USF News Archive

USF System to Confer Over 6,500 Degrees in Spring Commencement

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

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.

Ahmed Mohamed

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.

Vanisaben Patel

First-generation college 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

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 Cancer Center.

Jamie Merisotis

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

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 post-doctoral students.

Full Commencement Schedule


- 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 USF Health.

- 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.

USF Sarasota-Manatee:

- Monday, May 9, 6:30 p.m., Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto, Fla. 34221.

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