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What is USF Doing to Address Textbook Affordability?

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on What is USF Doing to Address Textbook Affordability?

The cost of textbooks has risen disproportionately in recent years. More so than tuition and living expenses, textbooks have become less affordable — sometimes even influencing which subject areas students choose to study.

In an effort to bolster student success, the University of South Florida launched the Textbook Affordability Project in 2010. Popularly known as ‘TAP,’ the initiative aims to approach the problem of textbook affordability and access from multiple angles. Efforts include connecting students with news and options for gaining access to textbooks, fostering faculty development of open access textbooks that are free for students to use, securing copies of high-demand textbooks and lending them for three hours at a time within the library, and working with faculty to cull course materials from existing library collections, which poses no additional cost to USF students.

One element of the project, Textbooks on Course Reserve, offers financially challenged students an alternative to buying expensive textbooks. Copies of printed textbooks are purchased or donated and placed on reserve in the USF Tampa Library for students to come in and use. Students we have spoken with estimate that this one component of the Textbook Affordability Project has saved them anywhere from $350 to over $5,000.

“I think this is a wonderful program. I wish other universities did it. This is one of the reasons I decided to come to USF.”

-Sabrina, majoring in Civil Engineering and Mathematics

“It’s really helped me personally. I haven’t been able to afford textbooks. They are very expensive, especially in the sciences.”

-Grace, Biomedical Sciences major and USF Green and Gold Tour Guide

 
Another way the USF Textbook Affordability Project is addressing the gap between the desire to learn and the budget to do so is through open access textbooks, which are available online and free for all to use. Some of the open access textbooks hosted by USF are incredibly popular, with over 200,000 downloads. The first fully USF-sponsored open access textbook is a partnership between USF Innovative Education and the USF Libraries. Dr. Jenifer Schneider, associate professor in literacy studies, was chosen to author the online educational resource that includes rich multimedia content while also providing cost savings for the 400 students that take her course each year. Dr. Schneider sees this kind of work as an opportunity for faculty to create the kind of tailored material that best serves their students.

“When the opportunity arose, it was a perfect match for this kind of content. The book I had been using is very expensive and is not a great match in terms of content.”

-Dr. Jenifer Schneider, USF Associate Professor in Literacy Studies

Download the USF Textbook Affordability Project Impact BriefThe numbers on are in, and the savings are newsworthy. See for yourself – ROI graphs and executive summaries are in our Textbook Affordability Impact Brief.

How can you help ensure this kind of far-reaching student support continues? Contact the USF Libraries Office of Development at (813) 974-4433 to discuss your contribution.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Geoffrey Giles Decodes Nazi Treatment of Homosexuals

Monday, November 16th, 2015 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Dr. Geoffrey Giles Decodes Nazi Treatment of Homosexuals

The USF Libraries LGBT Studies and Holocaust Studies Initiatives came together in 2015 to present an event that shed light on a little-understood area of World War II history. On October 27th, 2015, Dr. Geoffrey Giles spoke to a large USF crowd, sharing his original research on this subject in “Persecution but No Homocaust: The Homosexual Problem in Nazi Germany.”

A rapt crowd listens to Dr. Giles relate the history of Nazi attitudes toward homosexuality

Beginning with the legacy of the German states that had done away with the criminalization of sodomy, Giles traced the specific-yet-evadable penal code passed after German Unification through to the height of gay culture in Berlin in the late 1920s, and on to probable causes for increasingly virulent Nazi attitudes toward homosexuals.

Despite ideas promulgated by gay victims of the Nazis in the 1970s, the Nazis were not focused on eliminating all homosexuals from Germany. Hitler had only an apparent mild dislike for the homosexual community — at least initially. In fact, one of his closer advisors was Ernst Röhm, commander of the Nazi Storm Battalion (also known as the ‘SA’ or ‘Brownshirts’), who was gay.

However, the tide began to turn when the opposition Social Democrats began to incite public concern about Röhm’s involvement with the Hitler Youth. He was ultimately killed in the “Night of the Long Knives” purge.

