For Gary Mormino, winning the Florida Humanities Council's 2015 Florida Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing "came out of the blue sky."
"I'm grateful, I'm shocked, I'm excited," he said. "I've stood on the shoulders of giants."
Mormino, 68, was chosen by a five-person panel (including myself) from a field of 15 nominees. He is the sixth writer to receive the award, which will be presented April 10 at the Florida Book Awards at the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee.
Mormino is the co-founder of the Florida studies program at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and the Frank E. Duckwall Florida professor of history emeritus. The St. Petersburg resident still teaches one class a year (on the history of food) in retirement and is a scholar in residence for FHC. Mormino has not only written a number of books and monographs but, as a professor in the Florida studies program, influenced many other writers.
Although he spent his career in academia, Mormino says he always wanted to write for "a broader audience." He has done so in a number of books; his best known is Land of Sunshine, State of Dreams: A Social History of Modern Florida. He has also written extensively about immigrants in Florida and about the impact of World War II on the state — the latter being the subject of his current book project.
Mormino's writing is also familiar to readers of the Tampa Bay Times. He is a frequent contributor to the Times and other Florida newspapers as well as to the New Yorker and the New York Times.
While he was growing up in the Midwest, Mormino says, "Florida could not have been more removed from my experience. It was a fantasy. I was a St. Louis Cardinals fan as a child, and so I knew the places where they had spring training. Clearwater, Winter Haven — just the names were magical."
He earned his doctorate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Their specialty was the South, but I don't remember anybody studying Florida." Before he came to USF's Tampa campus as a new faculty member in 1977, he says, he didn't know whether Tampa was on the state's east or west coast. He even made the rookie mistake of asking about "Why-Bore City."
"Once I got here, though, I realized this was the great story of my life," he says. In 1980-81, he spent a year in Rome as a Fulbright scholar. He would read the news from Florida in those years — the Mariel boat lift, the Miami race riots, the Haitian boat people, the English-only campaign — and think, "I'm missing everything!" He has since devoted himself to writing about "the Florida dream — and the Florida nightmare."
Mormino notes that the state teems with talented writers, mentioning novelists Robert Olen Butler and Carl Hiaasen, poet David Kirby, nonfiction writer Diane Roberts and former Times Real Florida columnist Jeff Klinkenberg.
Among the biggest influences on his writing, Mormino says, are other historians. Florida historian Michael Gannon, the first winner of FHC's ward, "was a great role model." He also cites his USF colleagues Ray Arsenault, John Belohlavek and Michael Francis. What the best contemporary writers of history are doing, Mormino says, is "perfecting the art of narrative writing, telling a great story with a social purpose."
His favorite Florida writer, though, is novelist Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings. "I used The Yearling for 35 years in my Florida history classes. I think it's a book you can read as a kid and read again as an adult and always find something new."
Contact Colette Bancroft at [email protected] or (727) 893-8435. Follow @colettemb.
1. What is Mechanical Engineering?
Mechanical engineering is a discipline of engineering that applies the principles of physics and materials science for analysis, design, manufacturing, and maintenance of mechanical systems. It is the branch of engineering that involves the production and usage of heat and mechanical power for the design, production, and operation of machines and tools. It is one of the oldest and broadest engineering disciplines.
The engineering field requires an understanding of core concepts including mechanics, kinematics, thermodynamics, materials science, and structural analysis. Mechanical engineers use these core principles along with tools like computer-aided engineering and product lifecycle management to design and analyze manufacturing plants, industrial equipment and machinery, heating and cooling systems, transport systems, aircraft, watercraft, robotics, medical devices and more.
2. Which companies hire Mechanical Engineering graduates?
Black & Decker
Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Inc.
Citigroup Global Operations and Technology Management
Department of Energy
Department of Defense
Dura-Cast Products, Inc.
Ford Motor Company
Florida Department of Transportation
Jabil Circuit, Inc.
