SARASOTA, Fla. (March 29, 2019) – Guests of USF Sarasota-Manatee’s ninth HospitaBull dinner and fundraising event – the largest since the event began – enjoyed an elegant evening Tuesday at the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.
More than 300 people, including faculty, staff and members of the local hospitality industry, attended the three-hour soiree at a ballroom set up especially for the event. A learning opportunity for students from the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership (CHTL), many worked alongside staff in the kitchen and dining room.
Students met with hotel managers and Chef Yann Chupin ahead of time to devise a menu and talk about plans for serving guests. As the event unfolded, the students helped prepare food and plate the dishes, while others, working in the dining room, carried trays of appetizers, filled wine glasses and brought entrees to tables.
CHTL instructor Joe Askren, PhD, who oversaw the students, said the annual dinner represents one of many instances of how USFSM collaborates with local companies to offer practical learning experiences to students.
“We are so pleased to have our students work alongside the excellent Ritz-Carlton staff and Chef Yann. These are truly ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen,” Askren said, referring to the Ritz-Carlton motto. “HospitaBull is a wonderful event and a valuable experience for our restaurant management students to learn what happens behind the scenes to stage such a large event.”
CHTL Dean Pat Moreo, PhD, echoed those sentiments, telling guests that he’s proud of the students and how they played a part in making the event a success.
Two of those, father and son Tony and Michael Gula, came to the podium together to talk about how much they’ve learned since enrolling at the college. Also addressing the crowd were Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook and Regional Vice Chancellor Lee Williams.
Moreo surprised hospitality management student Jocelyn Riley by calling her to the stage to announce that she had been awarded the William Stover Memorial Scholarship for $2,000.
“I was stunned, because Dr. Moreo caught me off-guard,” said Riley, a senior. “Being able to attend such an event was something I never dreamed of. It was a blessing from above to receive the scholarship.”
Later, Michael Klauber hosted an auction in which several luxury items and trips, including a dinner cruise, were auctioned off to guests. Proceeds and ticket sales will benefit the college. The funds will go toward equipment purchases and student and faculty training.
“This was truly a memorable evening and an outstanding success for our students and our college,” Moreo said.