In June 1935, the law changed. Prosecutors and judges, frustrated with acquittals, developed new language that began to include victims of assault. This had devastating implications at all levels of society. Watch the video for the fascinating full story:

 

 

While at USF, Dr. Giles remarked on the depth of USF Tampa Libraries LGBT and Holocaust Studies collections:

“You have some really remarkable and extremely rare material here. Wonderful materials for potential graduate students to work on. I think I will be coming down again myself.”

Dr. Geoffrey Giles is Associate Professor Emeritus in the Department of History at the University of Florida. His extensive research in this area has included study seminars for college faculty at the death camps in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Germany on behalf of the Holocaust Education Foundation, and he served for many years on the State of Florida Education Commissioner’s task force on Holocaust education. A highly sought-after speaker, he planned to follow our October event at USF with a keynote address at the Sorbonne in Paris, speaking on Nazi concepts of masculinity and attitudes toward homosexuality.

“Persecution But No Homocaust” was sponsored by the USF Libraries Holocaust and Genocide Studies  and LGBT Studies Initiatives in partnership with the Florida Holocaust Museum.

Events like these make USF Libraries collections come alive. You can be a part of it. Contact the USF Libraries Office of Development to make a cash or in-kind contribution today: (813) 974-4433.

 

A Seed Planted

Friday, October 9th, 2015 | Posted in Student Success, Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on A Seed Planted

There is a common thread among students who have undertaken intensive research projects in the USF Tampa Library’s Special Collections Department. So moved are they by their experiences that they describe them as “transformative,” “life-changing,” and a “high point” of their academic career. Stacy Dolan talks about her recently completed year long research position working with the papers of Betty Castor in much the same way:

“It was one of the most indispensable things I’ve done in my whole life. It gave me the ability to work from my own strengths and plan my own path, on my own schedule and a with a really long time scale – and being self-directed in that entire pursuit.”

-Stacy Dolan, USF ’14

Stacy Dolan presents her research to a packed Grace Allen Room at the USF Tampa Library.

Stacy Dolan presents her research to a packed Grace Allen Room at the USF Tampa Library.

A 2014 USF Honors College graduate, Ms. Dolan came to the attention of the USF Libraries through a recommendation from Dr. Susan MacManus, Distinguished University Professor in USF’s Department of Government and International Affairs. In addition to having taught Stacy in several courses, Dr. MacManus was the chair of Stacy’s honors thesis committee and worked with Stacy while she was in a leadership role within the USF chapter of political science honor society Pi Sigma Alpha. Of Stacy, she says:

“I was really impressed with the quality of her research skills, her writing, and interest in anything about women in politics — so it was a perfect fit.”

-Dr. Susan MacManus, USF Distinguished University Professor

 

Watch the video of Stacy’s research presentation here:

 

The Profiles of Women in Leadership Initiative forms an important and growing part of the USF libraries Florida Studies Collections. A gift from Betty Castor, one of the collection’s notable donors, made possible a year-long intensive research project. Stacy Dolan chose to focus on Betty Castor’s efforts to ratify the ERA in Florida. She has a message for others who may be considering a gift to sponsor a research award:

“When you sponsor a project like this, you are changing someone’s life. Letting them prove they are the researcher they have been working toward becoming. Special Collections is a wonderful learning laboratory and this work bolsters USF in general. This transformative opportunity is not easily replaced with an internship or on the job experience. It is not something you can just go out into the world and find for yourself. “Its a seed planted.”

 

Stacy has begun work in legal writing and research job for a prominent local firm. She hopes to have her 96-page research paper published in 2016.

 

 

USF Libraries Civil Rights Collections Highlighted in New Saunders Library

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on USF Libraries Civil Rights Collections Highlighted in New Saunders Library

Civil rights leaders Robert and Helen Saunders donate extensive and noted records of the Saunders’ civil rights battles during the past 30 years to Special Collections in the USF Library.  Oracle 2/5/85 (with Dr. Steve Lawson, USF History Department)

Civil rights leaders Robert and Helen Saunders donate extensive and noted records of the Saunders’ civil rights battles during the past 30 years to Special Collections in the USF Library. Oracle 2/5/85 (with Dr. Steve Lawson, USF History Department)

The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative’s stunning new Robert W. Saunders Library, near Ybor City, at 1505 N. Nebraska Avenue opened in August after years of community effort.

