Graduates include a Ukrainian student who relocated to the U.S., an 18-year-old and a student who is pursuing a career in social work after growing up in the foster care system
TAMPA, Fla. (July 31, 2023) – The University of South Florida will award more than 2,400 degrees during summer commencement on Saturday, Aug. 5. The ceremonies include recipients of 1,610 bachelor’s, 690 master’s, 132 doctoral and five specialist degrees. This marks the first group of students to graduate since USF was invited to join the Association of American Universities in June. The AAU is a prestigious group of the top 3% of all research universities in the U.S.
The group features 19 undergraduate students earning a perfect 4.0 GPA and 85 student veterans, and includes graduates from 36 states, 71 nations and four U.S. territories. Approximately one out of three graduates (785) are recipients of Pell Grants, reflecting USF’s impact on social mobility. Pell is a federal financial aid program for students from modest socioeconomic backgrounds.
At 18 years old, the youngest graduate is earning a bachelor’s degree in political science. The oldest graduate, who is 67 years old, is receiving a master’s degree in library and information science.
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:
- At the age of 18, Noor Khalil Algoul is the summer 2023 youngest graduate. The Palestinian American was born in Florida but grew up in Jordan. When she moved back to Florida in 2015, she didn’t know English and had to work extremely hard to continue her education. Algoul’s efforts paid off and she ended up graduating from King High School in Tampa as valedictorian, while dual enrolled at Hillsborough Community College. She then transferred to USF, completing a political science degree. Algoul now not only speaks Arabic and English fluently, but also Korean and Spanish intermediately. She is currently learning Turkish. Algoul plans to attend law school.
- Andrii Kostyrko and his immediate family left their home in Kyiv, Ukraine, in 2017 after the Russian invasion of Crimea. They came to Tampa Bay to reunite with other family members while hoping to find greater stability. Kostyrko, who was 15 at the time, used this new-found opportunity to excel in his studies. He took advantage of dual-enrollment classes in high school and graduated early. Kostyrko earned an associate degree at St. Petersburg College and then through FUSE, a pathway program allowing students to earn their associate degree while guaranteeing admission into USF, transferred to the St. Petersburg campus to major in accounting. While striving for his bachelor’s degree, war in Ukraine broke out in February 2022. Kostryko has family and friends who remained there through the conflict, experiencing the many effects of war, including air raid sirens, food shortages and ongoing power outages. Despite these bleak circumstances that have weighed on Kostyrko, he was determined to stay on track and excel. Kostyrko will now be graduating summa cum laude.
- Haley Hines-Gaal found USF’s online master of social work program while seeking to balance full-time work with graduate studies. Her journey has been fueled by a deep sense of gratitude for the professionals who guided the way when as a young teen, Hines-Gaal lost her parents and was placed in foster care. The social workers met with her often, encouraging her to pursue higher education. As part of her studies, Hines-Gaal interned at Metropolitan Ministries in Tampa where she provided wrap-around case management services and helped homeless clients and at-risk families obtain stable housing. The experience she gained has put Hines-Gaal on the fast track to a career that drives opportunity within the community. She serves as a housing counselor with the City of Tampa Housing and Community Development Division.
Saturday, Aug. 5
- 9 a.m.: Bachelor’s degree recipients from the colleges of Arts and Sciences and The Arts and the Office of Undergraduate Studies (approximately 500 graduates expected to attend).
- 1:30 p.m.: Bachelor’s degree recipients from the colleges of Behavioral and Community Sciences, Muma College of Business, Education, Engineering, Nursing and Public Health (approximately 500 graduates expected to attend).
- 6:30 p.m.: Master’s, educational specialist and doctoral degree recipients from all colleges: Arts and Sciences, Behavioral and Community Sciences, Muma College of Business, Education, Engineering, Patel College of Global Sustainability, Graduate Studies, Marine Science, Morsani College of Medicine, Nursing, Taneja College of Pharmacy, Public Health and The Arts (approximately 550 graduates expected to attend).
About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida, a high-impact research university dedicated to student success and committed to community engagement, generates an annual economic impact of more than $6 billion. With campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF serves approximately 50,000 students who represent nearly 150 different countries. For four consecutive years, U.S. News & World Report has ranked USF as one of the nation’s top 50 public universities, including USF’s highest ranking ever in 2023 (No. 42). In 2023, USF became the first public university in Florida in nearly 40 years to be invited to join the Association of American Universities, a prestigious group of the leading universities in the United States and Canada. Through hundreds of millions of dollars in research activity each year and as one of top universities in the world for securing new patents, USF is a leader in solving global problems and improving lives. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at www.usf.edu.