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College of Arts & Sciences
Maintained by A. Fairbanks
News & Events
The Florida Studies Program is intended to be more than just a classroom experience for graduate students at USF St. Petersburg. Many courses include field components that truly bring the subjects of study to life. Faculty, fellows, alumni and students also strive to engage in public scholarship — to share the fruits of their labors with a broader audience, locally and beyond. Unless otherwise indicated, all events are free and open to the public.
Please bookmark this page and visit often to learn how you can take part in this endeavor with us. You can also join the conversation on on our Facebook page.
If you are interested in getting additional information and updates about the Florida Studies Program please fill out our brief form.
At 6:30 on 18 April, the Florida Studies Program presents a conversation with Peter Hubbell and Sonny Vergara, both former executive directors of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. The program will feature a conversation moderated by Florida Studies Program Director Chris Meindl about the past, present and future management of Florida's water resources. The program is free and open to the public; refreshments will be served. Parking adjacent to Harbor Hall, the former Dali museum, (1000 3rd street south) is free. The program will take place in the Harbor Hall Community Room. For additional directions and maps consult: http://www.usfsp.edu/visit.
At 6:30 P.M. on Wednesday 27 February Bill Belleville, the author of River of Lakes: A Journey on Florida's St. John's River; Salvaging the Real Florida: Lost in the State of Dreams; and Losing It All to Sprawl: How Progress Ate My Cracker Landscape will be speaking after a showing of Waters Journey: The River Returns. Refreshments will be provided at event taking place in Harbor Hall, site of the former Dali museum, at 1000 3rd Street South; parking will be available across the street in lot 11. For more information please look at the event flyer.
On 5 October, the Florida Studies community came together to celebrate Dr. Gary Mormino and his retirement. Surrounded by family, friends, colleagues, and students ranging from his first graduate student to those who still are under his wing, Mormino shared in commemorating his thirty plus years in academia. Speeches given by Dr. Meindl, Dr. Arsenault, Former Mayor of Tampa Pam Iorio, a representative of Congresswoman Cathy Castor, Jon Tallon, and Gary’s wife Lynne Mormino applauded his accomplishments. Kristy Anderson shared with the crowd a short film that included interviews with several of his associates as well as various photographs from Mormino’s past. Guests relished the opportunity to chat with Dr. Mormino and offer him well wishes for future endeavors. Although Dr. Mormino is officially retired, he will now have more time to write, and most observers believe he will continue to be involved in future Florida Studies activities.
See Jeff Klinkenberg’s story about Gary Mormino that originally appeared in the 7 October Floridian Section of the Tampa Bay Times.
Carlton Ward Jr., nature photographer, gave a free presentation about his travels with the Florida Wildlife Corridor Exploration on 12 September. The FWCE was a 1,000 mile hike and canoe paddle from the Southern part of Florida to the Georgia state line that took place over 100 days and concluded in April. The event was held in the Harbor Hall Gallery from 6 to 8:30 PM with food provided before the presentation beginning at 6:30 followed by a question and answer period as well as a book signing of Ward's 2009 book Florida Cowboys. This event is co-sponsored by the Center for Science and Policy Environments (C-Space), the Division of External Affairs, and the Florida Humanities Council.
Professor Chris Meindl quoted in a Gainesville Sun article about water issues in Florida on 10 June. The low water levels of lakes, rivers, and springs in Northern Florida have caused concern as of late to not only those who live there, but also others from around the State who value these resources.
Dr. Ray Arsenault joined the Freedom Riders documentary team at the Peabody Awards, which were presented at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. Freedom Riders was one of three American Experience documentaries that were honored during the award ceremony. The documentary, based on Arsenault's 2006 book Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice, was one of 38 recipients of the prestigious award.
Cynthia Mott, a recent Florida Studies graduate, was presented the Governor LeRoy Collins Award on May 24th. Mott examined the Hanson Family Archives that included thousands of photographs dating from 1895-1945 in Southwest Florida. Cynthia is the third consecutive year that the award has gone to a USFSP Florida Studies student. Click here for more information. Click here for Mott's Research.
Dr. Michael Francis, the most recent addition to the Florida Studies Program, was profiled by the Tampa Bay Times this past Sunday. Dr. Francis' area of expertise is Spanish Colonial Florida. Is the State of Florida part of the South or the Caribbean & Latin America, neither or both?
