External Affairs serves to connect our campus in collaborative partnership with local organizations to address issues that positively impact our community. We believe that through this engagement, our students, faculty and staff become knowledgeable, involved citizens within the community we serve and will contribute meaningfully to the overall social and economic success of the region, state and nation.
Community engagement is at the core of our mission, vision and strategic plan as a university. The Office of Community Engagement supports these institutional values by:
- Assessing community needs
- Developing and coordinating strategic, mutually beneficial partnerships
- Reporting and reflecting on the impact of these collaborations to our university and the communities that we serve
Who We Are
Casey Welch, Assistant Vice President for External Affairs and Government Relation
Casey Welch serves as the Assistant Vice President for External Affairs and Government
Relations at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. As a member of the
University of South Florida System Office of Government Relations he serves as the
official liaison between USF Sarasota-Manatee and government entities. Under External
Affairs he oversees Community Engagement and Corporate Partnership activities for
Also, he is the Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Leadership at USF Sarasota-Manatee (IPPL). The Institute engages strong academic resources at USF as well as local, national and global experts to guide a dynamic exchange of ideas about important policy and leadership issues. IPPL hosts lecture series, policy forums, seminars and workshops to stimulate meaningful, civil discussion and promote public discourse in our community. As the leader of IPPL he serves on the Government Issues Council of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, the Career Edge Regional Workforce Council, the Government Affairs Committee of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance and Chair of the Legislative Committee for the Manatee Chamber of Commerce.
Before joining USFSM in 2011, he served as Deputy Legislative Director for the office of Congressman Adam Putnam who represented the 12th District; which included portions of the Tampa Bay area and central Florida in the United States House of Representatives. Prior to his position in Washington, D.C., he worked in the Florida House of Representatives and the office of Florida Governor Jeb Bush. He also represented two of Florida’s largest agricultural trade associations at the U.S. Congress and various federal agencies. He is a graduate of the Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History. He is a Sarasota native who is a past president of the Florida 4-H Foundation and a member of the Mote Marine Laboratory Advisory Council.
Jay Riley, Director of Business Outreach and Engagement
Jay Riley is the Director of Business Outreach and Engagement as part of External Affairs at USF Sarasota-Manatee; works with current and potential partners across the USF System service area to strategically identify and access the institution’s vast resources. He works closely with students, faculty and staff to effectively manage mutually beneficial partnerships between the university and stakeholders. He also oversees three student programs at USFSM: the Student Ambassadors, the Rowing Club, and the Rocky the Bull mascot program. Prior to his current role, he served as the Director of Alumni Affairs at USFSM for 10 years.
He is a graduate of Mansfield University with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications and Public Relations. His professional background includes media relations, community relations, promotions, business development, and marketing in the hospitality and tourism, Florida Citrus and sports industries. He has lived and worked in Sarasota for more than 20 years and serves on many non-profit and professional boards in the community.