Diversity Summit Highlights

USF Trustee Brian Lamb was the keynote speaker at this week’s Diversity Summit, which also featured workshops and a dance performance.



By Barbara Melendez

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (April 10, 2013) – As USF Trustee and USF Alum Brian Lamb observed during his keynote address at the 10th Annual Diversity Summit, the diversity in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom spoke volumes about the University of South Floria.


Lamb, who serves as president and CEO of Fifth Third Bank Tampa Bay, said, “What unstoppable means to me is that we don’t want to be good, we want to be great and we won’t be able to do that without making diversity a part of what we’re doing.  Be very proud that you have a good name around diversity. Protect it.”


Throughout the Diversity Summit’s events – a breakfast welcome, two sets of workshops, the luncheon that featured Lamb’s speech, the screening of a video on bullying, a diversity expo, a panel that showed the diverse faces of success and finally an awards ceremony – one message came through loud and clear: diversity matters at USF.  At its height, the crowd swelled to 250. For highlights, see the slide show above.


“The theme, ‘Paths to Success: Student Growth, Innovations and Solutions,’ was inspired by President Genshaft’s Fall Address which touched on diversity’s role as part of the university’s strategic plan,” said Patsy Feliciano, director of Diversity and Inclusion.  She added, “I think just about everyone on today’s program has underscored the point that individually and collectively, embracing diversity is key to success in a world that is changing every day.”

Associate Vice President, Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity , Ted Williams, along with Trustee and Student Body President William Warmke, welcomed the crowd that filled the ballroom. Then USF President Judy Genshaft set the tone for the day’s events at the by emphasizing the importance of creating an inclusive and welcoming atmosphere on campus.

The workshops and presentations followed. More than 37 panelists, including USF faculty, staff, students, corporate partners and community leaders took part in discussions that touched on many of the areas of life where diversity plays a role.


“Ad Astra,” a dance piece choreographed by USF School of Dance faculty member Paula Nuñez was performed by USF dancers during the luncheon.  Attendees then explored the Diversity Expo featuring representatives from colleges, university departments, USF’s Presidential Advisory Committees, student organizations and community partners.

Another highlight of the day was the video screening and brief discussion on bullying, “Bully Dance: Bullying. End of Violence. Stand up for What’s Right.” USF Dance faculty and producer Andrew Carroll described some of the challenges he faced and the growing positive reception. With him were featured dancers who played the bullies, seniors Nicole Diaz, Brittany Williams, Sean McDonald and junior Jenne-Elise Galluzzi who talked about what it meant to them to be part of the project.

Reflecting both the broader society and the USF community, 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellow Cameron Ainsworth; Executive Director of the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) Karen Berkman; 2011 Gilman Scholar Farah Britto; College of Pharmacy Dean Kevin B. Sneed, and 2013-14 Trustee and Student Body President William Warmke comprised the diverse “Faces of Success” segment of the program.  They shared inspiring stories about their individual paths to success. Hard work, the need to focus on a career you love and the decision to never give up were the themes.

A CAFÉ Reception and the annual diversity awards concluded the program.  Faculty, staff, students and community who made contributions to promoting diversity were presented with certificates of appreciation. 

The day’s sponsors included Nielsen, BMO Harris Bank, the Office of Diversity & Equal Opportunity, USFINTO, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, the Status of Latinos Presidential Advisory Committee, the USF Latin Community Advisory Committee, ENLACE and Sabroso Restaurant. 

Diversity Award Recipients

Professor Madeline Camara, World Languages

The Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD)

Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement’s Step up: Male Leadership Development Program

Patricia Lakey, Coordinator, USF Sarasota-Manatee Disability Services

Assistant Director and Graduate Advisor Paula Lezama, Institute for the Study of Latin American and the Caribbean (ISLAC)

Merry Lynn Morris, instructor, School of Theatre and Dance

Assistant Director, Graduate Student Services Gary Oliver, Graduate School

Project Latino Style

Assistant Professor Guitele Rahill, School of Social Work

Amy Rettig, Vice President, Public Affairs (Nielsen)

Jose Valiente, CliftonLarsonAllen

Robert West, Assistant Vice President, BMO Harris Bank


Barbara Melendez can be reached at 813-974-4563.