TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 9, 2019) – The University of South Florida System will confer approximately 5,000 degrees during fall commencement ceremonies, Dec. 13-16. USF President Steve Currall will preside over seven total ceremonies, marking the university’s 119th commencement convocation.
Thirty-six USF students have been identified as King O’Neal Scholars, earning a cumulative grade point average of 4.0. The graduates represent 48 states, 98 nations and include 248 student veterans.
Possible Student Stories for Media Consideration
- Dionel Cotanda is the oldest graduate, receiving his doctorate in communication at the age of 81. Cotanda, born and raised in Cuba, came to Tampa in 1960 and focused on his family and work. More than 20 years later, his three daughters began to attend USF, which inspired Cotanda to continue his own education. Cotanda received two degrees from USF – his bachelor’s degree in international studies in 1988 and his master’s in communication in 1998. Throughout the years, even when Cotanda wasn’t working toward a degree, he continued taking non-degree seeking classes. His educational endeavors in the U.S. span a total of 33 years. Cotanda is graduating in USF Tampa’s 6 p.m. ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 14.
- Way Bandy, 80, is earning his bachelor’s degree in general studies from USF St. Petersburg, an achievement that is more than 50 years in the making. Bandy dropped out of college in 1978 to get married and raise three kids. Before he left, he made a promise to his parents and himself that he would return one day to earn his degree. That fueled him to re-enroll this semester and take the one class he had left to complete his degree. Bandy is graduating in USF St Petersburg’s 5 p.m. ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 15.
- Grete Cole, a 2019 Tillman scholar and United States Air Force veteran, will graduate with a master’s in nurse anesthesia. She was the only student from a Florida university in this year’s Tillman class of 60 U.S. service members, veterans and military spouses. Cole served in the Air Force for seven years as a commissioned officer and a nurse, including one deployment to Niger. She plans to pursue a career working at a Veterans Affairs hospital to help ensure military veterans receive quality care. Cole is graduating in USF Tampa’s 6 p.m. ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 14.
- Khubaib Farooq, 19, is the youngest graduate. Farooq came to USF from Pakistan when he was just 15-years-old. Farooq will graduate magna cum laude with a bachelor of science in business analytics and information systems with a concentration in cybersecurity. His goal is to eventually return to Pakistan and help improve conditions there for people in his native country. Farooq is graduating in USF Tampa’s 1:30 p.m. ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 14.
Fall 2019 Graduating Class by the Numbers
USF Total Degrees (approximate): 5,078
- USF Tampa Total: 4,378
- Bachelor’s: 3,102
- Master’s: 1,065
- Doctoral: 210
- Specialist: 1
- USF St. Petersburg Total: 465
- USF Sarasota-Manatee Total: 235
U.S. States Represented: 48
Nations Represented: 98
Student Veterans: 248
Youngest Graduate: Age 19
Oldest Graduate: Age 81
Full Ceremony Information
Friday, Dec. 13: Yuengling Center
6 p.m. ceremony includes bachelor’s degree recipients from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Saturday, Dec. 14: Yuengling Center
9 a.m. ceremony includes bachelor’s degree candidates for Colleges of Nursing, Public Health and Arts and Sciences.
1:30 p.m. ceremony includes bachelor’s degree recipients from the Colleges of Behavioral and Community Sciences, Education, Engineering, The Arts, Office of Undergraduate Studies and the Muma College of Business.
6 p.m. ceremony for master’s, specialist and doctoral degree recipients from all colleges. Michael D. Kogan will receive an honorary doctorate of public health.
USF St. Petersburg
Sunday, Dec. 15: Mahaffey Theatre
1 p.m. ceremony includes all degree recipients from the Kate Tiedemann College of Business and the College of Education.
5 p.m. ceremony includes all degree recipients from the College of Arts and Sciences.
USF Sarasota Manatee
Monday, Dec. 16: Bradenton Convention Center
6:30 p.m. ceremony includes all degree recipients from all colleges.
Graduates, friends and family attending the ceremonies are encouraged to use #USFgrad on social media posts. More information is available at usf.edu/commencement.
About the University of South Florida System
The University of South Florida System is a high-impact global research system dedicated to student success. The USF System includes three institutions: USF, USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee. The institutions are separately accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. All institutions have distinct missions and their own detailed strategic plans. Serving over 50,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.8 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.