News Channel

USF System Confers Nearly 3,000 Degrees in Aug. 6 Commencement Ceremonies

USF trustee Harold Mullis and internationally-recognized nursing innovator Loretta Ford received special recognition.

TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 2, 2016) -- The University of South Florida System conferred nearly 3,000 degrees during summer 2016 commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Aug. 6.  USF System President Judy Genshaft presided over two ceremonies at the USF Sun Dome, with more than 1,500 graduates participating. 

Approximately 2,924 degrees were awarded during the university’s 109th commencement convocation, including 2,636 for USF, 200 for USF St. Petersburg and 88 for USF Sarasota-Manatee.  The youngest graduate is a 19 year old receiving a bachelor’s in management. The oldest graduate is a 69 year old receiving a bachelor’s in psychology.  The graduates represent 45 states and 79 nations. 

Current USF Board of Trustee (BOT) member and former Chair Harold Mullis received the President’s Fellow Medallion during the 9 a.m. ceremony.  The President’s Fellow Medallion is awarded at the President’s discretion to highly distinguished individuals.

A founding member of the Trenam Kemkar law firm, Mullis is now the president of the firm 45 years later. He has been included in the listings of Best Lawyers in America, Florida Super Lawyers and Florida Legal Elite. During his tenure as BOT chair, more than $60 million in major gifts were announced for the university and research funding increased to more than $440 million.  Mullis has served in leadership positions throughout the Tampa Bay community, including Berkeley Preparatory School, Tampa General Hospital, LifeLink Foundation and the Florida Council of 100. 

Internationally-known nursing leader Loretta Ford received an honorary doctorate in nursing during the 1:30 p.m. ceremony. Her research in public health nursing led to the creation of the first Pediatric Nurse Practitioner model of advanced practice at the University of Colorado Medical Center. More than 205,000 nurse practitioners in the U.S. and nearly 350 universities have implemented nurse practitioner academic programs based on her research, including the USF Health College of Nursing. Ford has authored more than 200 publications and presentations, and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2011.

The USF Alumni Association’s Outstanding Graduate is Patrick Mullen, who received his bachelor’s in biomedical sciences from USF.  Mullen has already earned several awards, including the Golden Bull Award for exceptional leadership and service, the Honors Research Award and the Dean’s List of Scholars. He has also worked as a neurological researcher, chemistry tutor and in a leadership role with Seva for Kids, a club that raises money and recruits volunteers to sponsor education services to underserviced areas of India.

Graduates and ceremony attendees were encouraged to use #USFGRAD on social media posts.

Full Commencement Schedule:

*9 a.m. ceremony recognized bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral recipients from USF’s Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, The Arts and Undergraduate Studies.  Bachelor’s and master’s recipients from all of USF St. Petersburg’s colleges were recognized. 

*1:30 p.m. ceremony recognized bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral recipients from USF’s Colleges of Behavioral and Community Sciences, Education, Engineering, Graduate Studies, Global Sustainability, Marine Science, Medicine, Nursing and Public Health.  Bachelor’s and master’s recipients from all of USF Sarasota-Manatee’s colleges were recognized. 

For more information, visit

USF News is produced by University Communications and Marketing.

To submit content, please review our Editorial Plans.