More than 500 members of the Tampa Bay area business and military communities recently filled TPepin’s Hospitality Centre in Tampa for the 18th annual Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Military Appreciation Banquet on Wednesday, February 24. Fifteen men and women and one business were honored for their contributions to the Tampa Bay community and service to the nation. Vincent Jackson, wide receiver with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, was the keynote speaker and Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn offered remarks.
Saint Leo University was named the Business Partner of the Year while Lt. Col. Christopher Carmichael was named the U.S. Central Command Officer of the Year. Carmichael has served as an adjunct professor in logistics management at Saint Leo University’s North Charleston Education Center in South Carolina.
The university was recognized as “an active supporter of the Greater Tampa Chamber’s military programs and military causes across the Tampa Bay area. Saint Leo is among the nation’s most military friendly colleges, with 17 education centers on bases.”
Saint Leo has a more than 40-year history of educating military members, veterans, ROTC, and their families. The university started working with military students in 1973, when it began offering classes at the Avon Park Bombing Range in Florida. Now, more than 5,000 service members/veterans are enrolled in Saint Leo’s degree programs, which represents 30 percent of the university’s student population. Last fall, Saint Leo again was designated a 2016 Military Friendly® School by Victory Media.
Accepting the award was Dr. William Lennox Jr., university president and retired U.S. Army lieutenant general. He is the former superintendent of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY.
Saint Leo adjunct professor Carmichael is a distribution staff officer at U.S. Central Command. He is an expert in logistics and led the team that wrote the USCENTCOM Theatre Distribution Plan.
He was named Air Force Logistics Field Grade Officer of the Year after he commanded 178 airmen at three bases and conducted 14,000 missions in Afghanistan. In addition to teaching at Saint Leo, he volunteers for the Wharton High School Junior ROTC in New Tampa.
Saint Leo University’s representatives at the banquet at the TPepin’s Hospitality Centre, in addition to Dr. Lennox and Lt. Col. Carmichael, included Kenny Gonzalez, director of the Tampa Education Center and 2016 Military Council Committee chair of support and recognition; Thomas Williams, assistant director of the MacDill Education Office; Alena White, director of the Lakeland Education Center; Brooke Paquette, assistant director of the Adult Education Center at University Campus; and Louis Reyna, test administrator at the MacDill Education Office. Joining them was Saint Leo Tampa student Master Chief Petty Officer Nathaniel Karlan; Anne Lennox, Dr. Lennox’s wife; and Ally Slate, guest of Lt. Col. Carmichael.
Alumnus Joe Durkin, (Class of 2006, Tampa-MacDill), spoke on behalf of the presenting sponsor, Bright House Networks.