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USF St. Pete, Museum of Fine Arts celebrate 50 years in St. Pete

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Pete City Council members celebrated anniversaries for two of the city’s key establishments during a meeting Thursday. Both the Museum of Fine Arts and the University of South Florida St. Pete turn 50 this year.

MFA head Kent Lydecker spent more than 10 minutes talking up the museum nestled in between Beach Drive and Bayshore Drive. The museum and USFSP were both founded in 1965.

“We’re all looking to that next 50 years,” Lydecker said.

The MFA founders envisioned a museum worthy of its city. Over the past five decades the museum has grown to house works of art from all civilizations in all time eras. Now, four of its permanent pieces are taking a trip to New York to go on temporary display.

Lydecker highlighted that as evidence that the MFA collection is world class.

In celebration of 50 years, MFA is hosting a series of special events. That includes an exhibition highlighting women, an acoustic guitar exhibition and “Megacities Asia.”

USF St. Pete is also celebrating its 50th this year. The school has enjoyed increased enrollment, historic bachelor’s degree completions and increased academic success.

For the first time ever, five USFSP grads were honored as King O’Neil Scholars, a distinction given only to those students who graduate with a 4.0 grade-point average.

The city recently partnered with the school to co-name Sixth Avenue South “University Way.”

USFSP students are also coming to St. Pete for school from out of state more often than ever. The school’s residency hall is at capacity.

The school is also in the process of opening a new facility at the old Dali Museum site that will serve, among other things, as an auditorium.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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