate with diverse groups of people. Prior to Spring 2022, students were matched with local businesses such as Bank of America, Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County, Cumberland Advisors and FCCI Insurance Group.
“The course aligns really well with the values and experiences that we aim to offer Honors College students, namely experiential learning and the opportunity to move outside of the classroom and really learn by doing,” said Cayla Lanier, campus director for the Judy Genshaft Honors College on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. “Today, hiring committees are looking for critical thinkers—people who can apply their knowledge and skills to a variety of changing environments and contexts. The Student Consulting course provides students with an opportunity to do that and more. Students gain valuable insights into the working world, how decisions are made within companies and what they have to contribute. It’s excellent training for aspiring professionals of all kinds.”
“This is all part of a concerted effort to reconnect with our incredibly successful global alumni and create mutually beneficial international partnerships,” said Martinez. “We are especially interested in implementing new and innovative strategies to provide current students with unique opportunities, such as the one offered by the Student Consulting course.”
The course is the brainchild of Greg Smogard, assistant vice president of innovation and business development at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, who worked with Lanier and Vanessa Martinez, assistant director of community relations for USF World, to transform the spring semester into an opportunity for international partnership.
Martinez forged connections with USF alums François Rioux, president of Quebec-based Groupe Bertrand-Rioux, and François Soulard, founder and CEO of PlaceLoop, a digital marketing firm with offices in Paris and Bordeaux. “Both men had a lot of wonderful stories about their time at USF,” she said. “They were enthusiastic about the opportunity to reconnect with the university and work with our students."
The students who enrolled in the course in the spring were split into two teams, the first of which was paired with PlaceLoop. “I could tell the course was going to offer a huge, real-world challenge and that it would be like no other class I had ever taken,” said Sara Osborne, a business management major who graduated this spring from the USF Muma College of Business. Osborne worked with a first-year accounting major and a fourth-year biomedical sciences major to conduct competitive, market, and gap analyses and offer a plan of action to the PlaceLoop management team. “This course gave me the confidence to step into a leadership role and to accept that I’m not always going to have an immediate answer,” Osborne said. “It taught me how to get out of my comfort zone and trust the process. With perseverance and a supportive team, everything came together. I was so proud of us for reaching the finish line and offering recommendations that the CEO of a multi-million-dollar company plans to implement. That alone was incredibly rewarding.”
The second group—paired with Riôtel of Groupe Bertrand-Rioux—consisted of third-year economics major Naren Bollineni, first-year finance major Kinsey Roth, and third-year cybersecurity major Tristan Kistler. “We wanted the students to help us develop a new product for the hospitality industry, so we tasked them with market research that would help us decide whether the business venture was worth pursuing,” said Charles-Alexandre Rioux of Groupe Bertrand-Rioux.
“It was cool to see our different disciplines come together,” said Bollineni. “As a finance major, Kinsey was able to look into how competition affects economic output. Together, we analyzed Airbnb and Sonder as well as the top three Canadian competitors. As a cybersecurity major, Tristan is really good with computers, so he did a lot of information input. We each utilized our skillsets—especially the hard-skills. And we learned to develop our soft-skills as we worked together as a team.”
Throughout the semester, each group met with Smogard to complete weekly whiteboarding sessions and discuss the assigned reading: Linda K. Stroh’s The Basic Principles of Effective Consulting. “I really benefitted from the professional development,” said Bollineni. “On top of reading The Basic Principles of Effective Consulting, we also reviewed it. When we’d meet with Dr. Smogard, he’d be like, ‘What did you learn?’ We’d tell him. We’d discuss the reading. And then we’d turn around and immediately apply what we’d learned. He taught us how to talk like consultants, how to organize ourselves, how to interview. Everything.”
