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University Beat

5,000 USF Students Set To Graduate

Commencement ceremony
University of South Florida
More than 5,000 students will receive their degrees during the University of South Florida’s commencement convocation through Monday, including four ceremonies Friday and Saturday in the Yuengling Center in Tampa. COURTESY USF";

More than 5,000 students will receive their degrees during the University of South Florida’s 119th commencement convocation.

The seven ceremonies, which take place from Friday through Monday, will include 4,378 students at USF Tampa, 465 at USF St. Petersburg and 245 at USF Sarasota-Manatee.

The graduates come from 49 U.S. states and 98 countries. There are 248 student veterans among the graduates, including Grete Cole, a U.S Air Force veteran and the only student from a Florida university in this year’s class of Pat Tillman scholars. 2017 Tillman scholar Joshua Pericles, a U.S. Army veteran, will receive his bachelors in computer science.

Two octogenarians are members of the graduating class.

Dionel Cotanda, 81, came to Tampa from his native Cuba in 1960. He followed his three daughters when they attended USF in the 1980s and received a bachelor’s in international studies in 1988 and a master’s in communication in 1998. He’ll get his doctorate in communication in Tampa Saturday.

Man smiles on college campus.
Way Bandy, 81, will receive a bachelor degree in General Studies Sunday in St. Petersburg. He's one of two octogenarians receiving a diploma from USF this weekend. COURTESY USF ST. PETERSBURG

Way Bandy, 81, dropped out of college in 1978 to get married and raise three children. When he dropped out, he promised his parents and himself that he would return to get his degree one day. Bandy will receive a degree in General Studies in St. Petersburg on Sunday.

The youngest graduates are both 19. 

Khubaib Farooq who came to the U.S. from Pakistan four years ago. He’ll graduate magna cum laude Saturday in Tampa with a bachelor of science in business analytics and information systems with a concentration in cybersecurity.

Madison Angelo will receive a bachelor of science in marketing.

Two of the campuses also named an Outstanding Graduate.

USF St. Petersburg: Jake Burklew, a first in his family college student, worked multiple jobs and volunteered at poor performing St. Pete schools while going to school. He’ll receive a Bachelor’s of Science in Education with a dual certification in Elementary Education (K-6) and Exceptional Student Education (K-12).

Man smiles.
Bashar Roumia, who fled violence in his homeland of Syria, was named USF Sarasota-Manatee's Outstanding Graduate. COURTESY USF SARASOTA-MANATEE

USF Sarasota-Manatee: Bashar Roumia is a biology student who fled violence in his home country in Syria. In addition to being named USFSM’s Outstanding Graduate, Roumia is a King O’Neal Scholar Award recipient for posting a 4.0 grade point average.

Full commencement schedule
USF Tampa, Yuengling Center

  • Friday, Dec. 13, 6 p.m. ceremony includes bachelor’s degree recipients from the College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Saturday, Dec. 14, 9 a.m. ceremony includes bachelor’s degree candidates for Colleges of Nursing, Public Health and Arts and Sciences.
  • Saturday, Dec. 14, 1:30 p.m. ceremony includes bachelor’s degree recipients from the Colleges of Behavioral and Community Sciences, Education, Engineering, The Arts, Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Muma College of Business.
  • Saturday, Dec. 14, 6 p.m. ceremony for master’s, specialist and doctoral degree recipients from all colleges.

USF St. Petersburg, Mahaffey Theatre

  • Sunday, Dec. 15, 1 p.m. ceremony includes graduates from the Kate Tiedemann College of Business and the College of Education.
  • Sunday, Dec. 15, 5 p.m. ceremony includes graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences.

USF Sarasota-Manatee, Bradenton Area Convention Center

  • Monday, Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m. ceremony includes all graduates from USFSM’s four colleges: Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, Business, Science & Mathematics, and Hospitality & Tourism Leadership

female U.S. Air Force nurse in the desert in front of a cargo plane
USAF veteran Grete Cole will receive a master's in Nurse Anesthesia. Cole is the only student from a Florida university in this year's class of Pat Tillman Scholars. COURTESY USF