Councilor Patricia Plantamura (center) with daughter, Jamie, and husband, Greg, at MLK Plaza, USF Tampa.
SEMINOLE – Councilor Patricia Plantamura raised a glass to the statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the center of the University of South Florida campus.
“I chose this spot because I have often walked through this plaza as a Political Science student and was inspired by Dr. King’s words,” said the city of Seminole official.
The inscription on the statue reads “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. Written on a wall at the far end of the plaza is the full text of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Plantamura was celebrating the completion of her master’s degree with family and friends at USF in Tampa. The university’s 100th commencement ceremony took place in the same month which acknowledges the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s participation in the March on Washington, and his historic speech.
The bust at MLK Plaza provides inspiration to all who pass by. Like so many women balancing family and career, it took Plantamura a good deal of inspiration and persistence to finish her graduate degree. While she has been twice elected to the Seminole Council, a graduate degree was a personal dream which she aspired to for many years.
“As one of nine children raised on a Nebraska farm,” Plantamura recalled, “no one in my family expected to attend college–especially the girls”. In spite of this, she enrolled at the University of Nebraska, and four years later she held a Bachelors Degree in Political Science. Plantamura spent a year as an exchange student in Mexico City as part of her undergraduate degree. Her education served her in employment in law enforcement and teaching. The graduate’s passion for political studies in college led her to serving on Seminole’s City Council since 2009.
“We settled into our home in Seminole, and even after my daughter was out on her own, it still was hard to find time for grad school,” reflected Plantamura. Her husband Greg joked, “Before she earned her MA degree, she earned her MOM degree.”
At an August City Council meeting, Plantamura expressed expectation that her added educational experience, in the field of Comparative Government and Politics specifically, will enable her to better serve the city.