Epcot celebrates 35 years by highlighting cast members

On Sunday, Oct. 1, Epcot invited guests to celebrate its 35th anniversary with an array of special events and exclusive merchandise, while also recognizing the hard work of the park’s cast members.

Epcot, originally known as EPCOT Center, opened on Oct. 1, 1982, as the second park within Walt Disney World, following Magic Kingdom. The theme park focuses heavily on innovations in technology and various cultures from around the world. Epcot is also known for employing representatives from each country represented in World Showcase, a major section of the park.

“Walt had it right when he said, ‘It takes people to make the dream a reality,'” said Epcot Vice President, Melissa Valiquette. “From the time you arrive at Epcot, until the time you leave, it is our invaluable cast members who deliver a rich and unique experience to each and every one of our guests. Our cast members take great pride in bringing the wonders of Epcot to life each day.”

Employees from any of the various Disney resorts around the world are referred to as cast members. In particular, Epcot’s cast members were mentioned upward of 10 times during the Fountain View stage celebration that was held at 10:01 a.m. on Sunday.

“We know that these last 35 years at Epcot would not have been possible without the amazing help of our cast members,” said Walt Disney World Resort Ambassador, Brandon Peters.

The ceremony included presentations by two Epcot performance groups, Mariachi Cobre and Voices of Liberty, a cast member processional, speeches by Valiquette, Peters and Walt Disney World Resort President, George A. Kalogridis.

“As a child, I’d been glued to the TV watching Walt Disney, with his message of a fascinating future and a belief in the goodness of people worldwide,” said Kalogridis. “Now, we stand at a park that embodies those ideals. This is a place for family, a place for fun and a place for faith in our vision as a people.”

For the 35th anniversary, guests were able to purchase exclusive “I Was There” merchandise that would only be available until park closure. Retro-inspired merchandise commemorating the anniversary was also sold during the event and will continue to be available.

A 35th anniversary guide map and pin were handed to guests upon entering the park. Specialty cupcakes themed after the Norway pavilion in World Showcase, The Land pavilion and the center attraction, Spaceship Earth, were also sold throughout various locations in Epcot.

Aside from acknowledging the role of cast members, the ceremony’s speakers continuously noted that 35 years was only the beginning for Epcot, referring to upcoming attractions and restaurants.

“It has been a great 35 years, and let me tell you, we have some wonderful additions on the horizon,” said Kalogridis.”I was thrilled that we were able to announce what amounts to nothing less than an ‘Epcot renaissance’ last July at the D23 Expo in Anaheim. As our chairman Bob Chapek said, ‘This work here will be centered around a few guiding principles: We want to keep true to the original vision of Epcot, while making it more Disney, more timeless, more relevant and more family.'”

Kalogridis continued on to mention new attractions based on the movies “Ratatouille” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” that will be added to the France pavilion in World Showcase and to Future World, respectively.

The 35th anniversary of Epcot falls on the same day as the 46th anniversary of Magic Kingdom, another park within the Walt Disney World Resort.

“Epcot has always been and will always be an optimistic celebration of the real world brought to life through the magic of Disney,” said Kalogridis. “I promise you, the exciting plans we have on the horizon, will honor Epcot’s rich legacy of creativity, innovation, while continuing to exceed the expectations of our guests for decades to come.”

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USF St. Petersburg Campus Celebrates 50 Years

Hayley Phillips

The USF St. Petersburg campus (USFSP) is wrapping up an entire year’s worth of memories and celebrations as its 50th anniversary comes to a close.

Located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg, the institution opened its doors in 1965 and was originally intended as a temporary home for ‘overflow’ students that the Tampa campus could not house.

USF Special Collections librarian and alum, Jim Schnur, said that it came to be a fully functioning extension of the university several years after it was built.

“John Allen, in 1968, made a decision and it was a pretty risky one,” Schnur said. “He decided to open this campus up and create the first branch campus in the state university system.”

Today, the USF St. Pete campus is a learning center for nearly 4,000 students, and current USFSP students are getting the opportunity to take a glimpse into the past.

Throughout the year, the university has put on special programs and events to commemorate and celebrate the decades.

“Yesterday I went to a panel they had, a talk, just showing some movies about what USF St. Pete and like just Florida in general was like 50 years ago and the whole environment,” USFSP student, David Thompson said.

Old and new students alike are proud to be USF Bulls.

“I love going here,” USFSP student, Kent Buska said. “It’s a beautiful place, it’s always nice and sunny, and uhm it’s nice and close to the water.”

Schnur said it doesn’t matter which campus you go to or when, all that matters is the connection you share.

“You’re a bull,” Schnur said. “Whether you’re a Pinellas County, USF St. Pete student or USF Tampa student, you’re a USF student.”

 

USF St. Pete celebrates 50 years of learning

St. Petersburg, Fla – It’s a semicentennial celebration and the proud colors are green and gold.  USF St. Pete campus is celebrating its 50th year of operation in 2015.

The campus kicked off the year’s celebration in June with a ceremony and street renaming. Those who attended the event included USF President Judy Genshaft, Regional Chancellor of USFSP Sophia Wisniewska, Mayor Rick Kriseman, students and alumni.

“It marks 50 years of extraordinary students, brilliant faculty and dedicated staff.” said Sudsy Tschiderer,  USF St. Petersburg Alumna. “It’s about our students that are here now and up to 50 years ago.”

The school campus has a rich history that lies with the students and the buildings on campus. The campus features three main colleges. The College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences and the Kate Tiedemann College of Business, which is currently being built.

Student life has grown over the years of the university’s operation. When first opened in 1965, the school welcomed 260 students bused in from local cities. The student body population has expanded to an average of 6,000 students per semester. Even with the expansion, USF St. Petersburg has a vast size difference compared to the Tampa campus.

“I love that the class sizes are a little bit smaller so the teachers are into their students.” said Nicole Ward, a USFSP student. “It’s definitely a more intimate setting that I need in a class.”

Through the remainder of the year USFSP will host several events and seminars reflecting on the anniversary.

“Since I’ve been at this campus there are so many things that I love and I’m so glad I’m here to participate in this special year.” said Tschiderer.

For more information on upcoming anniversary events and celebrations visit USFSP.org/50years

 

 

Moffitt Cancer Center Celebrates its 30th Anniversary

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk4F3A-jKH0&feature=youtu.be

Back in 1981, Florida Legislature passed a bill that allowed the creation of Moffitt Cancer Center. Later, in Oct. 27, 1986, it opened for the first time at the University of South Florida, making it the first cancer center in the state.

Moffitt Cancer Center was named after cancer survivor H. Lee Moffitt.

“He didn’t even want it to be named after him,” said Moffitt Media Relations Coordinator Steve Blanchard, “so, they had to trick him to get him out of the building when they named it after him and he came back, and it was a surprise to him.”

Over the years, Moffitt Cancer Center had broken new grounds in terms of architecture, funding and research.

“Moffitt is on the leading edge and the cutting edge of research for cancer, and they always are ten steps ahead of research,” stated Clinical Science Lab Coordinator Portia Weiss, “I think by the growth that the hospital is doing and the research and the teams we have in place here makes it a fantastic place to work. So, I’m very happy to be a part of this team.”

“This upcoming year is a very big year for Moffitt Cancer Center and I’m excited to see what we do next year, but it is very important to remember that until there is a cure for cancer then Moffitt is going to be right there in the middle of the fight,” said Blanchard.