The new Saunders library features both interactive multimedia exhibits as well as exhibition space. In addition to the use of items from USF Libraries collections in the permanent exhibits, the organizers of the new facility asked the USF Libraries, the City of Tampa Archives and the Tampa Bay History Center, to create displays for the space. Showcasing these partnerships provides a natural pathway for Saunders Library patrons interested in pursuing substantive research in local historical archives, such as the materials in the USF Tampa Library’s Special Collections department.

“When it comes to African American history, the USF Tampa Library has some of the stronger collections in the area. Black Tampa is a lot like Latin Tampa — you can’t skip USF when it comes to research.”

– Special Collections Librarian Andy Huse

The exhibition aims to improve awareness of the breadth of related collections here on site, in part as a way to reach out to community members interested in conducting research and helping them understand where to go next.

saunders-lib-exhibition-space

A portion of the USF Libraries civil rights material on exhibition at the Saunders Library

Robert W. Saunders suspended his legal studies in 1952 to become the Florida field director of the NAACP. He took over the role from Harry T. Moore, another fearless leader in Florida’s civil rights history. Mr. Moore and his wife were killed on Christmas Day in 1951 when the Ku Klux Klan placed a bomb under their home in the exact spot where their bed was. This took place after Moore’s tireless work concerning the Lake County Sheriff’s alleged mistreatment and murder of several black defendants in a case in Groveland, FL.

During his 14 years with the NAACP, Saunders led Florida through a turbulent period of change, including landmark legal decisions on voting rights, school desegregation, the integration of public beaches, facilities, and housing, equal pay for Black teachers, and many other milestones.

Robert W. Saunders in 1952

Robert W. Saunders in 1952

The USF Tampa Library has the Robert and Helen Saunders papers – the Saunderses gave them in the 1980s. Then-USF history professor Dr. Steve Lawson was conducting research in this area and was instrumental in the gift of the Saunders’ papers to the USF Tampa Library.

Special Collections Librarian Andy Huse remarks on the way the related collections work together: “We have so many collections of the papers of important political figures from these challenging times in race relations – Sam Gibbons, Leroy Collins, for example – that you can get a full picture of the interconnectedness and historical context. In the correspondence, you hear a lot of voices weighing in – a lot of white anger over integration, and similar sentiments. We even have the papers of Sumter Lowry, an arch-conservative white supremacist during this period; researchers can see the opposition papers to understand the dynamic.”

“Robert Saunders wanted his papers to be used, so he gave them to us. If you want your legacy to be hidden under glass, give it to a museum.”

To support the preservation of and research with collections like these, contact the USF Libraries Office of Development at (813) 974-4433 or bmarks@usf.edu.

 

Down the Rabbit Hole: From the Sublime to the Bizarre in USF Libraries Special Collections

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | 1 Comment »

Bohemia - Latino Community Newsletter - Tampa - early 1900sArchives Awareness Week is a chance for the community to peek inside the vaunted treasure chest that is USF Libraries Special Collections. In addition to famed historical material — from Tampa’s cigar-producing legacy to photos from the Nuremberg trials — there is a host of new and rare materials to explore.

This year’s event, Down the Rabbit Hole: From the Sublime to the Bizarre in USF Libraries Special Collections, will feature a number of Alice in Wonderland-related acquisitions within our Lewis Carroll collection, newly-acquired historical LGBT memorabilia, as well as documents that trace the Johns Committee’s “Witch Hunt” for purported homosexual and communist faculty at a brand-new USF in the 1960s. Extremely rare and unique early 20th century Tampa Latino community newsletters will also be on display for the first time.

 

You are invited!

rabbit-alice

Down the Rabbit Hole:

From the Sublime to the Bizarre

in USF Libraries Special Collections

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

1-3 PM

USF Tampa Library Special Collections (4th Floor)

4202 E. Fowler Avenue, Tampa, 33606

 

Special Collections Librarians Matt Knight, Andy Huse, and Melanie Griffin will be on hand at the event to provide context and sources for additional learning. The Archives Awareness Week event is free and open to the public.

