USF St. Petersburg Celebrates Student Achievements at Commencement
(Dec. 6, 2017) – In front of family, faculty and the greater St. Petersburg community, the University of South Florida St. Petersburg will celebrate the diverse accomplishments of roughly 500 new graduates during its Fall Commencement. USFSP will host two ceremonies to accommodate about 375 graduates who elected to walk on Sunday, December 10 at the Mahaffey Theater, representing undergraduate and graduate degrees from 37 academic disciplines. Graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences are walking at 1 p.m., and those graduating from the Kate Tiedemann College of Business and the College of Education will walk at 5 p.m.
“As citizen scholars, these students possess the knowledge and skills to ensure success in their chosen careers,” said USFSP Interim Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock. “They also possess a strong capacity for caring – for each other, for the environment and for the communities in which they will live and work. They are the next generation of leaders.”
During commencement, two King O’Neal Scholars will be 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 Scholars for Fall 2017 are Brian Howe and Kristine Svansson.
Howe is graduating with a degree in Information Systems Management from the Kate Tiedemann College of Business. He is a part of the USFSP veteran community, after serving over eight years on active duty in the Navy as a Nuclear Reactor Operator. At USFSP, he worked as a peer counselor and mentor at the Financial Aid Office and Military and Veteran’s Success Center while gaining hands on IT management experience with local businesses. He is pursuing a career in IT project management.
Svansson is graduating with a degree in Biomedical Science from the College of Arts and Sciences. She worked at the Debbie Nye Sembler Student Success Center assisting biology students with courses in their degree path. Currently working as a pharmacy technician, Kristine hopes to pursue a medical career in Infectious Disease with a research focus on tick-borne illnesses.
At every commencement, the university also recognizes an Outstanding Graduate. The award, given by the USF Alumni Association, recognizes a graduating senior who embodies leadership, school spirit, community service, character and scholarship. Jared Bolton is the Fall 2017 Outstanding Graduate.
Bolton is a passionate leader and spirited student. He was in the first class of peer coaches for the freshman-year experience program, COMPASS. During this experience, he served as a mentor to help freshmen through personal and academic struggles as well as celebrating their successes. He also served as a student government senator, where he became a valuable voice for the student body, and a USF Ambassador, where he exemplified the best of the USF System. A member of the Honors College, Bolton is graduating Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Psychology. Following graduation, he plans to continue his studies at either a doctoral or master’s program in Industrial Organizational 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 and another was named by the Tampa Bay Business Journal as a 2017 Up & Comer Under 30 Hall of Famer.