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​​Bellini Center for Talent Development receives $10.6 million donation

Dean of the Muma College of Business Moez Limayem announced the donation and said the space is intended to help College of Business students get into the workforce. ORACLE PHOTO/ALEXANDRA URBAN

The Muma College of Business hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday morning, unveiling a $10.6 million donation to the USF Foundation for the Bellini Center for Talent Development.

Aims of the renovated facility include acting as a “talent pipeline” for businesses in the Tampa Bay region, according to business mogul and USF alum Arnold Bellini.

“We need to convince, and we need you to help us convince, the business community that [USF is] worthy and that you should get internships that you are actually a great resource to them,” Bellini said.

Over 100 people were in attendance, including members of the Tampa community, College of Business students and USF ambassadors. Notable attendees included the Bellini family, President-elect Rhea Law and former President Judy Genshaft.

The event was held in front of the center, which is located adjacent to the WUSF building on USF Willow Drive.

Bellini (center left) was joined by his wife, Lauren, and two sons at the ceremony. ORACLE PHOTO/ALEXANDRA URBAN

Giving back to the university is Bellini’s expression of “responsible capitalism,” comparing his reinvestment to USF as a farmer refertilizing his land to continue to yield prosperous crops.

Ambitions for the new space are just as large as Bellini’s donation. Dean of the Muma College of Business Moez Limayem said that within the next seven years, the project will equip all business students with paid internships. The college currently has 5,178 undergraduate and 1,793 graduate students.

Aid from the center won’t stop there, though. He said it will also lead 70,000 alumni to competitively paid business careers.

“More than 90% of students with internships and experiential learning will have a job at graduation, or very shortly, after with a competitive salary,” Limayem said. “We prepare them for [the jobs] with amazing internships and experiential learning.”

Understanding that such large goals will take time, Limayem said the ceremony is just the oiling of an engine that is going to race the university to becoming the national standard. By having the curriculum woven into the center’s goals, a motivated student body will be the university’s vehicle in accomplishing them as well, according to Limayem.

The building has an open floor layout filled with desks and study spaces for students. ORACLE PHOTO/ALEXANDRA URBAN

Business students can expect the 9,000-square-foot space to act as an educational intersection where academic endeavors will collide with real-world experience via paid internships sought out by the university, according to Limayem.

Similar to the SmartLab’s relationship with math classes, utilizing the resources the area has to offer will be embedded into the business curriculums, making students’ engagement required as part of their grades, Limayem said.

Beginning their freshman year, business students can anticipate opportunities for professional career development, advising and mentoring. As they near their graduation date, the students will also be involved in workshops led by local business leaders, sharpening their networking capabilities and speaking skills.

Law believes the development of the facility transforms USF’s capabilities not only as a university but to also change the lives of those involved.

“There are distinct moments that are mile markers in the trajectory of your life and journeys, of whatever you might do,” Law said. “Today, we’re talking about a distinct moment for the University of South Florida.”