On May 6th a record number of students graduated with Master of Liberal Arts Degree in Florida Studies. Graduation was held at the Mahaffey Theatre.
Thanks to the generosity of the Hough family, a new faculty position has been created and filled. Michael Francis, presently professor and chairman of the History Department at the University of North Florida is coming to USFSP as the Hough Family Endowed Chair in Florida Studies. Click here for the official May 3 press release.
Also noted in the above press release: Gary Mormino is now Professor Emeritus.
Gary Mormino (pictured here with Congresswoman Corrine Brown) received the 2012 Distinguished Author Award from the Florida House Foundation in Washington, D.C., April 17. Past winners include Clyde Butcher and Marjorie Stoneman Douglass, among others.
Accolades for Freedom Riders continue. As reported by the Tampa Bay Times on April 12, "Freedom Riders, the PBS documentary based on a landmark book by University of South Florida St. Petersburg Professor Ray Arsenault, was among three films credited for winning the American Experience series a George Foster Peabody Award -- one of the most prestigious honors in electronic media."
Florida Studies, with support from C-SPACE, hosted a free public forum entitled "Water in Florida: Environmental Humanities Meet Public Policy" at USFSP's Harbor Hall on March 30. Former Tampa mayor and Florida governor Bob Martinez gave the keynote, preceded by St. Petersburg Poet Laureate Peter Meinke's invocation, and followed by a panel discussion with Cynthia Barnett, Bill Belleville, Jack Davis, John Moran, Peter Meinke, Steven Noll, Tom Swihart, and Margaret Ross Tolbert, moderated by Florida Studies director Chris Meindl. The event was recorded by Andy Huse of USF Tampa Library's Special Collections. Stay tuned for clips and other material to be posted on the website www.usfsp.edu/floridawater.
The presentation can be seen here:
Andrew Frank, professor of history at Florida State University, lectured at USFSP's Poynter Library March 9. His presentation, "'Modern by Tradition': Innovations within Seminole Material Culture," was part of an interview for the Frank E. Duckwall Professorship at USFSP. Dr. Frank is one of three candidates interviewing for this position housed in the Department of History and Politics, but also expected to contribute to the Florida Studies Program.
Frequent Florida Studies contributor Bill Belleville was involved in the grand opening of Archie Carr's cabin, recently renovated, in the Ocala National Forest on March 17. The image at right is an oil painting of the cabin (prior to renovation) by Eleanor Blair. Check out a short film produced by Belleville and Bob Giguere at the cabin and the Carr family.
Jack E. Davis, professor of history at the University of Florida, presents "The Pelican Beef" as part of an interview for the Frank E. Duckwall Professorship, at USFSP's Poynter Library on March 2. Dr. Davis is one of three candidates interviewing for this position housed in the Department of History and Politics, but also expected to contribute to the Florida Studies Program.
The First Friday Florida Film Series, currated by Tom Hallock and Jon Tallon, screened the 1948 classic "Key Largo" at Harbor Hall on March 2.
Dr. Harold Wanless, a University of Miami geoscientist, discusses sea level rise in Florida. Thanks to the USFSP Center for Science and Policy Applications for the Coastal Environment (C-SPACE) for sponsoring this presentation on March 1.
Chris Meindl participates in a panel discussion titled, "The Writers Speak: Can Water Books Make a Difference in the Smart Phone Era?" 24 February, at the Public Interest Environmental Conference hosted by the University of Florida's Levin College of Law. The session was moderated by Cynthia Barnett, and included Jack E. Davis and Tom Swihart -- all of whom will participate in USFSP's upcoming public forum, "Water in Florida: Environmental Humanities Meet Public Policy" on March 30.
J. Michael Francis, Professor and Chair of the Department of History at the University of North Florida, interviews for the Frank E. Duckwall Professorship at USFSP, 16 February. His public lecture focused on the interactions of Spanish explorers and native populations in 16th century Florida. Dr. Francis is one of three candidates interviewing for this position housed in the Department of History and Politics, but will also expected to contribute to the Florida Studies Program.
