USF inducts Korean War veteran Frank Morsani into 2018 Hall of Honor

Frank Morsani, attending the ceremony with wife Carol, was among 16 new inductees to USF’s Next Greatest Generation Veteran Fund Hall of Honor. The Morsanis stand next to a poster summarizing his military service during the Korean War.

The University of South Florida honored military veterans past and present at a ceremony held Nov. 6 – Election Day – inducting 16 new members into the 2018 Next Greatest Generation Veteran Fund Hall of Honor.

“What better day than this to honor those who have sacrificed to keep our country safe and retain for us the privileges of freedom… including the right to vote,” said Steve Blair, vice president of development for the USF Foundation.

Among the inductees was Korean War veteran Frank Morsani, who attended the ceremony at the USF Marshall Student Center with his wife Carol.  USF Health’s medical college and its Center for Advanced Healthcare on the Tampa campus are named after the Morsanis.

Larry Braue, EdD, director of the USF Office of Veteran Success, welcomed honored military veterans and guests to the ceremony.

“Many of you know Frank from his business success or his philanthropic work.  I know him as a kind and humble man who willingly took his personal time to teach, coach and mentor our student veterans,” said Larry Braue, EdD, director of the USF Office of Veteran Success.  “His military service shaped his life and helped build his foundation of lifelong service to others.”

Frank Morsani served as a U.S. Navy Petty Officer Second Class during the Korean War, working as a ship welder and later stationed in the Sea of Japan as an aviation hydraulic mechanic, including performing round-the-clock, combated-related aircraft repairs. When he returned to the U.S., he was assigned to an aircraft squadron that developed and evaluated air tactics and techniques for the delivery of special weapons.

Among the military veterans receiving special recognition at the 2018 Honor Roll induction ceremony were, from left: Anthony Ekonomou, Technician 4, U.S. Army; Thomas Gates, Capt., U.S. Air Force; James Rutherford, Capt., U.S. Navy; O. Eugene Powell, Col, U.S. Army; Dr. Karen Berkman (representing father Harold Berkman, Staff Sgt., U.S. Army), Frank Morsani, Petty Officer 2, U.S Navy; Miguel Lopez, Sgt. First Class, U.S. Army; and Robert (Bob) Sullins, Col., U.S. Army.

The Next Greatest Generation Veteran Fund, launched last year by the Office of Veteran Success, provides programs and services, including competitive academic awards and scholarships, to help veterans successfully transition from military life to college campus to a career.

The fund extends a helping hand from the generation of veterans called to duty in the 20th century (World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and the Gulf War) to USF students who have served in the 21st century, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  “By contributing to this fund,” Braue said, “donors make a tangible difference in the lives of our student veterans, helping provide crucial support during a time of critical transition.”

A roll call of military veteran inductees, living and deceased, was done by USF student veterans Joshua Pericles (left) and Stephanie Bauman, both Pat Tillman scholars.

The 16 veterans, living and deceased, inducted into the Class of 2018 Hall of Honor join the 27 charter veterans inducted last year (Class of 2017). The name, rank, branch and time of service for each combat veteran memorialized by family members or friends is engraved in plaque permanently displayed in the Office of Veteran Success.

Veteran-centered programs continue to expand for the approximately 1,850 student veterans currently enrolled at USF.  For the last four years, Military Times magazine has ranked USF as one of the top two universities in the country for student veterans. Click here for latest rankings.

Inductee Miguel Lopez (holding poster) is surrounded by family and friends. Lopez, a Vietnam War veteran who served in the U.S. Army, is the father of Rose Bland (far left), director of the USF Shimberg Health Sciences Library.

USF Vice President of Development Steve Blair with the poster of his father James Blair, a Class of 2018 Honor Roll inductee, who served as a U.S. Navy aviation ordnanceman during the Korean War.

The Next Greatest Generation Veteran Fund Honor Roll was launched in 2017 by the USF Office of Veteran Success to honor veterans from the 20th century, while providing much-needed support to USF student veterans of the 21st century.

-Photos by Eric Younghans, USF Health Communications and Marketing