Archives Awareness Week is presented in partnership with the City of Tampa. Special exhibitions will be available for viewing at the Tampa Bay History Center, Plant Museum and more. (link to http://bit.ly/1RkwDpp )

 

Living Herstory

Friday, June 5th, 2015 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Living Herstory

Often, the life stories of USF Libraries donors are every bit as interesting as the collections they donate. In this case, the two are tightly interwoven.

After a rather more conventional life in New York as a housewife, mother of three, teacher’s aide, and intensive care nurse, Edith “Edie” Daly moved back to her home state of Florida in 1981 with her colleague and then-romantic partner. Once in St. Petersburg, they came out, opened a bookstore, and helped establish a thriving lesbian community. Finding her true voice, Edie began advocating for peace, as well as human, women’s, and lesbian rights and has not slowed down to the present day. She is 78 years old, a proud, self-professed “old lesbian feminist,” and an undisputed leader in her community.

 

Edith "Edie" Daly

Edith “Edie” Daly

 

In 2006, USF Associate Professor Sara Crawley introduced Edie to the USF Tampa Library. Edie had a meticulously organized collection of community newsletters, ephemera, and other materials documenting the history of the lesbian community from 1981 that would form the basis of a new collection. A year after opening her bookstore, Edie had co-founded a lesbian feminist organization called the Women’s Energy Bank (WEB). WEB held monthly salons for women for 24 years, and produced a monthly publication, Womyn’s Words, for over 30 years.

In donating her archive of materials to the USF Libraries Special Collections department, Edie, in essence, began the USF Libraries LGBT Initiative. While the Initiative floundered under prior leadership, current USF Libraries Dean William A. Garrison recognized the strength of existing collections and the merit of building an LGBT collection of national significance. Sizeable additional donations from Edie and her partner Jackie Mirkin, Equality Florida, St. Pete Pride, USF Pride Alliance, and other prominent members of the local and national LGBT community comprise the current USF Libraries LGBT Collections. The USF Libraries LGBT Initiative launched anew in the fall of 2014 with a signature event featuring USF alumnus and accidental human rights hero Mitchell Katine, who took the landmark Lawrence v. Texas along its route to victory in the Supreme Court of the United States.

 

USF Libraries LGBT Initiative

 

The USF Libraries LGBT Initiative continues to grow at a rapid pace. New materials and partnerships such as the 2014 collaboration with the Tampa International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (TIGLFF) are establishing the USF Libraries as a leading destination for researchers and policymakers in this arena.

Do you have materials which may merit inclusion in this collection, or wish to make a cash gift to grow and preserve the USF Libraries LGBT Initiative? Contact the USF Libraries Office of Development or by calling (813) 974-4433. If you would simply like to stay abreast of future events and news, sign up for our email list.

 

Undergraduate Research Stars Rely on the USF Libraries

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015 | Posted in Student Success, Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Undergraduate Research Stars Rely on the USF Libraries

Looking for inspiration? Go no further than the Undergraduate Research and Arts Colloquium. Produced by the Office for Undergraduate Research, this competitive annual event showcases some of USF’s brightest and most engaged students. Of the 400 research projects on exhibit this year, a handful were singled out for special recognition. The USF Tampa Library’s own Director of Library Services, Nancy Cunningham, is so inspired by this variety of undergraduate student that she created and funds an award honoring a student who has made especially astute use of the research literature while pursuing their Colloquium project.

This year, the Best Use of Research Literature Award was given to Eduardo Garcia, an Interdisciplinary Classical Civilizations major and pre-medicine major Ahmed Mohamed.

Best Use of Research Literature award winner Eduardo Garcia

Best Use of Research Literature award winner Eduardo Garcia

Best Use of Research Literature award winner Ahmed Mohamed

Best Use of Research Literature award winner Ahmed Mohamed

Garcia’s project, The Naval Aspect of Sulla’s Campaign against the Poison King and Rome (mentor: William Murray), required intensive in-person, hands-on research in search of information on the little-known naval aspect of this period. Indicative of Mr. Garcia’s stated passion for Near Eastern history, his studies required him not only to work in ancient Greek and Latin, but to pore over a seemingly endless number of tomes in the USF Tampa Library’s reference holdings and in Special Collections. Of the USF Tampa Library, he says, “I could not have done it without the library… the resources and collections here – especially Special Collections – are so undervalued. To have so much compiled into one space is vital, especially for classics and history.” Mr. Garcia plans to pursue a Ph.D. in the field at Columbia University or the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after graduation this fall.

