SARASOTA, Fla. (May 5, 2020)– For the first time in its history, the University of South Florida will hold virtual commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 9, to recognize thousands of graduates from its three campuses who are unable to participate in traditional, in-person ceremonies due to the coronavirus pandemic.
USF President Steven Currall will preside over virtual ceremonies for campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee that will confer nearly 7,500 degrees. The ceremonies will be available for online viewing beginning at 10 a.m. on May 9 through the USF commencement website.
Each virtual ceremony will include many elements that are traditional for an in-person ceremony, including remarks from President Currall and the regional chancellor of each campus, comments from each campus’ student body president, and recognition of the Outstanding Graduate Award winners and graduates who earned a 4.0 GPA. Degrees will be conferred by displaying the names of each graduate on screen instead of graduates walking across a stage one at a time.
“The class of 2020 has shown great resiliency in overcoming the challenges presented by COVID-19 to complete their degrees,” said USF Sarasota-Manatee campus Regional Chancellor Karen A. Holbrook, PhD. “We are exceptionally proud of this special group of students that will now continue their career journeys as members of our workforce and communities. We are all disappointed that we cannot celebrate this great accomplishment in person with our students and their families at this time.”
The USF Sarasota-Manatee campus will award 280 degrees on May 9 from its four colleges – Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, Business, Science & Mathematics, and Hospitality & Tourism Leadership – including 254 baccalaureate degrees and 26 master’s degrees. The USF Tampa campus will confer 6,617 degrees and St. Petersburg will award 544 degrees.
In addition to remarks from Regional Chancellor Holbrook, outgoing Student Government Association (SGA) President Isabelle Starner will speak on behalf of the class of 2020. Kayla Collins, who served as SGA vice-president this past year, was chosen Outstanding Graduate. A criminology major, Collins was the first student enrolled in the Criminology 4+1 program, which leads to both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in five years. She will earn a master’s in criminal justice administration next spring.
Awards also will be presented to Edie Banner, PhD, an organic chemistry instructor who was chosen Outstanding Professor by the student body; Evan Fruehauf, who will receive the Golden Bull Service and Outstanding Leadership Award; and two students that achieved a perfect 4.0 GPA, Leena Bouhamid and Brittiny Haralson, who will be recognized as King O’Neal Scholars.