TAMPA, Fla. (May 2, 2016) – The University of South Florida System will
confer more than 6,500 degrees during spring commencement ceremonies May
6-9. More than 4,700 graduates are
expected to participate.
USF System President Judy
Genshaft will preside over six ceremonies at the USF Sun Dome, as well as
ceremonies at USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee, which represent the
university’s 108th commencement convocation.
Approximately 6,545 degrees
will be awarded, including 5,803 from USF, 480 from USF St. Petersburg and 262
from USF Sarasota-Manatee. USF will confer 4,366 bachelor’s degrees, 1,235
master’s degrees, 198 doctoral degrees and four specialist degrees.
Dr. Ernest Boger, a Tampa
native who was USF’s first black graduate in 1965, will receive the President’s
Fellow Medallion. Boger’s work within
the hospitality and tourism industry is highly decorated, including recognition
by the American Hotel & Lodging
Association as Certified Hotel Administrator
Emeritus. The honor is the pinnacle of
recognition for lifetime hotel industry professionalism and is held by less
than 25 individuals worldwide. Boger is
the only African American to hold the distinction. Boger currently works as the
chairman and an associate professor in the Department of Hospitality and
Tourism Management at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Spring 2016’s youngest
graduate is Ahmed Mohamed, 18, who will earn bachelor’s degrees in biomedical
sciences and political science. Mohamed is one of 27 USF System King O’Neal
recipients, an honor presented to undergraduates with a 4.0 GPA. Mohamed
will be the first student to pursue MD and JD degrees in a specially designed
program offered by the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Stetson
University College of Law.
student Vanisaben Patel will receive the USF Alumni Association’s Outstanding
Graduate Award. Patel will graduate with
a double major in biomedical sciences and public health, as well as a minor in
leadership studies. A member of the Honors College, Patel’s time at USF
included lung cancer research at Shriner’s Hospital, mentoring for the
Intercultural Student Leadership and receiving the Peer Leader award from the
Department of Chemistry. Patel plans to attend medical school.
The outstanding graduate for USF St. Petersburg is Julia Strauss, earning a bachelor's in psychology. Receiving the award for USF Sarasota-Manatee is Lauren Henry, who will graduate with a bachelor's in business.
Four distinguished individuals
will receive honorary doctorates from USF, including:
Dr. James Martinez, the
recent owner of Fletcher Medical Center Pharmacy, will receive an honorary
doctorate of pharmacy. A registered
pharmacist for 50 years, Martinez has provided pharmaceutical care to USF
Athletics and USF Sports Medicine for many years, and was an early advocate for
a College of Pharmacy at USF. Further
evidence of his commitment to the university is demonstrated by the
establishment of the first endowed scholarship at the USF College of Pharmacy,
the James and Sylvia Martinez Endowed Scholarship.
John Ramil, president and
chief executive officer of TECO Energy, will receive an honorary doctorate of
engineering. Ramil is the
longest-tenured member of USF’s Board of Trustees and serves on multiple boards
of directors, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida and Moffitt
Jamie Merisotis, will receive
an honorary doctorate of education.
Merisotis is president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, one of the largest
private foundations in the U.S. and a driving force for success in higher
education. When USF formed a Student
Success Task Force and launched a campus-wide initiative, the accelerated path
to degree completion aligned with and supported Lumina Foundation’s goal to
raise degree attainment to 60 percent by 2025.
In recent years, USF’s graduation rate has risen to record levels while
successfully closing the achievement gap and ensuring students succeed at the
same rate regardless of race, ethnicity or income.
Samuel Philander, the
Knox-Taylor professor of geosciences at Princeton University, will receive an
honorary doctorate of marine science.
Recognized as an influential and creative scientist, Philander’s
research focuses ocean and atmosphere, climate change and global warming. Philander is a regular contributor to the USF
College of Marine Science through seminars and interactions with graduate and
- Friday, May 6, 9 a.m. ceremony will recognize undergraduates from
the College of Arts & Sciences.
- Friday, May 6, 1:30 p.m. ceremony will recognize undergraduates
from the College of Arts & Sciences.
- Friday, May 6, 6 p.m. ceremony will recognize all graduates from
- Saturday, May 7, 9 a.m. ceremony will recognize undergraduates
from the Colleges of Business and Engineering.
- Saturday, May 7, 1:30 p.m. ceremony will recognize undergraduates
from the Colleges of Behavioral and Community Sciences, Education,
Undergraduate Studies, and The Arts.
- Saturday, May 7, 6 p.m. ceremony will recognize graduate students
from Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Behavioral & Community Sciences,
Business, Education, Engineering, Global Sustainability, Graduate Studies,
Marine Science, and The Arts.
USF St. Petersburg:
- Sunday, May 8, ceremonies begin at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., Mahaffey
Theatre, 400 1st St. S., St Petersburg, Fla. 33701.
- Monday, May 9, 6:30 p.m., Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1
Haben Blvd., Palmetto, Fla. 34221.