Ahmed Mohamed’s paper, Traditions of Thought on Biomedical Ethics in Subsaharan Africa (mentors: Anatoli Ignatov, Richard Pollenz), presents a review of recent field work in Uganda, Tanzania, and Benin and contrasts those nations’ more holistic approach to health care with typical models in the US. In the course of conducting his research, Mr. Mohamed availed himself of a great number of library resources: “My research would not have happened without the library – everything that I used was literature based and not always available locally. I used Interlibrary Loan and UBorrow to get the resources I needed.” Mr. Mohamed intends to pursue a career in neurology.

USF Libraries Director of Academic Services and Donor Nancy Cunningham with Ahmed Mohamed (left), and with Eduardo Garcia (right)

USF Libraries Director of Academic Services and Donor Nancy Cunningham with Ahmed Mohamed (left), and with Eduardo Garcia (right)

“Navigating the research literature to uncover new publications, draw out trends, and unearth unique perspectives is a challenge for even the most seasoned scholars.  This year’s award winners, Eduardo Garcia and Ahmed Mohamed proved themselves to have the critical thinking skills, tenacity, and technical savvy necessary to wade through the scholarship and deliver new insights on their topics.  The faculty mentors for both young men remarked on their high level of skill and passion for research.

Eduardo and Ahmed are true inspirations to me and my librarian colleagues — not to mention their fellow students.”
-Donor and USF Libraries Director of Academic Services Nancy Cunningham

There are a variety of ways to support these research awards. For example, a gift of $25,000 can endow a research award like this in perpetuity, in your or your family’s name. Become involved in recognizing and supporting students who are making the most of their educational opportunities: contact the USF Libraries Development office here or by calling (813) 974-4433 .

 

Where in the world is it?

Sunday, April 5th, 2015 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Where in the world is it?

Google Maps NavigationDo you get driving directions from your mobile phone app, check in on Facebook, or use Zillow to research housing prices? You probably didn’t realize how often or how adroitly you use Geographic Information Systems, better known by the initialism ‘GIS.’

GIS software makes use of map information to organize data and enhance its usefulness. Think of it as computerized mapping. You may have heard of the USF Tampa Library’s expertise in connecting researchers’ cave and ocean data to corresponding locations on a world map, but Karst Regions of the World and C-IMAGE are just the beginning.

Richard McKenzie and Pete Reehling work on a project utilizing GIS modeling of the neighborhood area lost due to construction of I-275.

Richard McKenzie and Pete Reehling review a project utilizing GIS modeling of a swath of neighborhood homes lost to initial construction of I-275.

USF Libraries’ work with GIS has come a long way since it’s inception in 2000. Noting the US Geological Survey and other government information agencies’ growing adoption of GIS technologies, USF Libraries Director of Academic Resources Todd Chavez worked with the Council of Deans and then-Provost David Stamps to conduct a comprehensive needs analysis of academic departments in the USF system, which the USF Tampa Library then developed the infrastructure to serve. Since then, the Library’s GIS team –Pete Reehling, Richard McKenzie, and Todd Chavez — has maintained the license for USF student and faculty projects that have a GIS component, and have even tracked down datasets that were essential to research projects. Recent projects that the team has been involved with include an undergraduate student plant survey of USF’s Tampa Campus, a faculty book on gerrymandering that made use of block-level census data, post-Deepwater Horizon C-IMAGE research by College of Marine Science faculty that maps petroleum markers in seafood (including the commercial harvest), and an incredible range of projects in public health, aging studies, business, economics, history, and, of course, geosciences.

An 1853 survey map of downtown Tampa overlaid with current satellite images

An 1853 survey map of downtown Tampa aligned atop current satellite images allows comparison and exploration.