By the end of the semester, the management teams at PlaceLoop and Groupe Bertrand-Rioux were thoroughly impressed by the students’ ability to learn a new industry and transfer those learnings into insightful business recommendations in such a short period of time. “Tristan, Naren, and Kinsey did a great job learning about the hospitality industry and the competitive landscape, and provided us with recommendations and potential next steps,” said Charles-Alexandre Rioux. “With today’s labor shortages and ‘The Great Resignation,’ we are continuously looking for creative ways to find the necessary resources to work on early stage and R&D projects. These projects are what allow our company to stay ahead of the curve and innovate. This project made us realized that young, college-educated students could play an important role in those types of projects. It opened our eyes to new opportunities and will definitely be something we continue to implement internally.”“This was probably one of the best courses I’ve ever taken,” said Bollineni. “It proved to me that I really like consulting and that it’s not an impossible goal. It’s no longer a mystery I have to solve or a path I have to uncover on my own. It’s been done by people before. Dr. Smogard is a consultant, himself. And I now have a connection in Canada."
The Student Consulting course will return in the fall to match students with international, global alumni-owned businesses. “I want to take it again,” said Bollineni. “Seriously. I enjoyed the class that much.”
Both Smogard and Lanier are hopeful the course will continue to evolve. “I think there are many students who would love to study abroad and even more who maybe want to dip their toe in international waters rather than going for a full swim,” said Lanier. “A three-day or four-day experience would be just enough for them. I would love to be able to provide that along with the extended cross-cultural interactions on research and teamwork and problem-solving in addition to the company pitches to the executive management team.”
Registration for the fall semester is now open. To learn more about the Student Consulting course (MAR4933), contact Greg Smogard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brandon McLeod, the new campus director of USF World at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus, arrived in May carrying a valuable lesson he learned during his first jobs as an educator, teaching English as a Second Language to students at the University of South Alabama and later to non-English speakers, ages 3 to 85, in Japan.
“I learned very quickly I couldn’t just make assumptions about people, no matter where they were from,” said McLeod of his experience as an ESOL teacher. “We have cultural norms here in the U.S. and I learned if I tried to apply those cultural norms when interacting with people from an international community, I may not give the message I am trying to give.”
It’s a lesson sure to help guide McLeod’s work at the Sarasota-Manatee campus with USF World, the umbrella for a diverse set of programs designed to help students and faculty, both from the U.S. and overseas, grow as members of the larger global community.
A native of Mobile, Ala., McLeod, who in May received his doctorate in Higher Education from the University of Mississippi, said he was attracted to USF’s location on the Gulf coast, as well as the richness of the offerings that make up USF World. He said he was looking for a place where he could put forth big ideas and initiatives to break down the barriers that often divide people of different languages, cultures and experiences.
Pointing to offerings in business and hospitality as examples, McLeod said it was clear to him that USF is committed to playing that role in the international community.
As of fall 2020, USF enrolled 5,974 students from other countries, more than any other university in Florida. A report from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs ranked USF No. 19 nationally among public universities and No. 28 for both public and private universities.
In recent years, USF also has won recognition from various international-focused organizations, including the Fulbright Association and the U.S. Peace Corps.
“They already have the international community in focus. We are in a global economy and every field, no matter what it is, is touching on the international community,” McCleod said. “I want to build on what they have already and expand on the opportunities.”
USF’s Sarasota-Manatee campus is an important part of the university’s efforts, McLeod said. One of his goals, he said, is to organize a lecture series for visiting scholars and researchers from overseas.
"It’s already a tight knit community and is accepting of new people and new cultures and new experiences,” McLeod said. “The community is already welcoming the international students in.”
After returning from a second stint of teaching in Japan and teaching ESOL students at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and nearby Central Piedmont Community College, McLeod expanded on his work in international education at the University of Mississippi. As the international programs advisor and later as assistant director of International Student & Scholar Services, McLeod advised students and faculty on immigration-related issues, along with other duties.
He also enrolled in the doctorate program at Ole Miss. His dissertation was on “Online Learning Readiness Among International Students.”
McLeod said that even before the COVID-19 pandemic, international learning had started to move online as worries grew about the carbon footprint left by world travel. The pandemic further cemented that trend.
