USF Sarasota-Manatee Holds 59th Commencement Ceremony

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee’s spring commencement exercises will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 5, at the Bradenton Area Convention Center.

Of 297 students that have applied to graduate in spring, 198 are expected to attend the ceremony. This number includes 37 master’s degree candidates, 81 from Arts & Sciences, 40 from Business, 24 from Education and 16 from Hospitality & Tourism Leadership.

Regional Chancellor Arthur M. Guilford will represent USF Sarasota-Manatee, and USF System President Judy Genshaft will preside. Stephen Graves, will be the ceremony announcer; Dr. Jody McBrien will bear the University mace; and Sarah Coit, USF College of the Arts, will perform the National Anthem and USF Alma Mater.

Special award recipients at the ceremony include:

Paul Searles Webecke Award: Todd Bolkema, MBA, USFSM College of Business. This honor is given to the most outstanding student in the Master of Business Administration program. Todd earned his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Dordt College in Sioux Center, IA, and has been employed at Florida Power and Light in Sarasota since 2001. He is currently a senior planning engineer. Personal: He lives in Bradenton with his wife and three sons and volunteers as the treasurer at Bradenton Christian Reformed Church and as a counselor in a youth group. Todd hopes to use the skills he’s gained while at USF Sarasota-Manatee and USF Tampa to start a business. 

Golden Bull Service and Outstanding Leadership Award: Ryan Page, USFSM College of Arts and Sciences, Criminology. The Golden Bull Award is sponsored by the USFSM Student Government Association and is presented to a student who has demonstrated excellence in leadership activities, community and university involvement, and academic success. Ryan served as president of the Criminology Club at USFSM for the past two years during which time he organized a club trip to Washington, D.C. to tour the museums and to visit the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice at the University of Maryland. In addition to his work with the Criminology Club, Ryan also participated in several community events such as USFSM Freshman Round-Up, USFSM Club Rushes, USFSM Road Clean Up, and Circle K.

Outstanding Graduate Award: Dat Vu, College of Business, Accounting and Finance. This award ispresented by the USF Sarasota-Manatee Chapter of the USF Alumni Association to recognize the graduating senior who embodies leadership, school spirit, community service, character and scholarship. Dat, who will graduate with an overall GPA of 3.70, came to USFSM after attending State College of Florida. He overcame a language barrier and immediately became involved in all aspects of student life. In his time at USFSM, Dat has been a student senator for the College of Business and held the position of vice president for USF Sarasota-Manatee Student Government during the 2011-12 academic year. Dat helped to found and served as president of the Phi Beta Lambda fraternity for the Future Business Leaders of America. He plans to pursue a career in Finance or Accounting.

King O’Neal Scholars Award: Michaela Cerce, College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, Hospitality Management. The USF Alumni Association presents this award for achieving a perfect 4.0 GPA throughout one’s undergraduate degree. The award was created in honor of charter USF graduates Lucas King and Evelyn O’Neal. Following graduation, Michaela hopes to continue her education by attending culinary school to obtain a degree in baking and pastry arts. She also helps to manage a family business in the restaurant industry in her spare time, and aspires to own her own business after finishing her education.

Spring 2013 Outstanding Professor: Dr. Richard Reich, College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Reich has been at USF Sarasota-Manatee since 2005 after spending several years working at the USF Tampa campus. Reich earned his B.S in Psychology from the College of Charleston in 1994 and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from USF. He has been published in over 10 different journals and publications and has overseen directed studies for undergraduate psychology majors at USFSM since 2006. Dr. Reich is known as an expert for cognitive factors affecting substance use and abuse as well as statistical applications to psychological research. For all this and more, the USFSM students have recognized Dr. Reich as this semester’s Most Outstanding Professor.