The Regional Chancellor’s Award for Civic Leadership

This award is bestowed in recognition of outstanding contributions to our community. It is the most prestigious award granted by USF St. Petersburg and recognizes the institution’s strong ties with the community.

Nomination Process

The award is given only at the discretion of the chancellor to the most deserving leaders. The university’s senior leadership team nominates individuals and families and the award is given only when warranted.

Award Procedure

The award is given during Fall Commencement and is an academic highlight of the year. The recipient is given a framed acknowledgement of appreciation and is included in the commencement program, the university’s Web site and in press releases.

Past Recipients

2015 - Paul Tash

Paul TashThe University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) celebrated the accomplishments of 478 new graduates during its Fall Commencement, representing 399 undergraduate and 79 graduate degrees from 36 academic homes. A ceremony was held at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 13, at the Mahaffey Theater.

During the ceremony, newspaper industry leader Paul Tash received the institution’s most prestigious honor: the annual Chancellor’s Award for Civic Leadership. Tash serves as CEO of the Tampa Bay Times, Florida’s leading newspaper, and chairman of The Poynter Institute for Media Studies, its nonprofit parent organization. In 2012, he received the Distinguished Alumni Service Award from his alma mater, Indiana University, and was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame the following year.

Tash began his career at the Times as an intern and became a full-time reporter in 1978, a few months after the death of one of its leading figures, Nelson Poynter. Tash continues to advance Poynter’s vision that every city deserves a great newspaper – The Tampa Bay Times, which has received 10 Pulitzer Prizes, is widely regarded as one of the top dozen papers in the nation.

“I am honored to present this award to a man whose commitment to this community has helped transform St. Petersburg and this institution,” said Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska, Ph.D. “The vibrant university we know and love today is possible because of people like Paul Tash and his predecessor, Nelson Poynter, whose imprint can be seen on every corner of our beautiful campus.”

The Chancellor’s Award for Civic Leadership is bestowed in recognition of outstanding contributions to the community and underscores the institution’s own commitment to civic engagement. It is given during the Fall Commencement ceremony. Recent, previous recipients include: former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, the Hough Family, Pinellas County school administrator Vyrle Davis, and Tampa Bay accounting executive Mary Anne Reilly.

2014 - MaryAnne Reilly

MaryAnne ReillyThe University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) celebrated the accomplishments of 417 new graduates during its Fall Commencement, representing undergraduate and graduate degrees from 36 academic homes. A ceremony was held at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, December 13, at the Mahaffey Theater.

During the ceremony, Tampa Bay accounting executive, Mary Anne Reilly, received the institution’s most prestigious honor: the annual Chancellor’s Award for Civic Leadership. Reilly, a founding shareholder in the firm of Reilly, Fisher & Solomon, P.A., has long been associated with USFSP’s Kate Tiedemann College of Business, serving on the College of Business Advisory Board, as well as on the boards of H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, the Foundation for a Drug-Free America, Bayfront HERO, and the Florida Holocaust Museum.

“I am honored to present this award to a woman whose commitment to this community – whose commitment to education and civic engagement – has helped transform St. Petersburg and this institution,” said Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska, Ph.D. “The vibrant university we know and love today is because of people like Mary Anne Reilly.”

A longtime resident of St. Petersburg, Reilly has also served on the boards at All-Children’s and Bayfront Hospitals, the St. Petersburg Chamber and the St. Petersburg YMCA. She says that over the years, she liked to think she was contributing to a community in which her daughter would want to raise a family.

Reilly has 37 years of professional experience, with clients in a variety of industries, including real estate, manufacturing and publishing. She is married to Chico’s FAS Chair, Ross Roeder, and has a daughter and son-in-law, Anne Michelle and Mathew Frey, and grandchildren, Catherine and John Frey – who live in St. Petersburg.

2013 - Rick Baker

Former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker will receive the Chancellor’s Award for Civic Leadership during USF St. Petersburg’s Fall 2013 Commencement ceremonies Dec. 15.

