Kugelman Honors Program hits a fundraising sweet spot

Amanda Gerow

Staff Writer

The UWF Kugelman Honors Program held its 2nd Annual Chocolate Tasting on Saturday in the University Commons Auditorium.

The Chocolate Talk consisted of short presentations about the history of chocolate, the manufacturing process, and the tasting and connoisseurship of chocolate.

“I’ve been doing this as a hobby for probably 15 years,” said Greg Tomso, chair of the Department of English and World Languages at UWF. “The Honors students approached me last year and said, ‘Hey, will you do a chocolate talk with us and will you do it as a fundraiser?’”

Tickets to the tasting were $15 per person or $25 per couple. Tickets were sold out by the night of the event with the expectation of 60 students and guests to attend.

The goal of the event was to raise money to send honors program students to the Southern Regional Honors Conference being held in Orlando this spring.

“This year is a very unique year for us at UWF because we are hosting this conference,” said Anthony Noll, Honors Council fundraising chair.

The conference will allow students the opportunity to learn what is happening in other programs as well as to see many presentations that will connect to the students’ specific majors. The conference also allows honors students at UWF to meet other honors students while expanding their network and presentation portfolio.

“It’s a very different feel from just attending a conference to actually hosting a conference,” Noll said. “The biggest thing for us is setting the bar for other colleges to see what we are capable of and what we are able to present to them.”

The chocolate was from almost all over the world. Cocoa beans used came from Madagascar, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela. The manufacturers of the chocolate also hail from various parts of the globe: three French manufacturers, one Italian, one Belgian, and one American.

“We help people understand how chocolate is produced and teach some of the best ways to go about appreciating all of the chocolates that we have,” Tomso said. “We treat chocolate like a fine wine.”

Some UWF students outside of the honors program attended the event as well to enjoy the sweetness of the event.

“I’m just interested to see the different varieties of chocolate, because throughout my life I’ve really only been exposed to chocolate like Hershey’s,” said Melissa Coombs, sophomore pre-nursing student.

Others were more excited to test out the quality of their palate and see how much they really knew about the quality and taste of the chocolate offered.

“I’m a huge foodie, so I spend a lot of time at places like Whole Foods,” said Hannah Mizell, sophomore arts administration major.

The honors program has held two previous fundraisers this fall: a car wash and a Twister tournament. To learn more about the Kugelman Honors Program, visit their website or Facebook page. To contact Noll about honors program fundraisers, email him at atn6@students.uwf.edu.