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USF Spring Commencement Features New, Environmentally-friendly Regalia

Ceremonies also include Jane Castor and MaryEllen Elia receiving USF Distinguished Citizen Awards.


Photo by Aimee Blodgett


TAMPA, Fla. (April 27, 2015) – Several “firsts” will be introduced during the University of South Florida System’s spring commencement ceremonies, including changes in the gowns graduates will wear and a new, USF Health-only ceremony.

The USF System has switched to a regalia line called GreenWeaver, which makes 100 percent of its regalia from recycled plastic bottles. Each gown is made from approximately 23 plastic bottles, and in one academic year the estimated number of regalia purchased by USF students will allow for 200,000 plastic bottles to be reused.

For the first time, caps and gowns for bachelor’s degree recipients will be green and feature USF seals on the front. The regalia in previous ceremonies was plain black.

The inaugural USF Health-only ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 1, combining graduating students from the Colleges of Nursing, Public Health, Pharmacy and the Morsani College of Medicine. The ceremony will also mark the first graduating class from USF Health’s College of Pharmacy.

The USF Distinguished Citizen Award will be presented to Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor and Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent MaryEllen Elia. The USF Distinguished Citizen Award has been presented since 1974 at the President’s discretion to individuals who have distinguished public service records to the people of Florida, particularly those in the USF service area.

Castor will be recognized during the 9 a.m. ceremony on Friday, May 1, while Elia will receive her award during the 9 a.m. ceremony on Saturday, May 2.

USF System President Judy Genshaft will preside over the following ceremonies at the USF Sun Dome:

*Friday, May 1, 9 a.m. ceremony will recognize undergraduates from the College of Arts & Sciences. Approximately 650 graduates are anticipated.
*Friday, May 1, 1:30 p.m. ceremony
will recognize undergraduates from the College of Arts & Sciences. Approximately 900 graduates are anticipated.
*Friday, May 1, 6 p.m. ceremony
will recognize students from USF Health who will be receiving their bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. Approximately 600 graduates are anticipated.
*Saturday May 2, 9 a.m. ceremony will recognize undergraduate students from the Colleges of Business and Engineering. Approximately 750 graduates are anticipated.
*Saturday May 2, 1:30 p.m. ceremony will recognize undergraduate students from the Colleges of Behavioral and Community Sciences, Education, The Arts and Undergraduate Studies. Approximately 750 graduates are anticipated.
*Saturday May 2, 6 p.m. ceremony will recognize graduate students from Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Behavioral & Community Sciences, Business, Education, Engineering, Marine Science, and The Arts. Approximately 750 graduates are anticipated.

USF St. Petersburg commencement is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Sunday, May 3 at the Mahaffey Theatre. USF Sarasota-Manatee is at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 3 at the Bradenton Area Convention Center.

Total degrees to be conferred for spring 2015 semester include (approximate totals):
USF System: 6,358
USF Tampa: 5,606 (Bachelor’s: 4,107, Master’s: 1,294, Doctoral: 202)
USF St. Petersburg: 479
USF Sarasota-Manatee: 245

Awards and Special Recognition

-Internationally-known scientist Dr. Stephen Buchwald, whose work is recognized as influencing virtually every pharmaceutical company on a daily basis, will be presented with an Honorary Doctor of Science at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 2. Buchwald has coauthored 45 issued patents and more than 430 published or accepted papers. He has significant ties to USF’s Chemistry Department, where he has served as a lecturer and a postdoctoral mentor for faculty members.

-Proclaimed opera singer Sherrill Milnes will be presented with an Honorary Doctor of the Arts at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 2. He has won three Grammy Awards, sung more than 650 performances at the Met and continues to run the Sherrill Milnes VOICE Programs, which he cofounded with his wife to train aspiring young artists.

-Dr. Peter Levin will receive the President’s Fellow Medallion at 6 p.m. on Friday, May 1. Levin founded USF Health’s College of Public Health 30 years ago. The President’s Fellow Medallion is awarded at the President’s discretion to highly distinguished meritorious individuals.

-Four-time national scholarship recipient Hiram Rios will receive the Outstanding Graduate Award, which is given each semester by the USF Alumni Association. Rios will graduate with a bachelor’s in economics as well as international studies. Rios will spend the summer working for the U.S. State Departmental Bureau of East-Asian Pacific Affairs in the Office of China and Mongolian Affairs, after which he will pursue a master’s degree in international affairs at Harvard University.


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