The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee announces a generous planned gift by Robert Purzycki of Ipswich, MA, a renowned expert on travel, tourism and the cruise industry. Bob, who graduated from USF in 1968 with a degree in Geography, created this deferred gift of $650,000 to support operations as well as need- and merit-based scholarships benefitting graduate students in the USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Hospitality and Technology Leadership (COHTL).
“This wonderful donation from someone who knows the tourism industry so well from the inside will help develop our College of Hospitality and Technology Leadership into one of the top-10 programs in the country,” said Dr. Cihan Cobanoglu, dean of the college. “We are proud to know that Bob Purzycki values our role as a unique resource for future leaders in global hospitality and technology education, innovation and research.”
Bob and his late wife, Jeanne, were world travelers and avid cruisers who spent their careers training professional travel agents, hotel administrators, airline managers and members of the travel, hospitality and cruise industries in innovative sales, marketing and customer service techniques. The couple met when Jeanne hired Bob to work for Garber, one of the largest travel agencies in Boston. In collaboration with Jeanne, who died in 2011, Bob co-authored five highly regarded books, as well as college curricula for schools in the Boston area. Dr. Cobanoglu and several USFSM students are currently helping revise and update the Purzyckis’ book “Sails for Profit”.
A native of Schenectady, New York, Bob put himself through college working as a radiologic technician before entering the travel and tourism field where he indulged his love of geography and foreign cultures. After being drafted into the US Navy during the Vietnam War, he learned Arabic and Spanish, taking advantage of postings to Spain, Greece, the Middle East and North Africa.
Having traveled to 120 countries and experienced 43 cruises, Bob says his favorite destination remains the Canadian Rockies. In addition to his passion for travel, Bob volunteers at the Ipswich Museum and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass. In memory of Jeanne’s long battle with breast cancer, he supports the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization, and a nonprofit for the prevention of animal cruelty. He visits Sarasota frequently, and particularly enjoys sharing his vast knowledge and global travel experiences with USFSM students. “The education I received at USF, nearly a half-century ago, has constantly guided and helped me navigate through the various tangents that have come my way while pursuing careers,” Bob said. “I’m proud to support the COHTL program, giving future students a chance to live their dreams.”