Opening Remarks with Mayor Welch and USF Chancellor Hardigree

february, 2023

22feb8:45 am9:00 amOpening Remarks with Mayor Welch and USF Chancellor Hardigree


(Wednesday) 8:45 am - 9:00 am


USF Student Center

200 6th Ave S

Event Details

Board President Willi Rudowsky, USF Regional Chancellor Christian E. Hardigree and St. Petersburg Mayor Ken Welch will offically open the 2023 Conference

Speakers for this event

  • Christian E. Hardigree

    Christian E. Hardigree

    Christian Hardigree was named regional chancellor of USF's St. Petersburg campus in May 2022. She previously served as the founding dean of the School of Hospitality at Metropolitan State University (MSU) in Denver, which is the third largest and only open-access institution of higher education in Colorado. At MSU, Hardigree led the transition to a free-standing school and developed/implemented departmental structures, school strategic plan and initiatives, and other deliverables. She secured more than $3,775,000 in external funds to support the school and led faculty through curriculum redesign of six degrees and majors, eight minors and nine certificates. Prior to her role at MSU, Hardigree served as the founding director and professor of the Michael A. Leven School of Culinary Sustainability and Hospitality at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. She oversaw more than 260 majors with a total enrollment of more than 1,500 students. She also worked for Parnell & Associates as a senior litigation attorney and partner focusing on employment discrimination, arbitration, mediation and labor-management relations. In 2012, she was selected as a faculty institute senior teaching fellow at University of Nevada Las Vegas, where she also received the Sam and Mary Boyd Distinguished Professor for Service Award in 2011 and the Boyd Distinguished Professor for Teaching Award in 2010. A researcher and frequent conference presenter, Hardigree received her juris doctorate from Walter F. George School of Law at Mercer University and a bachelor of science, cum laude, from William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at University of Nevada Las Vegas.

  • Mayor Kenneth T. Welch

    Mayor Kenneth T. Welch

    Kenneth T. Welch was sworn in as the 54th mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida on January 6, 2022. Growing up in the Gas Plant area, Ken worked summers and after school on his grandfather’s woodyard that sat on property later displaced by the interstate. His father was a city council member who helped lay the foundation for St. Petersburg’s resurgence. Ken saw first-hand the uprooting of hundreds of businesses, homes and churches for what eventually became Tropicana Field. He also saw the unfulfilled promises of jobs and economic development in return for that sacrifice. After receiving his BA from USFSP and MBA from Florida A&M, Ken returned to St. Petersburg as an accountant for Florida Power Corporation. He also served as Technology Manager for his father’s small accounting firm. After years of community service, Ken became the first Commissioner elected to represent County Commission District 7 in St. Petersburg, only the second African American commissioner in the history of Pinellas County. Ken proudly served on the County Commission for 20 years, where he brought a focus to the issues of economic development, transportation, equity, housing, criminal justice reform and fighting poverty. A third generation St. Pete resident, Ken lives in St. Petersburg today with his wife of 30 years, Donna, and their two daughters.

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