Gary Mormino recently spoke in Tallahasee about the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de Leon's discovery of La Florida. This February 29 article at visitflorida.com sums up his comments.
Cynthia Barnett presents The Case for a Water Ethic, 9 February 2012. Longtime Florida journalist and author of two books about water issues, including the recently acclaimed Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis (Beacon Press, 2011) is part of a public lecture series co-sponsored by C-SPACE and the Florida Studies Program.
Ray Arsenault presents "Freedom Riders, Lost and Found: History Lessons for a New Generation," as a public forum at 4pm in Eckerd College's Fox Hall. In addition to being a professor at USFSP, Arsenault also serves as a Fellow of the Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College (ASPEC), 8 February 2012.
Seth McKee discusses "Why Mitt Romney Won in Florida" with WUSF's Craig Kopp, 31 January 2012.
Gary Mormino's "Apocalypse Florida" article is cited in the New York Times' politics and government blog, The Caucus, 31 January 2012. The post includes a collection of "must-reads" about Florida's political idiosyncracies recommended by USF political scientist Susan McManus.
USFSP's English Program launches its new creative writing certificate with a party and readings at the Community Room in Harbor Hall (the old Dali Museum), January 17. Attendees enjoyed homemade chilli and refreshments, along with readings by faculty, alumni, current students, and friends. Listen to an interview about the new writing salon on WMNF's "Art in Your Ear" program on January 13 (skip forward to 11:20 for the interview). Contact Thomas Hallock for more information about the writing certificate.
Seth McKee discusses Governor Scott's second State of the State speech on WUSF's "Florida Matters," January 10. If you wish to skip the Governor's address, click the "Download Audio" link rather than "Listen Now," and advance halfway through the show for Professor McKee's commentary.
Bill Belleville's Salvaging the Real Florida wins a National Outdoor Book Award, November 17. Belleville recently discussed his book at USFSP and visited afterward with the Florida Studies community on September 21.
Seth McKee discusses Florida's history of protest movements and the political implications of Occupy Wall Street on WUSF's "Florida Matters," November 15.
Gary Mormino shares the stage with novelist Ana Menendez and poet Campbell McGrath to discuss "Florida Dreaming: Waking up to a New Reality" at the National Humanities Federation conference in St. Petersburg, November 4. Later that evening, Terry Tempest Williams delivers the Walter H. Capps Memorial Lecture. Click here for the program and more about the conference, "Re-imagining the American Dream."
Tom Swihart, author and former water manager for the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, discusses current issues and his new book, Florida's Water: A Fragile Resource in a Vulnerable State, October 24. More about Swihart's work can be found on his web site: wateryfoundation.com.
Florida Studies faculty Julie Armstrong and Ray Arsenault were among the presenters at the St. Petersburg Times Festival of Reading, October 22.
Nathalie Dupree, noted author and cook, presents a workshop for the Florida Studies community, “Making Biscuits: or What Every Self-respecting Southerner Should Already Know,” October 21.
Jim Schnur presents "Independence, New Challenges, and New Opportunities" in the Pinellas by the Decades series October 9.
Chris Meindl's October 1 field trip to the Green Swamp was a great success. See photographs, videos, and comments on the Florida Studies Program's facebook page. Note additional field trips associated with Meindl's Wetlands, People and Public Policy class in Upcoming Events at the top of this page.
Ray Arsenault wins Best of the Bay award as "Best Emmy, Oprah and CL-approved historian" by Creative Loafing, September 22. That makes two "Loafies" in two years by Florida Studies Program faculty! Last year, Gary Mormino won "Best Champion of Florida History."
Florida author Bill Belleville discusses his most recent book, Salvaging the Real Florida: Lost and Found in the State of Dreams (University Press of Florida, 2011), in the library's Poynter Corner on September 21 and joined us afterwards for "Florida Studies Night" at the Tavern at Bayboro.
"Growing Community in Gardens," moderated by Tom Hallock at Studio@620 on September 7. Panelists include nature writer Janisse Ray, Eckerd College professor Kip Curtis, and Green Florida's Andrea Hillebran Smith.
Dr. Mormino discusses the impact of Depression-era public spending programs on Florida, September 6 on WMNF's "Radioactivity" show with Rob Lorei. Select this date in the WMNF archives to hear the show.
