USF Alumni Association Announces 2014 Alumni Award Recipients

Daytona International Speedway president, former Tampa mayor, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection to be recognized.

TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 19, 2014) The USF Alumni Association is pleased to announce the recipients of the University of South Florida 2014 Alumni Awards, presented by NorthStar Bank. Through their professional accomplishments and personal service, six honorees were selected as representatives of the university’s core values of student success, community engagement and global impact. The USF Alumni Award recipients will receive their awards at a banquet held in their honor at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 9 in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom.

This year’s recipients are:

Joel “Joie” Chitwood III, MBA `95 – Distinguished Alumnus Award

Recognizing a USF alumnus who has reached the pinnacle of success in his/her career

Joie Chitwood is a leading motorsports industry executive who is president of International Speedway Corporation’s flagship facility, Daytona International Speedway. He sits on the Motorsports Hall of Fame America Board of Trustees and the Sports Executive Leadership Conference Advisory Committee. Among his many roles in the racing industry, Chitwood was previously president and COO of the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He was the third generation of his family to perform in the legendary Chitwood Thrill Show, which entertained audiences across the United States for decades. He was named to SportsBusiness Journal’s “Forty Under 40” in 2009, Indianapolis Business Journal’s “Under 40” in 2007, and was a University of South Florida College of Business Celebration of Free Enterprise Honoree in 2005. Chitwood is a member of the USF Alumni Association and served as the keynote speaker for the inaugural USF Fast 56 in 2013.

Pam Iorio, MA `01 – Distinguished Alumnus Award

Recognizing a USF alumnus who has reached the pinnacle of success in his/her career

Pam Iorio is an author, speaker, community leader and president/CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. She served two terms as mayor of Tampa from 2003-11 and was integral in the development of the Tampa Bay History Center, Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park and Tampa Riverwalk, in addition to guiding revitalization efforts in downtown Tampa and east Tampa. During her tenure, the city of Tampa hosted a Super Bowl, landed the 2012 Republican National Convention, and enjoyed a dramatic reduction in its crime rate. Iorio began her political career at age 26 as the youngest person ever elected to the Hillsborough County Commission. She also was elected three times to the Office of Supervisor of Elections for Hillsborough County. She is the daughter of the late John J. Iorio, a beloved professor at the University of South Florida, and Dorothy Iorio, who earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at USF. Iorio is a member of the USF Foundation Board of Directors and USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy. Iorio and her husband, Mark Woodard, are Life Members of the USF Alumni Association.

Richard “Gil” Kerlikowske, Jr. BA `78 & MA `85 – Distinguished Alumnus Award

Recognizing a USF alumnus who has reached the pinnacle of success in his/her career

Gil Kerlikowske is the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and has more than 40 years of law enforcement experience. He previously served as director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He has been chief of police in four cities: Port St. Lucie, FL; Fort Pierce, FL; Buffalo, NY; and Seattle, WA. He also served as deputy director of the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Justice Department. During his nine-year tenure as chief of police in Seattle, WA, he was credited with helping to reduce the city’s crime rate and stabilizing the police department after the 1999 World Trade Organization riots. He also led the national nonprofit organization, Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, while chief in Seattle, and grew its membership dramatically during his time at the helm. Kerlikowske grew up in Fort Myers, FL, and began his law enforcement career with the St. Petersburg Police Department, where he worked while earning his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at USF. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from USF in 2010.

Michele Norris, BA `79 – Donald A. Gifford Service Award

Recognizing a USF alumnus who has provided countless hours of service to USF

Michele Norris is a leadership coach who specializes in cross-generational consulting in corporate cultures. After a career of more than 30 years in professional sales and leadership roles for companies such as Xerox, ADP and Boise Cascade/Office Max, Norris founded Navigen Leadership, where she uses her expertise to help companies prepare for the major demographic shifts taking place in the U.S. workforce. In addition to a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from USF, Norris completed the Coach Certification program at the University of Miami and serves as a coach for USF’s Management Certificate program and the University of Tampa’s MBA Leadership and Fast Start programs. She is responsible for bringing the Women Reshaping the World conference to Tampa in November, an international movement that fosters collaborative, holistic decision making and empowers women to speak out on important issues of the day. Norris is a founding member and former chair of USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy and volunteered for a decade with the USF Alumni Association Board of Directors, serving as its president in 2008-09. Norris has donated generously to USF scholarships, most notably the WLP Sandra Skinner Scholarship, which supports USF Tampa students majoring in Early Childhood Development. Norris and her husband Randy are Life Members of the USF Alumni Association. Randy serves as treasurer of the alumni board and Michele continues to serve on several committees.

Monique D. Hayes, BA `01 – Outstanding Young Alumnus

Recognizing a younger (35 years old or younger) USF graduate alumnus for his/her outstanding professional achievements

Monique D. Hayes is a Miami-based attorney, writer and commentator on business bankruptcy issues. She is an associate with the law firm of Genovese Joblove & Battista, P.A. and a member of the American Bar Association, the American Bankruptcy Institute, the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation and the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. Bar Association. She also is a member of the ABA Business Bankruptcy Committee and serves as its 2013-2015 Fellow. Hayes has been a guest lecturer for USF’s Law and Legal Careers class and is an advocate for law student outreach. Hayes is a member of the Junior League of Miami, the Miami Foundation Fellows Class 7, and serves on the board of Kristi’s House, a child advocacy center in Miami. After earning her Bachelor's degree at USF, Hayes earned her law degree at the University of Miami. Hayes’ honors include: the Blackshear Fellowship Award, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, 2007; 40 Under 40 Outstanding Lawyers of Miami-Dade County, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 2010; IWIRC Rising Star Award, 2011; Sojourner Truth Award, Miami-Dade Business & Professional Women’s Alliance, 2013; “Top 20 Professionals Under 40,” Brickell Magazine, 2014; and “40 Under 40 Leaders of Today and Tomorrow,” Legacy Magazine, 2014. She has also been recognized as a Florida Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine and a “Top Up and Comer” in Florida Trend’s Florida Legal Elite.

Frank J. “Sandy” Rief III – Class of `56 Award

Recognizing a non-USF graduate who has provided outstanding service to USF and the community

Sandy Rief is a trust and estate attorney with Akerman LLP, a national trial and transaction law firm with an office in downtown Tampa. He is actively involved in the Tampa Bay community, serving as a trustee for the Frank E. Duckwall Foundation and has been instrumental in facilitating gifts from the foundation to the university in excess of $1 million. Rief has personally donated generously to USF Public Broadcasting, USF Health, USF St. Petersburg, the USF Library and the colleges of Arts & Sciences, Business and Visual and Performing Arts, now known as College of The Arts. Rief is currently a member of the USF Foundation Board of Directors and the College of Arts & Sciences Advisory Committee. Rief earned his Bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University, his law degree from the University of Florida and a Master of Laws degree from New York University. He is a member of both the Florida Bar and the American Bar Association and has served as an instructor of estate planning for the ABA’s American Law Institute. He received the Legacy Award from the Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Red Cross in 2001 and the Business in the Arts Award from the Tampa Bay Business Committee for the Arts in 2005.

About the USF Alumni Association

The USF Alumni Association is a self-funded, nonprofit organization comprised of former students and friends of the University of South Florida. Our mission is to provide meaningful ways for USF Bulls to support protect and promote their University. There are more than 280,000 USF alumni worldwide. For more information, log on to, like our Facebook page at or follow us on Twitter @USFAlumniAssn.