Belmont University Learning Journey

Vision 20/20 Belmont LearningJ ourney

Vision 20/20 Belmont University Learning Journey

Belmont University was a very informative learning journey. The intentional embrace of Nashville as a destination of music and entertainment, and a hub of healthcare was a potent lesson for us. St. Petersburg is one of the New York Times 52 cities to visit in the world and we should maximize and leverage.  Certainly this strategy worked well for our colleagues at Belmont.

By Helen Levine
Regional Vice Chancellor
University Advancement

Kuwait is a complex country planning for a future without oil money

We went to Kuwait to examine the differences in their financial system, and discovered it to be very complex.

The financial industry in Kuwait offers a mix of conventional and Islamic financial services. The conventional system is what we have in the West whereas the Islamic system avoids interest rates and fees. The country’s central bank must regulate both systems with a light touch so that they can prosper in a competitive world market. The existence of this dual system also shows the ability of the Kuwaitis to operate smoothly in a complex world.

Oil dominates everything in this wealthy country. Yet the leaders of Kuwait are planning for the future when oil is not sufficient to pay for everything. We met with the head of the Kuwaiti Direct Investment Promotion Authority, which is spearheading the development of three economic zones outside the city that reminded me of the Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. Foreign companies are being encouraged to make direct investments into these areas. This organization is supposed to help reduce the red tape in getting investments made quickly. The goal is to diversity the economy of Kuwait.

One strength the country offers is a highly educated work force that speaks English. The folks we interviewed repeatedly mentioned that foreign firms would bring their expatriates with them but would soon find that Kuwaitis were often educated in the United States. It’s difficult for us to imagine that Kuwaitis are given free university education including in the United States. It was not surprising to find that English is commonly spoken in the streets.

It was a great trip that offers many fond memories of a country with friendly, generous people. The memories also are those of people who have been blessed with oil wealth and whose leaders are now trying to prepare for a more diversified economy.

Gary Patterson, Ph.D.
Professor of Finance


Scenes from the Martin Luther King Jr. National Drum Major for Justice Parade

More than 150 USF St. Petersburg students, faculty and staff participated in Monday’s 29th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. National Drum Major for Justice Parade, the largest in
the Southeast United States. Thousands lined the parade route through downtown St. Petersburg to celebrate the legacy of Dr. King. Here are some photos from the parade. See more photos

Vision 20/20 Community Input Forum was inclusive and motivating

I would like to express my thanks for the opportunity to participate in the USFSP Vision 20/20 Community Forum Input. I found the session to be informative, inclusive and motivating.

Dr. Wisniewska’s efforts to garner input from all stakeholders in the university’s strategic planning process are clearly evident and demonstrate that she is truly vested in the future success of USFSP as well as the community in which it resides.

I especially appreciated the opportunity attendees had to convene conversation groups that addressed ideas, concerns and initiatives that were on the minds of the community representatives. This “open” approach provided participants with every opportunity to get involved and share insight.

I convened and participated in a conversation about ways USFSP may be able to expand its relationship with The St. Petersburg Greenhouse (which provides support to entrepreneurs) to partner in efforts to actively address economic development, small business support and job growth in St. Petersburg’s Midtown and Childs Park communities.

The group shared several innovative ideas that included intern opportunities for students, tapping into USFSP’s research capabilities for best practice data and partnering with corporate entities and financial institutions for business mentoring and small-business financing programs.

Tracey L. Smith
Economic Development Coordinator
The Greenhouse
City of St. Petersburg

Last day in Kuwait

By Liz Makofske, MBA Student

Our last day was free from any formal meetings so we spent the morning shopping and sightseeing at the Old Souk (Mubarakya) which is a big outdoor market that sells everything from clothing to food to jewelry. The Souk is divided into different areas depending on what the stores are selling. There is the fish Souk, gold Souk, etc.

Here are some of my favorite pics from Kuwait. The first few were taken at the Grand Mosque which is the largest and the official mosque of Kuwait. It can accommodate 10,000 people in the main prayer hall. Jeneca and I are wearing abayas.

 Grand Mosque

Grand Mosque

 Grand Mosque

Grand Mosque

Grand Mosque

Grand Mosque







Later that evening we went to Alhamra Tower, which I believe is the second tallest building in Kuwait City.  We were able to go to the 55 and 78 floors to see amazing views of the city below. There was also an area on one floor which was opened up to graffiti artists to paint on the walls.  In this area they have also held comedy shows.

Alhamra Tower

Alhamra Tower


We then went to the 360 Mall and had an amazing meal at B + F Open Flame Kitchen, which is a Kuwaiti run restaurant and is in the processing of expanding.  We had so much fun we were running a little late to the airport.  This theme continued at Dulles where we had a tight connection to Tampa and just barely made our flight.



Last Day

Last Day