Alumni donation helps next generation of Florida Studies students, June 29. The generosity of Hope Black (M.A. 2007) and her husband Bob supports Andy Fairbanks' graduate studies.
“Freedom Riders,” American Experience documentary based on Dr. Arsenault’s book, airs nationwide May 16 on PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/freedomriders/
Freedom Riders featured on Oprah: http://www.oprah.com/showinfo/Oprah-Honors-American-Heroes-The-Freedom-Riders-Reunite
Explosion of interest in Freedom Riders: http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/media/content/usf-st-pete-professors-freedom-riders-book-explodes-across-pop-culture-oprahs-help
Jason Memmer wins LeRoy Collins Prize -- again!
Jason Memmer, a graduate student in the Florida Studies program, has won the LeRoy Collins Graduate Essay Prize for a second time. The award is from the Florida Historical Society for his essay, "Torah! Torah! Torah!: Pearl Harbor and the Emergence of Florida's Modern Jewish Community."
The Florida Historical Society inaugurated the Collins prize in 1991 in honor of the former governor. Collins met with the society's first director, Professor Gary Mormino, in 1989 and presented Dr. Mormino with a check to endow the award. "He explained that one of his great regrets was not having the opportunity to study history and politics as an undergraduate," Mormino said. "He asked that the gift endow an award honoring the best undergraduate and graduate student paper in the field of Florida History."
The undergraduate prize has gone to six students from USF St. Petersburg. Memmer is the fifth graduate student from USFSP to win the award. Jason and current Florida Studies program Fellow Jim Schnur are the only students to win the award twice.
Dr. Mormino receives Alfred J. Hanna Award
Gary Mormino, the Frank E. Duckwall Professor of History, received the Alfred J. Hanna Award from Rollins College in recognition of his contributions to the study and understanding of Florida. Previous award recipients include Michael Gannon and Stetson Kennedy.
Andy Fairbanks receives Honorable Mention from Florida Society of Geographers
Andy Fairbanks, a graduate student in the Florida Studies Program, received an Honorable Mention for his presentation, “’Smells Like Money’: Garbage and Florida’s 75% Recycling Goal,” at the Florida Society of Geographers’ 2011 annual conference in Gainesville.
Peyton Jones earns PhD fellowship at Tulane: http://www.usfsp.org/inews/view.asp?ID=622
Peyton Jones earned a four-year fellowship for a PhD in history at Tulane University. He graduated this May with a Master's degree in Florida Studies. At Tulane, Jones will study southern and civil rights history. His interests include social history and the theoretical foundations of history.
As a graduate assistant and top student in the Florida studies program, Jones conducted research for Professor Ray Arsenault's recent book on the famous African-American opera singer Marian Anderson and assisted with other projects, including collaborations with the Florida Humanities Council. He was a recipient of the Pinellas County Historical Society Scholarship and participated in their annual conferences.
Freedom Riders from USF and Stetson take to the road in 2010: http://ridefreedom.wordpress.com/
Dr. Arsenault's annual Civil Rights Bus Tour hit the highway this year on June 4, 2010. It actually hit the airways, as for the first time, the USF and Stetson Freedom Riders flew from Tampa and Orlando to the first stop of Nashville, Tennessee. The evening started with a short orientation and introduction of Ernest "Rip" Patton, a real Freedom Rider, who provided personal commentary and knowledge. A viewing of "Freedom Riders", the documentary made from Dr. Arsenault's book of the same name kicked off the freedom fest and got all the riders in the spirit. Nashville played a big part in the Civil Rights fight and Rip provided an insightful walking tour of the city.
Other stops along the freedom trail included Memphis, TN, Oxford, MS, Birmingham, AL, Montgomery, AL, Selma, AL and Anniston, AL. Each city provided its own chapter to the Civil Rights story.
The outcome of all this busing around? Some exhausted but enlightened students. This was a life-changing event for all. All of the people, places, dates and events that were presented combined to tell the whole frightening and maddening, yet hopeful, story that is the Civil Rights saga.
