More than 1,000 students who missed out on traditional in-person ceremonies due to the pandemic are expected to participate this weekend
TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 18, 2021) – The University of South Florida will confer approximately 3,000 degrees during summer commencement scheduled for Aug. 21-22, as ceremonies return to the Yuengling Center in Tampa after being held at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg in the spring.
In addition, approximately 1,200 graduates from the classes of 2020 or spring 2021 whose commencement ceremonies were impacted by COVID-19 have made plans to return and will be welcomed back by USF to participate in a traditional in-person experience with their families. When COVID-19 forced their commencement ceremonies to be modified or held virtually, USF committed to offering those graduates an opportunity to participate in a traditional in-person ceremony at a later date.
USF President Rhea Law will preside over all seven ceremonies.
Facts about the summer 2021 class
Nearly 3,000 degrees will be awarded in the summer 2021 class, including 1,995 undergraduate, 809 master’s, 181 doctoral and 10 specialist degrees.
The graduates represent 39 U.S. states and 78 nations, with 16 undergraduate students earning a perfect 4.0 GPA. The youngest graduate is a 19 year old earning a bachelor’s degree in forensic studies and justice. The oldest graduate is a 69 year old earning a master’s degree in intelligence studies.
Student feature stories to consider
- At the age of 19, Abigail Cooper is the summer 2021 youngest graduate. In high school, she joined a dual enrollment program so that by the time she was 16 years old, Cooper was graduating with both her high school diploma and associate degree. Cooper’s next step was the USF St. Petersburg campus, where her first semester was filled with new friends, along with compassionate faculty and staff. Cooper however was secretly struggling with a serious eating disorder she had developed, and eventually was forced to move back home to prioritize her health. Through support from her family and friends, as well as a six-month treatment program, Cooper was able to overcome her disorder and continue her education, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in forensic studies and justice.
- Francesco and Francesca Little are both returning to walk across the commencement stage, after the COVID-19 pandemic prevented them from doing so in spring 2021 and spring 2020, respectively. The brother and sister were born in Venezuela and moved to the U.S. at a relatively young age. Their parents instilled in them the value of an education and both worked to not only meet but exceed expectations, often balancing work and extracurricular activities during their time at USF. For the Littles, a traditional in-person ceremony will officially close this chapter in their lives and propel them forward to their next steps, together. Francesco earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative animal biology and hopes to attend medical school. Francesca graduated with two bachelor’s degrees in political science and world languages and culture. She just finished her first year at Stetson University College of Law.
- Holly Lippman, who earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and now works at a technology startup in New York City, is returning to Tampa this weekend to walk across the commencement stage after the COVID-19 pandemic prevented her from doing so in spring 2020. For her, it’s a final chance to say “thank you” to those who helped along the way and to celebrate with her family. Lippman, whose parents also attended USF, was heavily involved across campus. She completed multiple internships at USF Athletics and USF Government Relations, was involved in the Bulls Business Community as well as USF’s Women in Leadership and Philanthropy, played club lacrosse and served as a USF Ambassador, among many other distinctions.
Saturday, Aug. 21 – Summer 2021 Graduates
- 8:30 a.m.: Morsani College of Medicine, College of Nursing, Taneja College of Pharmacy and College of Public Health (approximately 375 graduates expected)
- Noon: College of Arts and Sciences (approximately 450 graduates expected)
- 3:30 p.m.: Muma College of Business (approximately 300 graduates expected)
- 7 p.m.: College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, College of Education, College of Engineering, Patel College of Global Sustainability, College of Graduate Studies, College of Marine Science, College of The Arts and the Office of Undergraduate Studies (approximately 350 graduates expected)
Sunday, Aug. 22 – Previous Graduates
- 9 a.m.: College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, College of Education, College of Engineering, Morsani College of Medicine, College of Nursing, Taneja College of Pharmacy and College of Public Health (approximately 400 graduates expected)
- 1:30 p.m.: College of Arts and Sciences (approximately 475 graduates expected)
- 6 p.m.: Muma College of Business, Patel College of Global Sustainability, College of Graduate Studies, College of Marine Science, College of The Arts and the Office of Undergraduate Studies (approximately 300 graduates expected)
Health and safety measures
In keeping with CDC guidance, all those in attendance are expected to wear a face mask for the duration of the ceremony, regardless of vaccination status. Masks will be available at no charge for all those entering the building.
USF also added additional ceremonies to the original schedule for both Saturday and Sunday as an extra COVID-19 mitigation measure. The added ceremonies allow for fewer graduates and attendees at each one, providing more opportunities for physical distancing throughout the arena. With no assigned seating, guests are encouraged to leave space between themselves and other parties when possible. This plan will also create slightly shorter ceremonies, thus reducing the amount of time graduates and their families are in close proximity with others.
For guests who may not feel comfortable attending in person, or are unable to travel, each ceremony will be live streamed.
About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News and World Report’s national university rankings than USF. Serving more than 50,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF is designated as a Preeminent State Research University by the Florida Board of Governors, placing it in the most elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF has earned widespread national recognition for its success graduating under-represented minority and limited-income students at rates equal to or higher than white and higher income students. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at www.usf.edu.