Much of the GIS work taken on is national or global in scope. However, in 2014, the USF Tampa Library’s GIS expertise was applied to two decidedly local projects focused on Tampa’s history. In one, an overlay of an 1853 survey map of Downtown Tampa was overlaid to facilitate interactive comparison with present-day satellite photography of downtown. Users can drag the edge between the two maps to compare how the contours of the Hillsborough river’s bank and land uses downtown have changed in the 162 intervening years.

The satellite map of Ybor City allows exploration of current-day locations where historic photos were taken by the famed Burgert Brothers.

The satellite map of Ybor City allows exploration of current-day locations where historic photos were taken by the famed Burgert Brothers.

In another project, placement of popular local photographs from 1917 to the early 1960s by the Burgert Brothers connect settings of the historic images with locations where they were taken on a current map of Ybor City. This project, a local favorite, is expected to grow in the next few years to include more of these cherished images.

Many of the GIS projects involving the USF Libraries are viewable at bit.ly/usflib-gis.

Dr. JoAnn Sullivan's work on urban heat island effects is shown here. Click to interact with this map.

Dr. JoAnn Sullivan’s work on urban heat island effects is shown here. Click to interact with this map.

Your support of the USF Libraries allows this kind of cutting edge support for contemporary, relevant scholarship throughout the university. Consider making a cash gift today. Contact the USF Libraries office of Development at (813) 974-4433 to donate or request more information.

 

Capturing Florida’s Impressive Public Health Journey

Saturday, February 28th, 2015 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on Capturing Florida’s Impressive Public Health Journey

Public health, as a discipline, relies heavily on numbers and statistics, abstractions that make population-scale information useful. But in order to gain a complete picture of how decisions are made, tomorrow’s leaders benefit from the hard-won expertise of public health pioneers. The anecdotes, inside perspective, and historical memory of those who essentially invented public health in the state of Florida are now available for all to learn from.

Dr. Charles Mahan

Dr. Charles Mahan

In 1997, realizing that an entire generation of wisdom was on the verge of being lost, then-Dean of the College of Public Health (now Dean Emeritus) Dr. Charles Mahan spearheaded an initiative to record the oral histories of 60 experts in what came to be the Florida Public Health Oral History Project. Working with Dr. Mahan were Dr. E. Charlton Prather, a former Florida health officer, and Sam Fustukjian, the late director of the USF Libraries. Dr. Prather interviewed administrators, midwives, physicians, laboratory managers, epidemiologists, nurses, and many other experts, prominent in the field of public health in Florida. The interviews were conducted at Florida Department of Health units in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, and West Palm Beach, as well as on campus at the USF College of Public Health, between 1997 and 2002, yet the memories recorded stretch back to the 1920s.

The interviewees discuss their motivation to pursue a career in the field, their education, the challenges and highlights of their jobs, and their determination to ensure the health of the people of Florida despite organizational upheaval and the vicissitudes of state politics. In addition, insights such as the strategies used to make Florida a leader in areas like childhood immunizations and smoking cessation — as well as sleuth out the then-unknown source of mosquito borne illnesses, add color to a field that can sometimes seen as impersonal.

Dr. E. Charlton Prather (left) and Willard Galbreath, MPH (right), director of the Environmental Health Program of the Broward County Health Department, where Galbreath served for 42 years.

Dr. E. Charlton Prather (left) and Willard Galbreath, MPH (right), director of the Environmental Health Program of the Broward County Health Department, where Galbreath served for 42 years.

Important lessons from an era when basic health was taken for granted ring true in a time of declining vaccination rates. In telling the story of polio sweeping through his Boy Scout camp, Dr. Mahan notes:

“My tent mate died of polio and I was in quarantine for a full month.”

 

The Florida Public Health Oral History Project interviews are currently available in audio form on the USF Libraries website. Transcripts are being added as they become available. Future aims of this project include adding the video of the interviews, completing a second phase of additional oral history interviews, as well as funding a graduate student to curate a digital exhibition with this collection.

Click here to explore the Florida Public Health Oral History Project.

To support this important initiative, please contact the USF Office of Development at (813) 974-4433 or email bmarks@usf.edu.