More than 400 students will receive degrees, and about 250 are expected to participate in commencement ceremonies.

The Chancellor’s Award for Civic Leadership is bestowed in recognition of outstanding contributions to the community. It is the most prestigious award granted by USF St. Petersburg and recognizes the institution’s strong ties with the community.

Baker will be honored for his commitment to education, the arts, diversity and economic development. Besides serving eight years as St. Petersburg mayor, Baker served as president of the law firm of Fisher and Sauls, chairman of the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and vice president for economic development for USF. He is now president of The Edwards Group, which includes commercial real estate, hotels and entertainment.

“The vibrant and engaging city we all know and love today is the direct result of the visionary leadership of Rick Baker,’’ said USFSP Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska.

The Fall 2013 Outstanding Graduate Award will be given by the USF Alumni Association to Charles Matthew Hamm, a College of Business student who is earning a Bachelor’s Degree in the dual majors of Accounting and Finance. Hamm served as vice president of professional development for Beta Alpha Psi, the accounting honor society, helping students transition from school to work. He also worked with the Poynter Institute to develop a professional writing presentation that was recognized by the Beta Alpha Psi national chapter. He plans to pursue a career in accounting.

2012 - Hough Family

William and Hazel Hough

William and Hazel Hough

St. Petersburg would be a diminished community without the Hough Family.

Their unstinting support of the arts, culture and education are unmatched and their dedication to giving back is an inspiration to the entire community.

In recognition of their collective efforts, the Regional Chancellor’s Award for Civic Leadership this year is given to the entire Hough Family: William and Hazel Hough and their children, Robb Hough, Susan Henry and Helen Feinberg.

Pat and Susan Henry

Pat and Susan Henry

The Hough Family’s own commitment to the community grew out of the guiding philosophy of William R. Hough & Co., the investment firm Mr. Hough founded in 1962 and led for 38 years.

Robb and Susan Hough

Robb and Susan Hough

The company set an example of giving back that served as an inspiration for other business leaders. It was a family operation: Robb Hough served as president before the company was purchased by RBC Dain Rauscher in 2004. Helen Feinberg continues her work there as an executive for RBC Capital Markets.

The company set an example of giving back that served as an inspiration for other business leaders. It was a family operation: Robb Hough served as president before the company was purchased by RBC Dain Rauscher in 2004. Helen Feinberg continues her work there as an executive for RBC Capital Markets.The Hough Family’s own commitment to the community grew out of the guiding philosophy of William R. Hough & Co., the investment firm Mr. Hough founded in 1962 and led for 38 years.

David and Helen Feinberg

David and Helen Feinberg

The business philosophy of civic leadership has been carried on individually by each member of the family and collectively through the Hough Family Foundation, founded in 1996 and currently managed by Dr. Susan Henry.

The impact of that commitment to uplift the St. Petersburg community is evident in the many institutions the Hough Family has supported, including USF St. Petersburg,the Museum of Fine ArtsCanterbury School, the Palladium at St. Petersburg College and the Dali Museum. Each member of the Hough Family serves on the family foundation board. The foundation supports only causes that every member believes in.

2011 - Vyrle Davis

Vyrle DavisMr. Vyrle Davis dedicated his career as an educator to improving the lives and opportunities of countless students in Pinellas County. As a longtime teacher and school administrator, Mr. Davis served as a transformational leader in his approach to improving the educational experience of African American students.

A Tampa native, he began his career as a teacher at 16th Street Elementary and Junior High School, now known as John Hopkins Middle School. Mr. Davis spent two years as an assistant principal at Gibbs High School before assuming the position of principal at St. Petersburg High School from 1973 to 1983. He was the first African American appointed to lead what had once been an all-white school. He became the Operations Director for Pinellas County Schools before serving as the first African American Area School Superintendent from 1986 until his retirement in 1995.

