The annual Florida Creativity Conference unites business, education, arts, health and philanthropy.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM to welcome hospitality conference

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: February 26, 2019

Bulls Notebook: Brunch on the Bay a celebration of givingUSF Sarasota-Manatee on Friday will welcome dozens of professors and graduate students from the United States, Central America and South America as part of the Southeast, Central and South American Federation (SECSA) conference of the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant & Institutional Education (ICHRIE).

About 70 professors and students, including several from USFSM, are anticipated. The two-day hospitality and tourism conference officially kicks off Friday morning at the campus’ Selby Auditorium. Dr. Joe Askren will hold a beer tasting reception on the café patio from 5:30 to 6:30 on the eve of the reception.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM students to present research at conference

Dr. Faizan Ali

Conference Chair Dr. Faizan Ali, an assistant professor at USFSM and director of research at SECSA, helped organize the conference over the past three months and said it offers the perfect setting for an exchange of ideas.

“Because it is a smaller conference with a number of highly respected faculty and graduate students, we have the ideal opportunity to talk with each other in a congenial setting and collaborate on research projects across multiple facets of hospitality and tourism,” he said. “The general content areas include general consumer behavior, hospitality education, leadership and employee behavior and applications of information technology.”

Several of the speakers come from USFSM’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership (CHTL). Leading off the conference, visiting USFSM professor Dr. Fred DeMicco will present a talk with co-presenter cardiologist Dr. Adel Eldin of Wesley Chapel entitled, “Florida Medical Tourism (FMT): A Strategic & Innovative Model for Health and Wellness.”

A booming industry, medical tourism is expected to grow 20 percent per year through 2025, reaching 60 million people and a market value of $260 billion, says Dr. DeMicco, who teaches a technology class called Hospitality Information Management. Given Florida’s robust tourism-related amenities and medical facilities, he says, the state is well-positioned to capitalize on this growth industry.

“Because of the great hospitality and tourism that already exists in Florida, and with the expansion of medical needs, particularly with the change in demographics, Florida can be in a position to be a leading worldwide destination for medical tourism and travel and wellness,” said Dr. DeMicco.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM commemorates Pearl Harbor anniversary

Dr. Patrick Moreo

Among the other USFSM presenters are: Dr. Ali; Dr. Pat Moreo, dean of the CHTL; Dr. Cihan Cobanoglu; Dr. Joe Askren; Adam Carmer; Keith Barron and Dr. Katerina Berezina, a former assistant professor at USFSM. Graduate students Luana Nanu, Michelle Russen, Yuan Zhou and alumna Frida Bahja, will present as well.

Dr. Ali said the conference will cover a range of topics from “The Living Room Concept in the Hotel Lobby” to “Women in Leadership: Rising to the Top in a #MeToo World.” Thirty-five papers will be presented.

In addition, a panel of local tourism experts will discuss tourism on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The speakers include: Elliot Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau; Rick Piccolo, CEO of Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport; John Horne, owner of the Anna Maria Oyster Bar Restaurants; Jeff Mayers, general manager of the Resort at Longboat Key Club; Katie Moulton, CEO of Cayuga Hospitality Consultants and Julie Corlew, vice president of Mainsail Hotels.

For more visit,

Duvall conference addresses opioids epidemic

Bulls Notebook: USFSM to welcome hospitality conference

Carol Kruse and Janet Baker listen as Leah Hill addresses a conference of the Duvall Family Studies Initiative.

More than three dozen individuals from human services agencies, healthcare fields and other community programs gathered at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee on Saturday to discuss a challenge of national scale with serious effects here in the region – how to address and reverse the opioids crisis.

Speakers included law enforcement officials, health professionals and advocates, among them Leah Hill, who shared an emotional, harrowing personal story of how her mother’s addiction touched her childhood.

“Her addiction took away everything,” said Hill, a behavioral health advocate who has served on the U.S. Surgeon General’s panel on opioids.

Her mother had suffered from addiction earlier in life and relapsed after an automobile accident that caused injuries for which she was prescribed painkillers. Hill wasn’t aware of her mother’s history at the time, contributing to a sense of betrayal not uncommon among loved ones.

“How could she choose herself and not me?” Hill recalled asking.

