SARASOTA, Fla. (Dec. 09, 2016) Clad in dark blue pants, shirts and ball caps, the color guard paused and saluted as the 200 onlookers fell silent. Carrying flags representing the United States, Florida and MIA/POW soldiers, the group marched solemnly through the courtyard as the crowd remained transfixed.
Home to more than 130 veterans, USF Sarasota-Manatee welcomed dozens more, along with their families, on Wednesday as it teamed up with Sarasota law firm The Law Place to recognize the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The two-hour afternoon event featured a World War II-era Jeep, a troop transport truck and an engine from a B-17 bomber plane. After the color guard salute, a brief invocation and welcoming remarks by USFSM Regional Chancellor Dr. Sandra Stone, veterans and their families were free to enjoy hamburgers, hot dogs and drinks.
But the event included serious and poignant moments as well, such as when keynote speaker Ret. Col. Linda Gould (Army) reminded the audience of the sacrifices of so many veterans, especially those of World War II, which claimed more than 405,000 Americans, including those aboard the USS Arizona stationed in Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. All these years later, fewer and fewer WWII veterans remain with us, she said.
Col. Gould, a longtime supporter of veterans’ causes, worked with The Patterson Foundation to build Patriot Plaza, a 2,800-seat ceremonial amphitheater at Sarasota National Cemetery.
As she spoke, four veterans who served during World War II, now in their 90s, sat amidst the crowd, including Ret. Navy Capt. Robert O’Neill, who was present during the Pearl Harbor attack and attended Wednesday’s commemoration wearing his “dress whites” captain’s uniform.
The significance of the ceremony wasn’t lost on USFSM Veteran Services Administrator Todd Hughes, an Army veteran.
“It was important for us to be a part of this event to remember the sacrifices of those who went before us and to understand that we stand on their shoulders,” he said.
Along with USFSM, The Law Place served as the event’s main sponsor. Radio personality Maverick Johnson of 92.1 WCTQ, founder and president of the Denis V. Cooper Foundation – Wishes for Heroes, served as master of ceremonies.
Also sponsoring the event: attorney David Haenel of The Law Place, Lair Services Inc., David Taylor Photography, Windy City Apparel, accounting firm Mauldin & Jenkins and Gold Coast Eagle Distributing.
The Bistro is back
The Bulls Bistro is returning.
The popular dining experience, which concluded a successful run this past fall, will return with new dining events for the spring semester at the Culinary Innovation Lab in Lakewood Ranch.
The dinners, which typically feature wine, craft beers and an eclectic selection of tapas-style dishes, were the creation of Dr. Pat Moreo, dean of USFSM’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership.
Dr. Moreo originated the events to reach out to Sarasota-Manatee’s restaurant culture while providing hands-on training to hospitality students. Admission was by online ticket and the events sold out quickly as word spread about the creative food-and-beverage pairings.
As in the fall, the spring events will be held Thursdays from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The first bistro is scheduled Jan. 19. Successive events will be held on Feb. 7 and 16, March 9 and 23, and April 6 and 20.
The Culinary Innovation Lab is located at 8130 Main St. in Lakewood Ranch. Tickets to the spring bistros are $25 each and available at usfsm.edu/bistro.
Construction to expand the Central Energy Plant in North Parking Lot No. 2 at USFSM’s campus will begin during the holiday break and last through August.
The 6,300-square-foot project will create an Emergency Operations Center and new offices for the relocation of Facilities Planning & Management team. It will also create more storage space.
North Lot No. 2 will be closed to university parking and traffic during the project. The construction site will be fenced for safety and security, however access to the science labs and modular office building will not be restricted.
About USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM)
USF Sarasota-Manatee is a regional campus of the University of South Florida system, offering the prestige of a nationally ranked research university with the convenience of a hometown location, including classes in Manatee County, Venice and online. Separately accredited, USFSM is ideal for those interested in pursuing a baccalaureate or master’s degree, professional certification, or continuing education credit in a small, personal setting with distinguished faculty and a dynamic curriculum of over 40 academic programs. Website: www.usfsm.edu.