 

You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

Thursday, November 6th, 2014 | Posted in Your Library in Action by Eileen M. Thornton | Comments Off on You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby

You might think that when a USF alumnus returns to campus after an extended absence, the first thing they would notice would be all the new buildings, mature landscaping, elegant signage, and traffic improvements. But for Mitchell Katine, it was the familiar, unchanged elements that repeatedly drew his attention. “I was focused on the memories and the feelings of being back on campus – remembering my time as a student at USF. For example, when I was walking to the Beta dorms, I saw the exact door I used to see so often while standing in line for the cafeteria. I used to hang out with friends at the quad over there. Even the University Center (now the Marshall Student Center) and it’s Wednesday market are still there, though they have certainly grown.”

USF in 1979 was a far cry from the modern, scenic, tree-lined campus we know today: an unfinished Business Administration building is visible in the foreground, and the then-new library is to the left. (Image from USF Libraries Special Collections)

USF in 1979 was a far cry from the modern, scenic, tree-lined campus we know today: the Business Administration building is under construction in the foreground, and the then-new library is to the left. (Image from USF Libraries Special Collections)

Mitchell Katine graduated from USF in 1982 and moved to Texas for law school. After an initial career in real estate law, he found himself representing John Lawrence and Tyron Garner along the route to their eventual victory in the United States Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas. He has since built a prestigious career as a human rights attorney, fighting for some of society’s most marginalized citizens. On October 30th, he returned to USF to speak on legal gains for the LGBT community at the USF Libraries’ 2014 signature event for its growing LGBT Initiative. It was immediately apparent USF has come a long way from the commuter school that met essential academic needs in 1982. Of USF’s focus on diversity, sustainability, and innovation, Mr. Katine says, “I would consider USF back then, very much a university in development. Now, it’s a mature, successful, sought-after destination, with progressive achievements like the Library’s work in LGBT history.”

Mitchell Katine speaks to a rapt crowd as part of the USF Libraries "Gay Landslide" event in October

Mitchell Katine speaks to a rapt crowd as part of the USF Libraries “Gay Landslide” event in October.

While an undergrad, Katine was involved in seemingly everything on campus: student government and organizations, his job in the University Center — he was also one of the founding USF Ambassadors. Delighted to see how the program has flourished, he got to meet with some of the current USF Ambassadors at last week’s event.

2014 USF Ambassadors Marisol Torres, Martin Copello, Alberto Peralta, and Abraham Pineda with USF Ambassador Alumnus Mitchell Katine, center

2014 USF Ambassadors Marisol Torres, Martin Copello, Alberto Peralta, and Abraham Pineda with founding USF Ambassador Mitchell Katine, center

His undergraduate-era job at the University Center brought Mitchell Katine together with two people who are still dear friends and who attended October’s USF Libraries event – Sandi and Mike Conway. Sandi fondly recalls her time working with Mitchell. “He was just one of those incredibly impressive young whipper-snappers. He got things done, and was incredibly smart. Fun, too. I shouldn’t tell you this, but during our breaks, we used to practice our disco moves!”

Sandi Conway, Mitchell Katine, and Mike Conway, at the USF Libraries 2014 signature event for it's LGBT Initiative

Sandi Conway, Mitchell Katine, and Mike Conway, at the USF Libraries 2014 signature event for it’s LGBT Initiative

Mr. Katine has fond memories of the USF Tampa Library and is a donor to the USF Libraries LGBT Initiative. Of the library’s transformation to what it is today, he says, “The USF Library used to be a place where you came, did your work, and went back to your dorm or went home. Now, it’s this welcoming, comfortable place that is a hub of student life.” One of his donations, a  collection of framed and signed documents relating to the Lawrence v. Texas US Supreme Court victory, will even be on display in the Special Collections department on the library’s fourth floor.

Get involved and make your own contribution to the USF Tampa Library’s groundbreaking initiatives. Contact the USF Libraries Development office here or by calling (813) 974-4433.

 
 
(813) 974-2729

4202 E. Fowler Ave. LIB122 Tampa FL 33620

Library Initiatives

Scholar Commons | Karst Information Portal
Holocaust & Genocide Studies | Florida Studies Center
Oral History Program | Textbook Affordability Project

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