Graduates include a 74-year-old grandmother, a trailblazing military veteran and a USF football player making a major impact in the community
TAMPA, Fla. (May 1, 2023) – The University of South Florida will award more than 7,100 degrees during spring commencement May 5-7. The ceremonies include recipients of 5,430 bachelor’s, 1,492 master’s, 221 doctoral degrees and eight specialist degrees.
The group features 110 undergraduate students earning a perfect 4.0 GPA, 211 student veterans and includes graduates from 46 states and 98 nations and four U.S. territories. At 17 years old, the youngest graduate is earning a bachelor’s degree in criminology. The oldest graduate, who is 74 years old, is receiving a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary social sciences.
USF President Rhea Law will preside over all ceremonies, which will be held in the Yuengling Center on the Tampa campus.
Student feature stories to consider
- Kathleen Doermer first attended college back in 1966, but at the time, she wasn’t able to earn a degree. She started a career in real estate and decades later, after raising three daughters, Doermer felt a strong desire to complete her higher education journey. She chose to attend USF and with the guidance of her advisor, decided to study interdisciplinary social sciences with an emphasis in anthropology. Once enrolled, Doermer took two classes every semester, including summers. Some four years later and at the age of 74, this grandmother of five is the oldest student to graduate during the spring 2023 class.
- Kiante Smith is a Florida native who was raised by her great-grandmother in Levy County. Despite facing various challenges as a young girl, including a speech impediment that limited her ability to communicate, she overcame her lisp with the help of a speech specialist. After earning her associate degree, Kiante transferred to USF with the main goal of bridging her passion for linguistics with her nine years of military service as a member of the Florida National Guard. Her leadership skills and dedication led to her appointment as the highest-ranking cadet in USF’s ROTC program. Upon graduation, Kiante will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Army and work as a military intelligence officer. She’d like to become a trailblazer for women and Black individuals in the field of military intelligence and eventually work in the White House.
- James (Brad) Cecil is a decorated student-athlete who has also made a significant impact in the community during his time with USF. An offensive lineman on the football team, Cecil served as team captain for three years and finished his career ranked second all-time at USF with 50 career starts. In 2021, he graduated cum laude with his bachelor’s degree and immediately began working toward his Master of Business Administration degree. In 2022, he leveraged his name, image and likeness with Big Man Big Heart charitable organization to raise over $425,000. His specific campaign is with Bode Wyatt, a 7-year-old Bulls fan who is battling leukemia. This past weekend, Cecil was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Detroit Lions.
Friday, May 5
- 9 a.m.: Bachelor’s degree recipients from the Muma College of Business and the Office of Undergraduate Studies (approximately 750 graduates expected to attend).
- 1:30 p.m.: Bachelor’s degree recipients from the colleges of Nursing and Public Health (approximately 750 graduates expected to attend).
- 6:30 p.m.: Bachelor’s degree recipients from the colleges of Education, Engineering, and The Arts (approximately 750 graduates expected to attend).
Saturday, May 6
- 9 a.m.: Bachelor’s degree recipients from the following departments of the College of Arts and Sciences: Zimmerman School of Advertising and Mass Communications, Anthropology, Communication, Economics, English, History, Humanities and Cultural Studies, School of Information, School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies, Journalism and Digital Communication, Philosophy, Religious Studies, Sociology and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Women’s and Gender Studies, and World Languages (approximately 800 graduates expected to attend).
- 1:30 p.m.: Bachelor’s degree recipients from the following departments of the College of Arts and Sciences: School of Geosciences, Integrative Biology, Mathematics and Statistics, Molecular Biosciences, Physics, and Psychology (approximately 750 graduates expected to attend).
- 6:30 p.m.: Bachelor’s degree recipients from the colleges of Behavioral and Community Sciences and Bachelor’s degree recipients from the following department of the College of Arts and Sciences: Chemistry (approximately 750 graduates expected to attend).
Sunday, May 7
- 9 a.m.: Master’s and educational specialist degree recipients from the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Muma College of Business, Education, Patel College of Global Sustainability, Graduate Studies, Marine Science, and The Arts (approximately 600 graduates expected to attend).
- 1:30 p.m.: Master’s degree recipients from the colleges of Behavioral and Community Sciences, Engineering and from the colleges of USF Health: Morsani College of Medicine, Nursing, Taneja College of Pharmacy, and Public Health (approximately 550 graduates expected to attend).*Samuel P. Bell, III, posthumously, will receive the President’s Distinguished Citizen Award
- 6:30 p.m.: Doctoral degree recipients from the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Behavioral and Community Sciences, Muma College of Business, Education, Engineering, Marine Science, Morsani College of Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Taneja College of Pharmacy, and The Arts (approximately 300 graduates expected to attend). *Emiliano Jose Salcines will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities and Jugal Taneja will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Pharmacy
About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida, a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success, generates an annual economic impact of more than $6 billion. 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.