Beyond his-tremendous impact through his numerous leadership roles, Mr. Davis sought to create even more of a community impact through his activism. He founded the Ebony Scholars Program, which provides institutional and economic support to high-achieving African-American students. He co-founded the African-American Voters Registration Education Committee and founded the Concerned Organizations for Quality Education for Black Students. He pushed for single-member political districts for both the Pinellas County School Board and County Commission, and helped elect Mary Brown, the county’s first African American elected School Board member.

His dedication to the students of Pinellas County and to the community at large makes Mr. Davis a pillar of this community- one whose significant commitment to improving the lives of those around him was evident in each of his initiatives. We thank Mr. Davis for his exceptional service and present the Chancellor’s Award for Civic Leadership in appreciation of the work he has done and the legacy of service he has created.

2010 - Dennis L. Jones

Dennis L JonesDennis L. Jones has served in the Florida Senate since 2002 on behalf of District 13, an area that encompasses the western portion of Pinellas County. He serves as the Chairman of the Senate Regulated Industries Committee; he formerly served as the Majority Leader from 2002 to 2004.

Prior to his service in the Florida Senate, Sen. Jones represented Pinellas County in theFlorida House of Representativesfrom 1978 to 2000. As a state representative he held several key leadership positions, including Speaker Pro Tempore from 1998 to 2000 and Republican Caucus Chairman from 1990 to 1994.

Senator Jones has been a supporter and advocate for Florida and Pinellas County beaches and has secured beach renourishment funding. He has received several awards including the Florida Shore and Beach Preservation Associations Legislative Award and the Coastal Conservation Association, Legislative Conservation Award. He is also a supporter of public libraries.

Senator Jones retired as a chiropractic physician in 2006. He serves as the Vice President for Economic Development and Innovation Programs with St. Petersburg College. Senator Jones’ sponsorship of a bill in 2010 on behalf of the students of USF St. Petersburg was key in securing a Multipurpose Student Center for the university. Sen. Jones mentor students through the legislative process and worked hard on their behalf. Thanks to his efforts and the entire Pinellas Legislative Delegation, the students were successful in their legislative advocacy

2010 - Darryl Ervin Rouson, Esquire

Darryl Ervin RousonDarryl Ervin Rouson has served in the Florida House of Representatives since 2008 on behalf of District 55, an area that encompasses portions of Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota and Hillsborough counties. Rep. Rouson is the Democratic ranking member of the Criminal and Civil Justice Appropriations Committee and formerly served on the Tax and Budget Reform Commission. As founding chairman of the Substance Abuse and Addictions Task Force for the National Bar Association, Rep. Rouson focused on reassuring substance abusers’ families that they should never give up, offering himself as an example.

Before beginning his legislative career, Rep. Houson worked as the first African-American assistant state attorney in Pinellas County. He led the localNAACP chapter as president from 2000 to 2005. He is currently a member of Legatus and of the advisory board for St. Petersburg Catholic High School. He is a lawyer with Morgan & Morgan.

Rep. Rouson’s sponsorship of a bill in 2010 on behalf of the students of USF St. Petersburg was key in securing a Multipurpose Student Center for the University. Rep. Rouson mentored students through the legislative process and worked hard on their behalf. Thanks to his efforts and the entire Pinellas Legislative Delegation, the students were successful in their legislative advocacy.

2009 - David R. Carr

David H. Carr was a husband, professor, university leader and a community volunteer whose contributions to the field of history enriched our university in ways that his colleagues and students will remember for years to come.

Carr joined USF St. Petersburg in 1971, moving to St. Petersburg for the first faculty position after receiving his doctorate in History from the University of Nebraska.

By 2009 he held rank as the most senior faculty member in terms of service at USF St. Petersburg and joined a small group of USFSP employees with more than 35 years of employment.

His primary areas for teaching and research were medieval, Renaissance, and Reformation history, as well as urban, social, intellectual, and constitutional history. Carr witnessed the growth of USF St. Petersburg and his service grew along with the boundaries of the university. He offered sage guidance to the USFSP Library Committee, University Library Council, the Lecture Series Committee, the Honors Program, Faculty Senate, and the University Undergraduate Council, among other bodies, from the mid-1970s into the 1980s. Carr attained the rank of Associate Professor in 1989.

