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6,545 To Receive Degrees During USF's Commencement Ceremonies

Students in graduation regalia on the floor of the Yuengling Center.
Mark Schreiner
WUSF Public Media
Students at a commencement ceremony in the USF Sun Dome in December 2015.

The University of South Florida starts four days worth of Spring Commencement exercises, the 108th commencement convocation, with three ceremonies on the Tampa campus Friday.

"This is what we're all about, is commencement," said USF President Judy Genshaft, who'll attend every ceremony. "And we're just so pleased that so many people are participating, but the fact is we're graduating more students than ever before, it's all a huge celebration for not only the University of South Florida system, but for the state of Florida."

By the time it's done, about 6,545 degrees will be awarded -- 5,803 from USF, 480 from USF St. Petersburg and 262 from USF Sarasota-Manatee. More than 5,000 students are expected to walk in the exercises.

USF will confer 4,366 bachelor's degrees, 1,235 master's, 198 doctoral degrees and four specialist degrees.

"Our students, our faculty, our staff have thoroughly embraced the importance of progression, timely progression to degree and moving out into the community to fuel Tampa Bay's and Florida's economy for the future," said Provost Ralph Wilcox.

There are two undergraduate ceremonies at the Sun Dome for the College of Arts and Sciences during the day Friday and a ceremony for USF Health Friday night.

Two other undergraduate ceremonies, as well as one for graduate students, follow in Tampa on Saturday. There are two ceremonies for USF St. Petersburg Sunday and one last commencement for USF Sarasota-Manatee Monday. A ceremony April 21 at the Straz Center honored MD students at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. 

Twenty-seven undergraduates will be honored as USF System King O'Neal recipients for having 4.0 GPA's.

That includes spring's youngest graduate, 18-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, who is graduating with degrees in both biomedical science and political science. He's going on to pursue his medical degree from the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and his law degree at Stetson University. He's the first student to pursue those two degrees simultaneously as part of a specially designed program.

We'll speak to Mohamed on University Beat on WUSF TV at 6:30 p.m. Sunday and on WUSF 89.7 Tuesday.

Dr. Ernest Boger, USF's first black graduate in 1965, will receive the President's Fellow Medallion.

Other honorary degrees will be awarded to Florida Sen. Nancy Detert; John Ramil, president/CEO of TECO Energy and USF Trustee; Jamie Merisotis, president/CEO of the Lumina Foundation; Dr. James Martinez, the recent owner of Fletcher Medical Center Pharmacy; and Samuel Philander, Knox-Taylor professor of geosciences at Princeton University.

Full Commencement Schedule

USF (Sun Dome):
- 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, St Petersburg

USF Sarasota-Manatee:
- Monday, May 9, 6:30 p.m., Bradenton Area Convention Center, Palmetto

You can find more information, including a link to a live webstream of the Tampa ceremonies at usf.edu/commencement. Graduates are invited to share their graduation moments from the weekend by using #‎USFGRAD.

Mark Schreiner is the assistant news director and intern coordinator for WUSF News.
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