The challenge of engaging international students online, McLeod said, mirrors that faced by online education in general. But moving more global learning opportunities online also has created new opportunities not always possible in the physical world, such as detailed virtual tours of Roman ruins or the Louvre.
“It’s a challenge but the programs we partner with and the professors at the university, they do a really good job in integrating cultural aspects in the online environment,” McLeod said.
International learning, whether it’s studying abroad for a semester or interacting on your home campus with scholars and students from overseas, is a vital part of the college experience. Those experiences, McCleod said, provide students, faculty and others valuable opportunities to challenge their worldviews and to consider, and adopt, new ways of thinking and acting.
“International students want to come here because we have great programs and facilities and opportunities not available to them in their home countries,” McLeod said. “Domestic students want to go abroad because they can’t get the same cultural experiences in the U.S.”
Since 2012, the Gail Baird Foundation has contributed over $5,000,000 supporting more than 200 different organizations in and around the region, including the University of South Florida.
The donations from the Sarasota-based foundation support a mission committed to researching, increasing awareness, and curing ovarian cancer while continuing Gail Baird’s efforts to provide opportunities for aspiring female entrepreneurs and to enrich the lives of seniors and veterans.
To that end, USF is pleased to announce a $25,000 donation from the Gail Baird Foundation to fund the Gail L. Baird Entrepreneurship Scholarship. The award will support five $3,000 scholarships to undergraduate junior and senior female students and one $10,000 scholarship to a graduate student female enrolled in the entrepreneurship program in USF’s Muma College of Business for the 2022-2023 academic year.
“We are very proud to support USF women studying entrepreneurship at the Muma College of Business,” said Eric Baird, president of the Gail Baird Foundation. “My mother, Gail Lynn Baird, possessed an inexhaustible determination and passion for learning and business that she channeled through entrepreneurship in several successful business ventures. At the foundation, we strive to perpetuate her spirit as we offer USF students the tools that they will need to forge their own future endeavors.”
A previous gift from the Gail Baird Foundation, announced in 2016, allowed female graduate and undergraduate students majoring or minoring in entrepreneurship at USF to apply for up to $25,000 in scholarship awards for the 2017-2018 school year. The scholarship was open to full or part-time junior, senior or graduate students on all three USF campuses.
“We are beyond delighted with the continued and generous support from Eric Baird and the Gail Baird Foundation,” said Dirk Libaers, the John and Beverly Grant Endowed Professor of Entrepreneurship and director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the Muma College of Business. “This scholarship will help USF attract, recruit and train the next generation of female entrepreneurs by unlocking the potential of this mostly untapped pool of talented individuals to drive forward our economy."
To learn more about the Gail Baird Foundation’s mission or inquiries, please reach out to the Gail Baird Foundation.
USF’s Sarasota-Manatee campus celebrated 16 “sweet” years at the Crosley Campus Center during the Foundation for the Future event on May 17.
Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook was joined by USF President Rhea Law, past USF President Judy Genshaft and past USF Sarasota-Manatee campus CEO Laurey Stryker, along with campus board members, community supporters and honored guests to dedicate the Judy Genshaft Pavilion and celebrate the progress on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus.
For 19 years, spanning 2000 to 2019, Genshaft led the incredible transformation of the University of South Florida, making major strides across every unit and by every measure, including the expansion and building development of the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus.
“In the early 2000’s, I was committed to building a new building – you needed it, you needed a sense of identity,” said Genshaft. “Here we are 16 years later, and how exciting it is to share the dedication of this new space – the Judy Genshaft Pavilion – on the same day we mark the incredible progress of this landmark campus building. It is still looking great today! And it has had a lasting impact on thousands of local students.”
The evening commenced in the campus courtyard for the dedication of the Judy Genshaft Pavilion, then moved into the Selby Auditorium for the Foundation for the Future event where the four leaders joined together on a panel to reflect on the past 16 years at the Sarasota-Manatee Crosley Campus Center.
