USF St. Petersburg Celebrates Student Achievements at Commencement

The University of South Florida St. Petersburg celebrated the accomplishments of more than 560 new graduates during its Spring Commencement, representing undergraduate and graduate degrees from 36 academic disciplines. USFSP hosted two ceremonies to accommodate more than 435 graduates who elected to walk on Sunday, May 7 at Mahaffey Theater. Graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences walked at 2 p.m., and those graduating from the Kate Tiedemann College of Business and the College of Education walked at 6 p.m.

During the first ceremony, one King O’Neal Scholar was recognized. The award, created by the USF Alumni Association in honor of charter graduates Lucas King and Evelyn O’Neal, is bestowed upon outstanding students who have completed their USF coursework with a 4.0 GPA. Honorees receive a certificate recognizing their accomplishment and a gold medallion of the university seal.

USFSP’s King O’Neal Scholar for Spring 2017 is Sean Mullen, who received a bachelor’s degree in political science. While at USFSP, Mullen volunteered his time to numerous campus activities that were aimed at engaging the local community and bringing about a better understanding of local, national and international affairs. He served 14 years on active duty in the U.S. Marine Corps, and currently is a member of the Marine Corps Reserve. After graduation, he plans to pursue a legal career and has been accepted on scholarship into the Juris Doctorate program at Stetson University College of Law.

Hunter Paul Drake was named the Spring 2017 Outstanding Graduate. The award, given by the USF Alumni Association, recognizes a graduating senior who embodies leadership, school spirit, community service, character and scholarship. Drake, a psychology major in the USFSP Honors Program, held teaching assistantships with three professors on campus and, for two years, served as research assistant and lab manager to USFSP Professor Tiffany Chenneville. He plans to continue his studies at USFSP as a master’s student in psychology.

USF St. Petersburg graduates have gone on to careers in many notable organizations and government institutions, including the National Institutes of Health, the State Department, Coca-Cola, Apple, and The Huffington Post. They also are highly sought by local corporations such as C1 Bank, Jabil, and Tech Data. One alumnus recently received a Pulitzer Prize in investigative journalism for a series of articles about the opioid crisis in West Virginia.