Johnson and Johnson
Kennedy Space Center/NASA
Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas Motorola
Purina PetCare Company
Pall Aeropower Corporation
SIRIUS XM Radio
Sun Hydraulics Corporation
Tampa Armature Works
Tampa Bay Trane
The Boeing Company
The ENSER Corporation
The Mosaic Company
Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.
U.S. Air Force
U.S. Peace Corps
United States Postal Service
3. What is the typical salary for a graduate with a BS, MS, or PhD degree?
National median wage estimates of Mechanical Engineers stands at $40.48 an hour with the mean annual wage at $89,800. This information reflects percentile wage estimates for Mechanical Engineers in the latest May 2016 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report (BLS).
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the average starting salary for a BSME graduate in 2017 was $63,833. Graduates with a master's degree had an average starting salary of $71,149 and PhD graduates averaged $86,470.
Read more about Engineering's Occupational Outlook
Read more about Mechanical Engineering's Occupational Outlook
4. What is the current and future industry demand for Mechanical Engineers?
The total number of ME's that are employed in the U.S. according to the BLS national poll was 278,340. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics latest projections of national employment taken in 2015 projected a 5% growth in mechanical engineering employment in the 2014-2024 time frame. Projections estimate a total of 292,100 Mechanical Engineers employed by 2024.
5. For the Bachelor of Science degree do I have to meet the FKL Capstone and Writing Intensive Exit requirements?
These six hours are automatically met by two required courses for the BSME degree – EML 4551: Capstone Design and EML 3211: Communication for Engineers.
6. What grade point average must be maintained to graduate "with honors"?
A Bachelor candidate must maintain the following:
- A USF GPA of 3.50 or higher (based on USF courses only)
- An Overall GPA of 3.50 or higher (based on USF and transfer courses combined)
- A minimum of 40 credit hours completed at USF
- The Grade Forgiveness Policy cannot be used for meeting the 3.50 GPA minimum
The three levels of undergraduate Honors classification are as follows:
- Cum Laude: 3.50-3.69 GPA
- Magna Cum Laude: 3.70-3.89 GPA
- Summa Cum Laude: 3.90-4.00 GPA
7. How do I become part of the Honors College?
Please reference and contact the Honors College.
8. What scholarships can I apply for?
Please visit our College of Engineering Scholarships page for additional information and a complete list of scholarships.
In general, the scholarships for USF engineering students are contingent upon full time enrollment in degree applicable courses. Applicants in need of additional information or assistance may contact Engineering Student Services at 813-974-2684 or visit them in Engineering Building III room 1302 (ENC 1302).
The following scholarships are specifically for Mechanical Engineering students:
Association of Facilities Engineers Scholarship
This scholarship provides support for incoming freshmen with a minimum high school GPA of 3.0 and financial need. Must have a declared intended major of Chemical Engineering, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Engineering or Mechanical Engineering; preference to students of the Central Florida area.
Engineering MATRIX Scholarship
This scholarship provides support to juniors or seniors in Mechanical, Electrical or Chemical Engineering. Must have a minimum 2.5 GPA and be a resident of Hillsborough, Pinellas or Pasco County.
John J. Desmond Jr. Mechanical Engineering Scholarship
This scholarship provides support to Mechanical Engineering students with preference given to graduates of a Florida community college. Secondary preference is given to ROTC participants or those with military experience. Recipients should be well rounded with demonstrated leadership ability. Restricted based on a combination of merit and financial need. Full time or part time currently enrolled undergraduate students.
Joost Schwaanhuyser Memorial Scholarship
This scholarship provides support to students in the Mechanical Engineering Department who have maintained an above average GPA and who have provided service to the department and college. Restricted based on a combination of merit and financial need with an emphasis on service to the College of Engineering.
Juan and Maria Gonzalez Scholarship
This scholarship provides support to full time students in the Mechanical Engineering Department.
L. A. Scott Endowed Scholarship
This scholarship provides support to students in the Mechanical Engineering Department. Priority given to students who work while attending school and have a C average (minimum 2.0 GPA).
William "W-Dot" Smith Scholarship
This scholarship provides support to full time students in the Mechanical Engineering Department. Priority is given to students with interests in thermal sciences.