Rick Piccolo, USF Trustee and USF Sarasota-Manatee Campus Board Chair, was the event moderator. He kicked off the program with a look back at Sarasota-Manatee campus’ 47-year history and the defining moment in 2006, the opening of the 100,000 square foot Crosley Campus Center. A video was shown that highlighted the campus’s history and community impact.
As the evening concluded, Holbrook shared her appreciation for the previous campus leaders and to the community supporters who contributed to the building of the campus and its programs, while also growing excitement for future growth, including the planning for a Nursing/STEM building, Student Center and student housing.
“We have grown with the community and there is so much ahead of us,” said Holbrook. “We are at a juncture where these new buildings visualized on campus are essential to sustain and enhance our commitment to students and to the community to produce the talent needed in the region, to attract local students who will stay local as well as recruit talented students from across the nation and internationally.”
Last month, a group of University of South Florida students carrying notebooks and water bottles donned scrubs, boarded a bus and prepared to host their first mobile medical clinic in a Dominican batey. The 10-day, culturally immersive medical service study abroad program is the result of a partnership between USF’s Judy Genshaft Honors College and the Kerolle Initiative for Community Health.
As the bus lurched forward, merengue music played from homes tucked behind palm trees and the sweet smell of tropical flowers and fried plantains hung in the air. The students chatted excitedly, laughing with each other as the bus rattled down the road.
Under the guidance of Dr. Reginald Kerolle, a medical doctor and public health practitioner, the students worked with a small team of nurses and doctors to bring health care services to Dominican bateyes—rural communities of sugarcane workers and their families who do not receive government services. During their time in the Dominican Republic, the students took vitals (e.g., temperature and blood pressure measurements), shadowed physicians and managed a small pharmacy.
USF students consult with local communities
(Credit: Hannah Halili)
The students’ clinical experiences were complemented by daily lectures from Dr. Kerolle, who taught them about the structural and social determinants behind the conditions observed in the clinics. Students prepared community health education activities and returned to the bateyes to host health fairs and instruct on a variety of subjects, such as how to practice oral hygiene and how to manage hypertension and diabetes with local foods. At the end of the fair, students distributed supplies: toothbrushes and toothpaste for children and informational handouts in Spanish and Creole.
“My experience in the Dominican was something I will never forget,” said Gabrielle Carroll, a rising second-year biology major in the Judy Genshaft Honors College. “I learned so many things – especially about the struggles many face when it comes to accessing general healthcare. The connections I made, and the lessons learned mean so much to me and I am so grateful and fortunate to have gone on this trip.”
Students stayed with host families in Bella Vista. By interacting with their host families and members of the local community, students are immersed in Dominican culture. They have the opportunity to practice their Spanish language skills, enjoy local cuisine and participate in cultural holidays. The students who visited the Dominican Republic last month celebrated Mother’s Day with local mothers by reciting an acrostic poem, singing songs and showing gratitude through verbal thank you speeches.
“Study abroad played a huge role in my own undergraduate education,” said Cayla Lanier, campus director for the Judy Genshaft Honors College on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. “As a faculty leader, I love facilitating the personal growth and intercultural awareness that comes with international education. This program in particular has a special place in my heart.
“We have developed long-term relationships with our hosts and communities we visit. When our students arrive and see Bella Vista residents wearing USF t-shirts, they immediately feel at home.”
This is Lanier’s second time taking students to the Dominican Republic. “As a faculty member, I get to watch the children of Bella Vista and the bateyes grow up, which is a special privilege,” she said.
In December 2022, Lindy Davidson, associate dean of the Judy Genshaft Honors College on the Tampa campus, will take a group of 20 students to the Dominican Republic. Lanier will return in May 2023.
Final part of USF’s ‘Ukraine: What’s Next?‘ focused on role of propaganda, misinformation in conflict
The University of South Florida Sarasota Manatee campus on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, closed out “Ukraine: What’s Next?,” a five-part lecture series on the military, geopolitical, economic and other ramifications of the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
Launched less than two months after the start of the Russian invasion, the series featured some 35 military and intelligence community officials, cybersecurity experts, diplomats, economists, humanitarian experts and others who examined the Russian invasion of Ukraine from their diverse perspectives, before live audiences on campus and others watching online.