He oversaw the USFSP Honors Program from 1992 to 1995. From 1999 until 2002, he served as director of the USFSP College of Arts and Sciences and took an important administrative role in directing USF St. Petersburg’s independent accreditation efforts beginning in 2001. His work extended beyond USF St. Petersburg through his involvement with cultural and historical organizations in Pinellas County. A member of the Pinellas County Historical Commission from 1975 through 1978, he played an important role in the establishment of Heritage Village, Pinellas County’s open-air museum.

Carr served as a founding officer of the Pinellas County Historical Society and provided guidance for early exhibits and collections at the museum, offered fieldwork and practicum opportunities for students in historic preservation, and helped to establish a successful foundation for the museum. He served on the board of the St. Petersburg Historical Society, as a commissioner and chair of the St. Petersburg Planning Commission (1982-1987), and as a commissioner on the St. Petersburg Historical Preservation Commission(1985-1987).

2008 - Andrew H. Hines Jr.

Andrew H HinesBorn in Lake City, Florida, Andrew H. Hines Jr. is a parent, corporate Chairman and Civic Leader in Pinellas county whose contributions have enriched our institutions and our region.

Mr. Hines grew up in Trenton and Alachua, Florida and graduated with a bachelors’ degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida. He was married for 60 years to Ann Grover and has four grown children: A Hampton Hines III, Elizabeth Dale, J. Bradford Hines and Daniel Howland Hines. Two children, Daniel and Elizabeth, are alumni of USF St. Petersburg. Elizabeth Dale and her husband, David Dale, both served on the board of the Pinellas County Alumni Chapter in the 1990s.

Mr. Hines began his career in research and development at General Electric in 1947. Four years later he joined Florida Power Corporation as an assistant production engineer. He became president of Florida Power and then chairman of Florida Progress Corporation. Upon his retirement from Florida Progress Corporation, he was named chairman emeritus.

His connection to Bayboro Harbor emerged from his commitment and service to institution of higher education. Mr. Hines served on the USF St. Petersburg Campus Advisory Board, was chairman of the Board at Rollins College, and Dedicated years of service to the University of Florida Alumni Association andFoundation boards.

Mr. Hines and his wife served on the board of trustee at All Children’s Hospital, where USF’s first $1 million endowed chair at the hospital was named the Andrew and Ann Hines Endowed Chair in Pediatrics. Hines also helped secure $2.5 million in federal funding in 1992 for the creation of the Institute of Marine Engineering.

In recognition of his dedication, Mr. Hines received the Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of South Florida on April 30, 1989 at the St. Petersburg Commencement Convocation during which he also served as the commencement speaker. He has received honorary degrees from Stetson University College of Law, Rollins College and Florida Southern College.

2007 - Roy Harrell

Roy HarrellMr. Harrell was a husband, parent, community volunteer and a visionary civic leader whose contribution enriched our university, our region and improved the way national leaders considered environmental policy and resources.

Mr. Harrell practiced law in the areas of real estate, environment, banking and general commercial law. He was a member of the St. Petersburg, Florida, Virginia and American Bar association. Mr. Harrell graduated, with honors, with a bachelor’s degree in 1966 from The Citadel and earned his law degree, cum laude, in 1969 fromWashington and Lee University School of Law.

One of his most visible achievements was serving on the Governing Board of the Southwest Florida Water Management District from November 1985 through February 1998. During his Tenure, Mr. Harrell is credited for providing pivotal leadership in settling the decades-old Tampa Bay water wars, and for developing new rules and regulations affecting the environment, including the Environmental Resources Permit and water use caution areas. He also received accolades for promoting an emphasis on conservation, including implementation of year-round water conservation measures, metering all user segments of the water resources; creating the Tampa Bay Partnership Agreement between SFWMD and Tampa Bay Waterand its six governmental members.

