Welcoming New Faculty

TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 19, 2009) For the sixth consecutive year, new faculty members joining USF in the upcoming fall semester received a warm and informative welcome to the Tampa Bay community courtesy of USF Town & Gown. Thirty-six of the 167 incoming faculty joined members of the Town & Gown on Monday, Aug. 10 for a morning-long tour of Tampa followed by lunch at Ybor City’s historic Columbia Restaurant.

“The tour of Tampa and luncheon introduce our new USF faculty to the Tampa Bay area and ease their transition into our community,” said Town & Gown President Orie Byars. “This is a wonderful opportunity for new faculty to meet their peers and a few community members and help form new and lasting friendships.”

The welcome event was co-sponsored by the Office of the Provost, the Office of Diversity & Equal Opportunity, Bulls Country and the Columbia Restaurant. Thirteen Town & Gown members attended the luncheon: Patty Bohannan, Orie Byars, Laura Frost, Cynthia Gandee, Heidi Howell Land, Lee Leavengood, Janet Odioso, Mimi Osiason, Maude Pallardy, Barbara Reeves, Mary Kay Ross, Sandra Tuttle and Patsy Woodroffe. Long-time Tampa residents, active community members, and invaluable resources about living in the area, they served as table hosts answering faculty questions and sharing insight into the region’s numerous cultural, recreational and sports offerings.

Richard Gonzmart, president of the Columbia Restaurant, welcomed the faculty during the luncheon. “For five years, Mr. Gonzmart’s restaurant and the greetings and family stories he has provided as a fourth generation family member have added a great sense of history to our event,” said event coordinator Shari Martinez. “We could not ask for a better partner in welcoming the new USF faculty the Tampa Bay area and providing a ‘taste’ of what great things this town has to offer.”

Kari Goetz, audience development manager with the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center spoke, as well, during the luncheon. Highlights of the city tour included: H.B. Plant Museum, Ybor City Museum State Park, Raymond James Stadium, George M. Steinbrenner Field, Channelside District, Old Hyde Park, scenic and historic Bayshore Boulevard and downtown Tampa buildings.

With 105 members, Town & Gown was founded in 1977 in an effort to bridge the gap between the community and the work of the University of South Florida and its faculty. Today, Town & Gown members act as USF ambassadors, promoting understanding and friendship between the university and the Tampa Bay Community, in addition to honoring exceptional academic departments, faculty and students.

“It was a great day of networking, a delightful lunch, and a highly informative tour and getting-acquainted opportunity,” said Gina Maria Musolino, incoming associate professor & coordinator clinical education in USF Health’s School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences. “The Town & Gown reception was a very special touch and certainly added much local flare. I truly appreciate everyone going the extra mile to welcome us ‘newbies’ into the USF community.”