The final part, “Hearts and Minds,” considered the role of propaganda and misinformation in the conflict and its potential to polarize public opinion, promote violent extremism and undermine the world’s democracies. The keynote speaker was Sue Gordon, a veteran U.S. intelligence official and former principal deputy director of national intelligence at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI).
Ukraine: What’s Next? was presented by the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, the Air Force Association Florida West Coast Chapter, Cyber Florida, the Global Interdependence Center, Security Management International, the USF Institute for Public Policy and Leadership and USF ResearchOne.
“There is not a single event going on in my lifetime bigger than one right now today.
This has implications of going worldwide if it’s not contained,” retired Air Force
Maj. Gen. David “Scott” Gray, president of the West Coast Chapter of the Air Force
Association, said at the opening of the series on April 13. “The humanitarian implications
alone are profound and worldwide and they’re growing.”
The series featured prominent U.S. military and intelligence officials offering their assessments of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and what might be expected since Russia failed to score a quick victory after it attacked on Feb. 24, contrary to what many experts had predicted.
“The failure of Russia in this attack on Ukraine is significant … and it is going to have ramifications across not only Europe but in Asia and the rest of the world,” said former National Security Agency director and retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander, during the May 10 session on the cybersecurity situation.
Alexander, the first head of the U.S. Cyber Command, predicted that Ukraine would win a conventional war against Russia. But Russia, he said, has attacked on other fronts, noting there have been some 3,000 cyber-attacks on the Ukrainian government and military computer networks, as well as other targets in Europe.
With the assistance of U.S. and European companies, however, Ukraine has been able to repel the attacks and bolster its cyber defenses, Alexander said.
“This is going to be a longer fight,” he said.
Other sessions featured detailed discussions on the military situation in Ukraine (April 13) and the diplomatic and humanitarian effects of the crisis (May 24).
On April 27, during the session on the economic and financial effects of the war, several experts linked the conflict to rising inflation worldwide and the possibility of a recession within the next six to 18 months.
Holly Wade, executive director of the National Federation of Business Research Center, said her group’s 300,000 small business owners are “fairly pessimistic” about their prospects because of inflation and supply chain disruptions as the world emerged from COVID-related lockdowns.
“For most small business owners, they’ve never experienced anything like this,” Wade said. “The Ukraine war has certainly exacerbated this.”
The economic pain is being felt globally, said Katarzyna M. Zajdel-Kurowska, a former member of the Management Board of the National Bank of Poland, who detailed how Russia’s devastation of the Ukrainian economy has affected the international food supply chain and other commerce.
“The war, as well as the sanctions imposed on Russia, have significantly affect macroeconomic
developments in the neighboring countries and the global economy,” said Zajdel-Kurowska
said, the economic session’s keynote speaker.
For recaps of the sessions during Ukraine: What’s Next? visit here.
Congratulations to the newest University of South Florida graduates who received their degrees at recent commencement ceremonies!
USF awarded more than 6,400 degrees during spring commencement ceremonies, May 6-8, 2022, at the Yuengling Center on the Tampa campus.
Among the graduates at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus were Carter Bedinghaus, a marketing major who was a leader in student government and other activities while on campus; and Charlene Barnes, a nursing major who at 68 was USF’s oldest graduate this year.
“The people that I’ve met and the networking I've done was just for fun, but I was meeting all the people that have established my network and helped me beyond academics,” Bedinghaus said.
Graduates at USF Sarasota-Manatee were treated to a celebratory reception on May 4, 2022, at the Powel Crosley Estate, where they walked the green carpet and had the chance to network with alumni.
USF’s 126th Commencement Convocation ceremonies honored recipients of approximately 4,843 undergraduate, 1,295 master’s and 297 doctoral degrees.
USF’s Summer 2022 Commencement is tentatively scheduled for August 6–7, 2022.