This year's communitywide Giving Challenge is set for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM gears up for Giving Challenge

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: April 30, 2018

USF Sarasota-Manatee Student Ambassadors and USF mascot Rocky will soon hit the streets as the Giving Challenge, the 24-hour fundraising campaign to support hundreds of local charities, returns Tuesday and Wednesday.

For this year’s event, Ambassadors accompanied by Rocky will fan out across the region to visit donors and rally support. Additionally, Ambassadors will set up a command post on campus to track donations and send out messages of gratitude through social media. This year’s donations will go toward scholarships.

“This is a great opportunity to show your appreciation for local students in the form of a tax-deductible donation to our campus through the USF Foundation,” USFSM Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook said. “The funds raised during this event will pay for college scholarships, and each contribution we receive has the potential to double, or grow even higher, through generous matching donations. That means that even a small contribution can make a big difference in someone’s life.”

Since 2012, Giving Challenge donors have provided more than $28 million in unrestricted funding to nonprofit organizations across Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and Desoto counties.

The last Giving Challenge in September 2016 raised more than $13.4 million for 559 local nonprofits, including USFSM – the most since the event started in 2012. The campus received $6,825 in direct contributions, but that amount jumped to $18,775 because of generous matching grants from The Patterson Foundation and the First Generation Matching Grant Program.

For the 2018 Giving Challenge, The Patterson Foundation has committed to a 1:1 match for unique donations — up to $100 per donor, per organization. On top of that, contributions designated to USFSM students who are the first in their family to attend college will be matched 2:1 by the First Generation Matching Grant Program.

That means that with matching grants from The Patterson Foundation and the First Generation Matching Grant Program, a $100 contribution can become a $600 contribution.

The Giving Challenge is presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation. Additional support comes from the Manatee Community Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, William G. and Marie Selby Foundation and the Herald-Tribune Media Group.

For more information about the 2018 Giving Challenge, visit

USF Sarasota-Manatee graduation set Monday, May 7

Bulls Notebook: USFSM gearing up for Giving Challenge

Spring Commencement 2018 is set for Monday the Bradenton Area Convention Center..

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee will celebrate its spring commencement Monday, May 7, at 6:30 p.m. at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto.

Of the 344 candidates anticipated to graduate from USFSM’s four colleges – Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, Business, Science & Mathematics, and Hospitality & Tourism Leadership – 301 are baccalaureate candidates and 43 are master’s degree candidates. Of the total, 238 are expected to participate in the exercise, including 37 master’s degree candidates.

Regional Chancellor Dr. Karen Holbrook will represent USF Sarasota-Manatee and USF System President Dr. Judy Genshaft will preside. Dr. Bonnie Jones, assistant vice president for institutional research and effectiveness at USFSM, will serve as ceremony reader.

USFSM Faculty Senate President Dr. Fawn Ngo will bear the university’s mace. Jay Riley, director of business outreach and engagement, will serve as processional announcer and Vincent Sclafani, a student at USF’s College of the Arts, will perform the National Anthem and USF Alma Mater.

Special awards will be presented to: Dr. Jessica Grosholz and Dr. Jean Kabongo (Outstanding Professors), Geborah Joseph-Smith (Outstanding Graduate), Carlos Moreira (Golden Bull Service and Outstanding Leadership Award), Deborah Vaughan (Paul Searls Webecke Award) and Constanza Lanata and Daniel Slabaugh (King O’Neal Scholars).

Arts-integrated teaching symposium set mid-May

Teachers and future teachers will benefit from an arts-integrated teaching symposium May 18-19 at USF Sarasota-Manatee.

Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton

This free conference, sponsored by the Florida Center for Partnerships for Arts-integrated Teaching (PAInT), will feature workshops to help educators create arts-integrated strategies, develop partnerships with arts organizations, design collaborative lesson plans and use arts integration to build community.

Guest speakers include A. Hasan Davis and Jeanette McCune. Davis, a motivational speaker, is the author of Written Off: How One Man’s Journey through Poverty, Disability and Delinquency is Transforming the Juvenile Justice System. McCune is the director of school and community programs at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Other speakers include Dr. Helene Robinson of USFSM; Kelli Maldonado, director of education and community engagement at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall; Karen Bell, outreach and education manager, the Circus Arts Conservatory; and Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton, coordinator of the Florida Center for Partnerships for Arts-integrated Teaching (PAInT).

The conference will be held at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

For more information or to register, visit

USFSM Regional Chancellor to discuss area’s biotech future

USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor Dr. Karen Holbrook will discuss her vision for scientific research in the region during a meeting Wednesday, May 16, of the Sarasota-Bradenton chapter of BioFlorida.

Dr. Karen Holbrook

Dr. Holbrook, who has a strong history in the life sciences, will speak at about 6:15 p.m. She is expected to discuss the future of the region’s life sciences industry as well as USFSM’s plans to develop a science and research building with teaching laboratories, research labs and classrooms. Afterward, Dr. Holbrook will answer audience members’ questions.

Jason Gaskill, the chapter’s business co-chair, will offer opening remarks. Nancy K. Bryan, president and CEO of BioFlorida, will provide closing remarks.

BioFlorida represents 6,000 establishments and research organizations in the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical technology (devices and diagnostics), health IT and bioagriculture sectors that collectively employ nearly 83,000 Floridians.

The meeting is scheduled May 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Registration is $45 for non-members, $25 for members and $15 for students.

To register, visit

For more information, visit

USFSM, Rocky thank Newk’s for support

Bulls Notebook: USFSM gearing up for Giving Challenge

Rocky entertains patrons during a visit to Newk’s Eatery last week.

A special thank you to Newk’s Eatery for supporting USFSM’s Bulls in Biz and providing sandwiches and other tasty items to events hosted by the campus’ Career Services Office.

Last week, Career Services staffers Ben Heins and Toni Ripo were joined by Jay Riley, director of business engagement and outreach, and USF mascot Rocky during a visit to the restaurant at 5405 University Pkwy. to personally express their thanks. Newk’s has supported USFSM numerous times over the past semester.

“Having Rocky and staff from USFSM visit was awesome!” Catering and Sales Manager Lindsie Walker said. “Having worked in restaurants all my life I know how important it is to contribute to the community and build strong relationships. USFSM is a great place to start.”

Said Heins, coordinator of internships and service learning, in an email to Walker: “We are beyond grateful for all you do, Lindsie, and we look forward to continuing our awesome partnership with Newk’s.”

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