The University of South Florida proudly supports the men and women of the military and has been recognized as one of the top institutions in the nation for veteran and military-affiliated students.
USF serves more than 2,000 veterans, eligible dependents, active duty service members and members of the Selected Reserve. It’s situated in the heart of a region that is home to 12,000 military and 1,300 civilian personnel assigned to nearby MacDill Air Force Base, along with tens of thousands of military retirees.
In September, USF announced receipt of a $427,469 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to enhance the services and support its Office of Veteran Success (OVS) provides for more than 7,400 veterans, active-duty military and their dependents.
The Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Service grant will expand the capacity of OVS, building on existing services and expanding support on the St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Tampa campuses. OVS provides admissions assistance, scholarships, career counseling, employment assistance, VA benefits and health services guidance, and social space for interactions among students and with staff.
Also this fall, Wayne Taylor, interim director of veteran services and coordinator of the Military Families and Veterans Success Center on the USF St. Petersburg campus, launched an initiative to provide “safe space” meetings at USF St. Petersburg for veterans who served in Afghanistan. The meetings provide opportunities for them to openly discuss their emotions surrounding the recent U.S. troop withdrawal. They are also open to Afghan students from all three campuses.
In observance of Veterans Day on Thursday, Nov. 11, USF will salute veterans and military personnel during events planned across its campuses over the next two weeks:
Wednesday, Nov. 10: The USF Sarasota-Manatee campus will celebrate Veterans Day and host a cake-cutting ceremony to mark the United States Marine Corps’ 246th birthday at noon in the main rotunda. The event is open to the public.
Thursday, Nov. 11: Student-veterans will participate in the Sarasota Veterans Day parade, which begins at 10 a.m., followed by a ceremony at Chaplain J.D. Hamel Park. Veterans wishing to walk in the parade should meet at 9:30 a.m. at the intersection of Main Street and Osprey Avenue in Sarasota.
Friday, Nov. 12: USF hosts Cincinnati in the annual Salute to Service football game at Raymond James Stadium at 6 p.m. A tailgate party for student-veterans begins at 4 p.m. Free tickets are available for USF students and active-duty military personnel. Contact Aimee Carpenter at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. An additional 2,100 donated game tickets are available for military veterans at www.vettix.org.
Other game-day observances:
- Larry Braue, who is retiring as director of OVS, will be recognized for his outstanding service to USF. Braue served for 27 years in the U.S. Army, retiring as a lieutenant colonel, before joining USF in 2010.
- The coin toss will include a special guest who will join 25 new service members for the Army Oath of Enlistment.
- Para-Commandos from the U.S. Special Operations Command Parachute Team based at MacDill Air Force Base will glide into Raymond James Stadium with the game ball.
- During the National Anthem, 200 USF ROTC cadets will march on the field.
- USF will recognize several students as recipients of the following scholarships:
Captain Jason Holbrook Leadership Scholarship (2020 and 2021 winners) – Army ROTC Cadets Kathryn Andersen, Kaylee Jackson and Miles Tankovich; Naval ROTC Midshipmen Zachary Meyers and Michael Thompson; Air Force ROTC Cadets Madison Hannon, Dalton Hongell and Jacob Light.
Pat Tillman Foundation Scholarship – Senior Josh “JB” Burnes.
Tuesday, Nov. 16: USF and CareerSource Suncoast will host Paychecks for Patriots, a career fair for veterans, military service members and spouses and USF students, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus. The event also is open to non-veterans and the general public. Register here.