The USF Sarasota-Manatee campus School of Hospitality and Tourism Management welcomed the return of its annual HospitaBull elegant evening, held at the Ritz Carlton on March 22.
After a two-year hiatus, more than 250 guests, sponsors, faculty, staff and students — as well as the university’s new president, Rhea Law — enjoyed a sumptuous dinner prepared and presented in partnership by students from USF’s hospitality program and the Ritz-Carlton culinary staff.
“HospitaBull is special because it was created by students in 2012,” hospitality school Interim Dean Cihan Cobanoglu said. “Since then, it has served not only as an amazing opportunity for our students to gain real-world experience, but also as a significant source of scholarships and other funds for our school.”
Attendees also engaged in a spirited paddle-raise and live auction led by John Horne, owner and president of the Anna Maria Oyster Bar and Cafe L’Europe and a member of the school’s advisory board.
The prizes included a series of unique experiences, including a brewing session with chef and instructor Professor Joe Askren, a cooking demonstration with chef instructor Angad Singh, a whiskey tasting with Assistant Professor Adam Carmer, a VIP dean’s dinner and, finally, “an elegant evening as a maharaja and maharani,” courtesy of the Jain family.
Marrie Neumer, associate vice president of University Advancement, said, “We wanted our guests to receive unique, personal experiences that they’ll cherish for a long time while also enabling them to learn more about USF and our talented faculty.”
The event raised a record-setting $110,000 for scholarship and program support. Askren said many who came to support USF hadn’t seen each other since early 2020, so the event offered attendees a chance to rekindle old friendships.
“It was wonderful to reconnect with all of our industry leaders,” he said. “The energy in the ballroom from the very first minute was incredible. It was clear they couldn’t wait to reconnect.”
“Hospitality and tourism are leading industries in Florida, so having a strong program at USF is critical to our state,” Askren said. “I believe the community realizes this, which is why they support our hospitality program.”
We are grateful to the following sponsors:
- Harry Leopold and Audrey Robbins
- Anna Maria Oyster Bar
- Angie Brewer & Associates, Inc.
- Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) — Suncoast Chapter
- Karen and Jim Holbrook
- Brett and Denise Kemker
- Donna and David Koffman
- Mainsail Lodging and Development
- Metz Culinary Management
- O’Brick’s Irish Pub & Martini Bar
- The Resort at Longboat Key Club
- The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota
- VeraCruz Advisory, LLC
- The Westin Sarasota
- Carr, Riggs & Ingram CPAs and Advisors
- Sylint Group Inc.