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University Beat

Number of Firsts at USF Spring Commencement

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While University of South Florida students taking part in spring commencement ceremonies wear caps and gowns made out of recycled materials for the first time, graduation history will be made in other ways as well.

USF Health will hold a separate ceremony for about 600 students Friday at 6 p.m. at the USF Sun Dome on the Tampa campus.

It's the first time students from the Colleges of Nursing, Public Healthy, Pharmacy and the Morsani College of Medicine march separately. It's also the first graduating class for the College of Pharmacy.

USF Tampa will award over 5,600 degrees (4,107 Bachelor's, 1,294 Masters, 202 Doctoral). Including the USF Health ceremony, 4,400 students are expected to march at the six ceremonies held at the Sun Dome.

*Friday, May 1, 9 a.m. ceremony will recognize undergraduates from the College of Arts & Sciences. Approximately 650 graduates are anticipated. *Friday, May 1, 1:30 p.m. ceremony will recognize undergraduates from the College of Arts & Sciences. Approximately 900 graduates are anticipated. *Saturday May 2, 9 a.m. ceremony will recognize undergraduate students from the Colleges of Business and Engineering. Approximately 750 graduates are anticipated. *Saturday May 2, 1:30 p.m. ceremony will recognize undergraduate students from the Colleges of Behavioral and Community Sciences, Education, The Arts and Undergraduate Studies. Approximately 750 graduates are anticipated. *Saturday May 2, 6 p.m. ceremony will recognize graduate students from Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Behavioral & Community Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, Marine Science, and The Arts. Approximately 750 graduates are anticipated.

All six ceremonies will be streamed live by USF Netcast.

USF Sarasota-Manatee commencement is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday, May 3 at the Bradenton Area Convention Center in Palmetto. 286 undergraduate and graduate degrees will be awarded, with 175 students expected to attend the ceremony.

The USF St. Petersburg commencement ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 3 at the Mahaffey Theater. 504 undergraduate and graduate degrees will be awarded, and 367 students are expected to march.

A variety of other awards will be handed out at the ceremonies.

The USF Alumni Association named an Outstanding Graduate at each campus: Economics and International Studies major Hiram Rios at USF Tampa, Accounting major Colleen Bankuty at USF Sarasota-Manatee and Journalism/Media Studies major Jennifer Nesslar at USF St. Petersburg.

Retiring Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor and former Hillsborough County Public School Superintendent MaryEllen Elia will receive the USF Distinguished Citizen Award. Opera singer Sherill Milnes will receive an Honorary Doctor of the Arts, and pharmaceutical pioneer Dr. Stephen Buchwald will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science.

USF Graduation by the Numbers

  • Over 6,300 students graduating
  • 49 states and 94 nations represented
  • Oldest graduate: Karen Rhodes, 68, Master's in Liberal Arts, USF St. Petersburg
  • Youngest graduate: Natalie Maritz, 19, Bachelors in Psychology, USF St. Petersburg
  • 25 graduates soon to be commissioned into the Armed Forces
  • 123 student veterans
  • 29 King O'Neal Scholars (4.0 GPA)
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