Success Stories

By Daylina Miller


TAMPA, Fl. (May 24,  2010) -- The University of South Florida welcomed its greatest number of participants at this spring's commencement ceremonies; this represents the largest number of students who applied to graduate in the university's history.


Among the 5,608 degrees – 4,908 from Tampa – there were many students with interesting stories to share from their life and college career, from a brain cancer survivor aspiring to be a doctor to twin sisters in a set of quadruplets who both majored in psychology. Here are just a few of them.


Darren Michael Klawinski is a brain cancer survivor who was told he may have learning disabilities after a peach-sized tumor was removed from his cerebellum at the age of 12. Determined to prove his doctors wrong, he graduated with honors and starts medical school at Florida State University on June 1. Click here to see Klawinski’s story.


Music major Preston Beebe was denied twice to get into USF but was accepted after being awarded a music scholarship by Professor Robert McCormick, who saw his talent during an audition into the School of Arts. Preston went on to triple-major in music and play for notable bands and orchestras in the Tampa Bay area. Click here to see Beebe’s story.


Irena and Sanela Dedovic are twin sisters and both majored in psychology. They are two of a set of quadruplet sisters. Both are saving up money to apply to grad school next spring after Irena returns from her year-long nanny job in Turkey. Meanwhile, Sanela is working in Tampa as a research assistant. Click here to see the Dedovic’s story.


USF’s youngest graduate this spring was 19-year-old Kristen Shalosky who earned a bachelor’s degree in international business. But Kristen didn’t short herself – she went to both high school and college all four years, participating in clubs, sports and Study Abroad. Click here to see Shalosky’s story.





The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The university offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The USF System has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.