Special thanks go out to Dr. Arsenault, Dr. Bickel, Dr. Sapp, Tammy Bryant and Stan the Camera Man
Dr. Mormino wins Best of the Bay 2010 Award: http://tampa.creativeloafing.com/gyrobase/page?oid=1227211
Creative Loafing describes the 2010 award for Best Champion of Florida History:
“After teaching for about 30 years at USF Tampa, where he explored the rich history of Ybor City, Gary Mormino formed the interdisciplinary Florida Studies Program at USF St. Pete with his close colleague Ray Arsenault. His landmark book Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams is a must-read history of modern Florida, but his greatest achievement may be his graduate students. His teaching, like his writing, is neither preachy nor overwrought; he tackles difficult issues and invites his students to do the same. Mormino and Florida Studies embody the kind of collaboration that academia always talks about but rarely achieves.”
Also notable, the Florida Humanities Council won the 2010 award for Best Champion of Florida Culture.
UnspOILed: Writers Speak for Florida’s Coast, debuts in tragic coincidence with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Several members of the Florida Studies community contributed essays for the book, including current student Jono Miller, alumnus Edward Woodward, professor Thomas Hallock, and program fellow Jeff Klinkenberg.
Lois Ricciardi wins Leland M. Hawes Prize
St. Petersburg, FL - Lois Ricciardi, a graduate student in the Florida Studies program, is the third USFSP student in four years to win the Leland M. Hawes Prize from the Tampa Bay History Center. The award honors the outstanding graduate essay in the field of Florida history.
Ricciardi’s paper explored the career of Mary Lou Baker, the only woman to serve in the World War II Florida Legislature. Baker, a Clearwater resident and member of the Legislature from 1941 to 1945, authored the “Women’s Emancipation Bill,” a law strengthening the rights of married women to manage their separate estates, and to sue and be sued independently of their husbands. Her bill to ensure the right of women to serve on juries failed. Ricciardi is presently finishing her thesis on the role of women in the Florida Legislature and policy making.
The Hawes Prize, awarded by the Tampa Bay History Center, honors the career of Leland M. Hawes, Jr., a beloved journalist who spent fifty years as a Tampa Tribune reporter.
Jason Memmer wins LeRoy Collins Prize
Jason Memmer, a graduate student in the Florida Studies program, won the LeRoy Collins Graduate Essay Prize from the Florida Historical Society for his essay, "From Conversos to Congress: A Political History of Florida's Jewish Community."
The Florida Historical Society inaugurated the Collins prize in 1991 in honor of the former governor. Collins met with the society's first director, Professor Gary Mormino, in 1989 and presented Mormino with a check to endow the award. "He explained that one of his great regrets was not having the opportunity to study history and politics as an undergraduate," Mormino said. "He asked that the gift endow an award honoring the best undergraduate and graduate student paper in the field of Florida History."
The undergraduate prize has gone to six students from USF St. Petersburg. Memmer is the fifth graduate student from USFSP to win the award.
Walking Tour of Historic Ybor City with Dr. Mormino
Potent Pens Fuel Florida Studies
Authors abound in Florida Studies, a graduate-level Program of Distinction at USF St. Petersburg. During 2005 - 2006 seven books were published by its faculty, students, and fellows. Regarding this bonanza of books from FSP scholars, “most striking is the breadth of the scholarship and writing that reflects the interdisciplinary nature of Florida Studies,” says Gary Mormino. “This cross-fertilization is not an accident – it is what we hope for in the liberal arts. Disciplines and scholarship interact and influence each other,” he adds.
Dr. Mormino opened the proverbial floodgates in May 2005 with the publication of Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida. Dr. Ray Arsenault and former student Dr. Jack E. Davis followed in June with Paradise Lost?: An Environmental History of Florida. And in January 2006, Arsenault’s landmark Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice was published.
Recent books by Florida Studies graduate students include: Images of America – New Port Richey by Adam J. Carozza; St. Petersburg’s Historic 22nd Street South by Jon Wilson (and Rosalie Peck); and St. Petersburg’s Maritime Service Training Station by Michelle Hoffman. Lee Irby, a former student and Florida Studies Program Fellow, will follow up his current best-selling novel 7,000 Clams with The Up and Up, in June 2006. The former is set in St. Petersburg; the latter in Miami.
Based at the historic Snell House, the USFSP Florida Studies Program offers graduate students the opportunities to explore the regional history, culture, politics, and ecology of Florida.