SARASOTA, Fla. (March 03, 2017) Virginia Haley of Visit Sarasota County received special recognition and dozens of supporters of USF Sarasota-Manatee enjoyed a sumptuous dinner as the campus held its sixth annual “HospitaBull” dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota on Thursday night.
Like previous HospitaBull events, the evening’s entire meal was organized, prepared and served by USFSM students with help from faculty and the venue’s professional staff.
More than 140 people attended the three-hour affair. Diners, including many stalwarts of the hospitality industry, were treated to an elegant array, starting with a salad tossed in strawberry-rhubarb dressing, followed by a course of seared chicken breast with wild mushroom risotto and a dessert of espresso chocolate mousse with dark ganache.
Chef Yann Chupin, executive chef of the Ritz-Carlton, worked with USFSM chefs Joe Askren and Garry Colpitts in overseeing the dinner’s planning and preparation.
Created in the spring of 2011, HospitaBull was organized to serve as a learning experience for hospitality management students and as a thank-you to the many supporters of USFSM’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership.
In addition to the dinner and remarks by USFSM faculty and Chef Chupin, an auction was held, raising more than $30,000 for the college. John Horne, owner of Anna Maria Oyster Bar, served as auctioneer.
Proceeds will go toward students and initiatives within the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership. “We are so grateful to all of you,” Dr. Pat Moreo, dean of the college, told the attendees.
The evening’s other main highlight was the awarding of the Hospitality Leadership Award.
This award is presented to individuals who have shown particular dedication to the interests of USFSM’s College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership through their contributions to the hospitality and tourism industries. Awardees have demonstrated exemplary leadership abilities, acting as role models or mentors, and enabling others to succeed and advance in the hospitality field.
The first Hospitality Leadership Award in 2012-2013 went to John McKibbon, chairman of the McKibbon Hotel Group.
This year’s winner was Virginia Haley, president of Visit Sarasota County.
“It has been an honor for me to have the opportunity to work with the students at the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, whether it is having them as interns here at Visit Sarasota County, being a guest speaker in class or working with a student on a research project,” Haley said after the event. “Watching these students grow and develop is a source of deep satisfaction for me.”
She said the college has enjoyed a lasting relationship not only with Visit Sarasota County but also with local hotels and restaurants.
“The outstanding faculty and leadership of the college have raised the bar for the tourism industry in our region,” she said. “They have provided tremendous insights and leadership on the challenges we face. The students have filled many workforce needs in the region. It is with great pride to see former students in professional tourism settings and performing at a high level in different positions here in Sarasota.”
For more information about the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, please visit, usfsm.edu/chtl.
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.