Let the celebrations begin: USF turns 50

Fifty years ago, Fowler Avenue was a dirt road.

Today, any student who has driven along the bustling street has probably gotten the message: USF is 50 years old.

New flags adorned with the USF logo and a sleek “50” signify a milestone for USF, which was founded in 1956.

As far as events and celebrations, new street flags are just the beginning.

The campus celebrations begin on Jan. 18 with the 50th Anniversary Bulls Country Campus-Wide Kick Off, an event open to all USF staff, faculty and students. It takes place at the Special Events Center from noon to 1:30 p.m. Free food from local vendors will be available, and guest speakers will be featured.

On Jan. 19, Nobel Peace Prize winner Bishop Desmond Tutu will speak from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Sun Dome. Admission to the event is free.Planning for the celebrations started about a year ago when a new office – the Anniversary Office – was created.

Part of the office of Special Events and Ceremonies, the Anniversary Office will not only coordinate some events, but will also accept submitted events from departments and organizations around campus, such as the Alumni Association and Student Activities.

The Anniversary Office will then add the event to its Web calendar, which can be accessed by clicking on the calendar link at www.usf.edu/50.

“We’re helping them get the word out,” said Jenna Felder, the director of special events and ceremonies. “And the Web calendar is really going to be your best bet as to what’s happening.”

The office is also partly responsible for the new street post flags hung along Fletcher and Fowler avenues.

“We worked with University Relations that incorporated the block USF logo and the 50th anniversary mark,” Felder said.

Six employees of the Special Events Office also work in the Anniversary Office, but Felder said they hardly make up the total amount of people working on anniversary events.

According to Felder, a substantial portion of the decision-making process for items related to the anniversary go through an advisory committee made up of deans from different colleges, students, staff and faculty.

The committee began meeting last March and meets once a month, Felder said.

The 50th anniversary events will last all year, ending on Dec. 2 with a closing celebration.