The annual Brunch on the Bay is a time for major announcements.
It’s also a time when supporters of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee who attend “Brunch,” the school’s signature fundraiser each autumn, get to savor mouth-watering creations from area chefs and often hear from students about how money raised for scholarships has helped them.
The roughly 800 who attended the 2017 Brunch on the school campus Sunday got rewarded with all three — two major announcements, unending food and a student testimony that received a standing ovation.
Supporters learned that USF Sarasota-Manatee is proposing a $35 million undergraduate science and research building, complete with biology and chemistry laboratories.
Also, USF System President Judy Genshaft, while introducing the Brunch crowd to Victoria Rich, the dean of the College of Nursing at USF in Tampa, announced that USF Sarasota-Manatee and USF’s main campus in Tampa are working out the details to bring a four-year nursing degree program to USF Sarasota-Manatee where none now exists.
The whole idea, said Genshaft, stems from the large need in the Manatee and Sarasota community for more nurses with baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees.
No date for groundbreaking of the Science and Research Building has been set, but two to three years would seem a reasonable estimate, said Bradenton accountant Byron Shinn, a USF Sarasota-Manatee trustee.
Right now, USF Sarasota-Manatee has one 11-year-old building on its campus in southern Manatee County, and that building doesn’t have any science labs.
USF Sarasota-Manatee student Jaime Hernandez Carranza received a standing ovation when he told the Brunch crowd that his remarkable story — which includes being born in Mexico, attending State College of Florida, set to graduate from USF Sarasota-Manatee next month and a dream to go on to medical school at USF in Tampa — stayed in forward motion because of Brunch scholarships that enabled him to stay in school.
Hernandez Carranza said that one day he wants to do the same thing that the Brunch guests did for him so others can reach their dreams.
Mote Marine stepped up
Lacking science and chemistry labs, USF Sarasota-Manatee has been fortunate to be able to forge a partnership with Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium on City Island in Sarasota which has allowed the school to use its facilities for biology and chemistry classes, Terry Osborn, interim regional chancellor for USF Sarasota-Manatee, said during Brunch.
A large artist’s rendering of the proposed Science and Research Building was draped on a fence near the Brunch grounds Sunday, behind which was the actual land where the 75,000-square-foot and four-story-tall proposed edifice would be erected.
“Obviously, we would need to raise as much as we can so I don’t want to put a limit on how much we need, but I would think in the neighborhood of $10 million,” Osborn said.
Besides chemistry and biology laboratories, the proposed Science and Research Building will have a large auditorium and will house the College of Science and Mathematics and the College of Business, Osborn said.
Shinn, who graduated from USF in accounting in 1979 before the current campus on what was once Crosley Estate land was built, on Sunday said that Brunch on the Bay was the perfect place to announce the new building.
“Brunch on the Bay is our annual party with the community,” Shinn said. “It’s just a fun time for higher education and a great time to announce exciting issues. Last year, we announced woman’s rowing, which is now about to hire a coach and get some real traction.
“This building needs to get going because we are flat out of space and the student demand is exceeding our facilities,” Shinn said. “We have exceeded our five-year growth plan. We got there in two or two and a half years. The excitement about being associated with Mote has been awesome but, quite candidly, I don’t think the city of Sarasota wants us to park anymore people on City Island. We are exceeding the parking so we really have to do something and do it fairly quickly.”