Other speakers addressed mental health funding challenges, the availability of treatment and the shift by law enforcement personnel to roles more akin to providing counseling and medical attention than making arrests.

The conference, sponsored by the Duvall Family Studies Initiative, is among a series of events USFSM has hosted or will host in an effort to facilitate community awareness and involvement in important topics.

USFSM hosted “Adapting to a Changing Climate: Challenges & Opportunities” in January and will host a conference on “Financial Markets and the Economy”  on April 11 at Selby Auditorium.

View highlights from the conference here.

View a full video recap of Saturday’s conference here.

Learn about USFSM master’s in education degree programs

Professionals and recent graduates are invited to learn about USF Sarasota-Manatee master’s in education programs on Thursday, Feb. 28, during two online information sessions designed to accommodate working professions: from noon to 12:45 p.m. and from 5:15 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Learn about degrees in educational leadership, English education, elementary education and education-general (online teaching and learning).

Prospective graduate students can talk with USFSM professors and admissions counselors. To attend, visit

‘HospitaBull’ set March 26 at Ritz-Carlton Sarasota

HospitaBull set March 26 at Ritz-Carlton, SarasotaThis year’s HospitaBull, USF Sarasota-Manatee’s annual dinner for the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, is set for 6 p.m., March 26, at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive. Proceeds support student and faculty development. Visit for individual tickets and table sponsorships.

‘Financial Markets and the Economy’ conference set April 11

Cumberland Advisors and the USF Sarasota-Manatee are hosting Financial Literacy Day on April 11.

Tickets are available for Cumberland Advisors’ Financial Markets and the Economy: Financial Literacy Day III scheduled April 11 at USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Selby Auditorium.

The daylong conference includes a discussion about the stock market and global economic outlook, a session on economics and geopolitics, and a special panel on health, hunger and philanthropy.

Wall Street Journal senior writer Gretchen Morgenson will deliver the keynote address. Susan Harper, Canada’s consul general from Miami, will be interviewed.

Tickets are $50 (includes lunch). Visit

SAT, ACT preparatory classes forming

High school juniors preparing for college entrance exams can sign up for the SAT and ACT Workshop Series starting in March at USF Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

The four-day series demystifies the exams by covering each segment of the two tests and focusing on overall strategies and specific questions. Students planning to take either exam will benefit, as many strategies are common to both.

The classes run Saturday, March 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Tuesday, March 5, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday, March 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Tuesday, March 12, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The prep course is open to no more than 25 registered high school students. The cost is $65 plus the cost of two books required for the course. Visit to sign up for the workshop series.

For additional information or to be added to our mailing list for future dates, please email or call 941-359-4331.

Allison Dinsmore wins Outstanding Staff Award

Bulls Notebook: USFSM to welcome hospitality conference

Dr. Brett Kemker, Dr. Karen Holbrook and Allison Dinsmore

Congratulations to Allison Dinsmore for winning the USFSM Outstanding Staff Award. USFSM Regional Chancellor Dr. Karen Holbrook distributed the following note last Thursday:

It is with great pleasure that I announce this year’s USF Sarasota-Manatee Outstanding Staff Award winner. Please join me in congratulating Allison Dinsmore from Student Services.  

Allison plays an important role in our Student Success department and her commitment to students and her positive attitude have not gone unnoticed. Comments from her nomination include:

  • USFSM and the greater USF System are the direct beneficiaries of her efforts with a consistent “student first” attitude.
  • She demonstrated excellent leadership and commitment to advancing Student Success for all USF students.
  • She has stepped up to make sure the students did not get lost in the shuffle.
  • She is truly an asset to this campus who deserves to be recognized.

USF Sarasota-Manatee Student Government officers elected

USF Sarasota-Manatee congratulates the incoming slate of Student Government officers! After weeks of campaigning, the results are in. The 2019-2020 Student Government Officers will be:

President: Isabelle Starner

Vice President: Kayla Collins


  • Luz Olguin
  • Emily Sardzinski
  • Carter Bedinghaus
  • Jenny Serafino
  • Natasha Lewicki
  • Hannah Dornas
  • Scarleth Andino
  • DJ Kurtz
  • Brock Bradley
  • Natalie Monfils

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