A Message to the Community from USF President Judy Genshaft:


On behalf of the University of South Florida’s students, faculty and staff, I offer my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the four USF students who lost their lives in an automobile collision on Sunday morning. Mere words cannot convey the depth of shock and sadness this terrible event brings to all who knew and cherished these wonderful young men – Dammie Yesudhas, Imtiyaz “Jim” Ilias, Ankeet Patel and Jobin Kuriakose – who were fraternity brothers in Sigma Beta Rho.


Our hearts are heavy at the loss of such bright, energetic and optimistic young people who had promising futures ahead of them; to have their lives cut tragically short betrays our sense of fairness and security. Now is the time when our faith and the support of those closest to us can sustain us, and should in tribute to their spirit of friendship and brotherhood.


The
USF Counseling Center is available to provide services and resources to students who are struggling with the loss of friends and classmates. I encourage anyone who is in despair or simply feels the need to talk to reach out to the counseling center at (813) 974-2831 for either individual or group counseling. Assistance is available 24-hours a day and on weekends. For faculty and staff who have been touched by this tragedy, the Employee Assistance Program stands ready to help at 1-800-327-8705.


The following is the text of President Genshaft's remarks at the Feb. 13 memorial service held by the USF chapter of Sigma Beta Rho:


Good afternoon – and thank you everyone who has come together to support the families through this terrible tragedy.


To the families of Dammie, Jim, Ankeet and Jobin: Our deepest sympathies as well as our thoughts and prayers have been with you this week.


In the unfathomable grief and pain that I know you must feel, I can only hope that you have also felt the love and the tremendous outpouring of support that has come from the entire USF community.


As a parent and as a university president, I know there is nothing more important than the safety of your children – even when they are grown, capable and independent young men and women.


These young men represented the hopes and dreams of their families, and in so many ways they represented all that is bright and promising in all USF students.


They had their whole futures ahead of them, just as so many students gathered here today do.


They loved their fraternity brothers and their friends. They were devoted to their families. They were involved in campus activities and in their colleges.


They were going to make the world a better place – in fact they made the world a better place just by being here and touching the lives that they did.


We are shaken to our core – and as we look to remember and their lives, let us remember their spirit of friendship and unity.


We can draw strength from their inspiration, and in doing so honor their memory.


We will also honor these young men by awarding them the degrees they worked so hard to earn here at USF.


At this spring’s commencement, Dammie Yesudhas will be awarded two posthumous degrees: the BS in Mechanical Engineering and the BA in Mathematics.


We will also award Degrees In Memoriam to:


Ankeet Patel, who will be awarded the BS in Memoriam.


Jobin Kuriakose will be awarded the BA in Memoriam.


Imtiyaz “Jim” Ilias will be awarded the BS in Memoriam.


They were a part of our family at USF, and they will remain part of the USF community forever.


Thank you.