Mr. Harrell served on the Policy Committee of the Tampa Bay National Estuary Program from 1990 through 1996. From 1996 through 1198 he volunteered his legal expertise to negotiate and draft the Interlocal Agreement between 15 governmental entities and agencies, including theU.S Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, three counties, three cities and SFWMD for the cleanup of Tampa Bay – creating the first binding agreement in the nation for the cleanup of national estuary.

Mr. Harrell also was a friend to USF St. Petersburg and many other organizations served as a member of various boards of directors. He served on the USF St. Petersburg Campus Advisory Board, Florida Chamber of Commerce, the Florida chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Tampa Bay Partnership, St. Anthony’s Hospital Foundation, Pinellas County Environmental Foundation, Oasis School, Friends of Weedon Isle School and the 1000 friends of Florida. Additionally, he chaired the Board of Directors for the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce; the United Way of Pinellas County; the Tampa Bay United Way Task Force; Tampa Bay partnership-Pinellas; Leadership St. Pete Alumni Association; the Authonians; St. Anthony’s Hospital Foundation; and the USF St. Petersburg Campus Advisory Board.

His dedicated service to St. Petersburg was recognized by many grateful community groups. He received the Chamber Member of the Year Award in 1980, Community Service Award of St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce in 1988, as well as the Leadership Award of the Leadership St. Pete Alumni Association. He was named Mr. Sun in 2011 by the Suncoasters during its 80th celebration of the Festival of States.

As Mr. Harrell’s service extended beyond the city’s boundaries, so did those organizations honoring his stewardship and service. Mr. Harrell received the Leadership Award of the National Association of Community Leadership Association, the Annual Community Service Award of the United Way Pinellas County and the annual Community Service Award of the Pinellas Emergency Mental Health Services.

2006 - Frances L. Stavros

Frances StavrosMrs. Stavros is a parent, community volunteer, and civic leader in Pinellas County whose contributions have enriched our university, our region, and impacted the educational excellence offered to students throughout the state of Florida.

In 1945, Mrs. Stavros enlisted in the U.S Navy WAVES and served at Jacksonville Naval Air Station, After WWII, she served as a stewardess for Eastern Airlines. In 1948, Gus and Frances Stavros were married in Elizabeth, NJ after completing their education at Columbia University in New York. They have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Through her leadership, the lives and education of thousands of Pinellas County students have been enhanced, by the opportunity for greater education. Her deep commitment to student opportunity positioned for greater education. Her deep commitment to student opportunity positioned Dr. and Mrs. Stavros to lead charge for educational programs such asEnterprise Village and Finance Park, and for establishing programs to enable students to complete their high school education. Mrs. Stavros began more than 22 years of leadership service to the Pinellas County school district in 1958. She served as PTA President, member of the PTA County Council, and on the Pinellas County High School Curriculum Committee.

Her commitment to keep students in high schools continues to inspire. In 1987, she established the SAVE program with the Pinellas Education Foundation. This successful program encourages students who have financial need to pursue their education in vocational technical career, followed by career training and job placement. After nearly 20 years, more than 3,000 students have benefited from this program. She is affectionately known as the “Mother of SAVE”

In 1989, the Stavros family was honored for its long- term philanthropy and dedicated service to economic education with the naming of the Gus A. Stavros Center for Free Enterprise and Economic Education of the University of South Florida Tampa Campus. Mrs. Stavros was instrumental in the design and architecture of this center. The guiding philosophy of the Stavros Center is to establish strategic alliances and partnerships with the corporate community and school districts in support of K-12 economic education.

Mrs. Stavros was founding member of the Ruth Eckerd Hall Board of Trustees in Clearwater and the Palladium Theater in St. Petersburg. Since her childhood days she has been very active in her Christian religion locally, state, and nationally.

As a tribute to her years of involvement, Frances Stavros has received many awards including the Calvin Hunsinger Award in 1988 for her contribution to vocational education, and in 1990, was the recipient of the Phi Delta Kappa Layman of the Year Award as the most outstanding supporter of public education. In 2003, she received the Girl Scouts of Suncoast Council Women of Distinction Award, and in 2006, received the Colonial Dames 17th Century National Community Service Award.