USF Sarasota-Manatee Will Hold 61st Commencement Ceremony


The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee’s spring commencement exercises will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, May 5 at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, One Haben Blvd., Palmetto, Fla., 34221.

Of the 330 USF Sarasota-Manatee seniors who have applied to graduate at the spring 2014 commencement, 190 are expected to attend the ceremony. This number includes 42 master’s degree candidates and 286 bachelor’s degree candidates from the Colleges of Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, Hospitality & Tourism Leadership and the USF Tampa College of Behavioral and Community Sciences.

Regional Chancellor Arthur M. Guilford will represent USF Sarasota-Manatee, and USF System President Judy Genshaft will preside. Bonnie Jones, regional vice-chancellor for academic and student affairs will be the ceremony announcer and Katerina Annaraud, faculty senate president, will bear the mace of the University.  Sarah Bradtmueller, freshman from the USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Education will perform the National Anthem and USF Alma Mater.

Special award recipients at the ceremony include:

Golden Bull Service and Outstanding Leadership Award: Kaleigh Lundy, USFSM College of Education, Elementary Education. 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. Kaleigh Lundy graduates with a 3.7 GPA and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education. She served as president of the Innovators Guiding New Ideas through Education (I.G.N.I.T.E.) creativity club for her last three semesters at USFSM, and attended a Creativity Problem Solving Institute conference in Buffalo, N.Y., after which she hosted two training sessions on campus for fellow classmates. Lundy organized a community service event at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, was an active member of the Educators’ Alliance student organization and an advocate for USFSM’s Center for Partnerships for Arts-Integrated Teaching (PAInT). She also volunteered in an elementary after school program and participated in internships at three different Manatee County elementary schools, acting as student teacher for first through third grades. Lundy currently works in a first grade classroom at Virgil Mills Elementary.

Outstanding Graduate Award: Christopher Davis, College of Arts and Sciences, Psychology. This award is presented 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. This spring, Christopher Davis, 35, graduates with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and an overall GPA of 3.58. Prior to his enrollment at USFSM, Davis served more than 14 years in the U.S. Army as a paratrooper and senior intelligence analyst in Special Operations where he was awarded two Bronze Star medals over seven deployments in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Philippines. Davis is also a decorated first sergeant in the 82nd Airborne Division.  After his service to his country, Davis struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and was homeless for a period of time. He began counseling and took advantage of the G.I. Bill to enroll at USFSM, where he served as an associate justice in Student Government, was a member of the rowing club and participated on the university’s veterans committee and veteran’s legacy scholarship committee. In addition to maintaining a 12+ credit hour course load over seven consecutive semesters, Davis began a full-time job as program manager for Goodwill Manasota’s new American Veterans and their Families Initiative, which has assisted more than 700 veterans in accessing local, state and federal services. In this role, he has raised more than $650,000 to support transitioning veterans, developed a network of more than 200 community, state and federal leaders, authored the Goodwill Veteran’s Resource Guide and was named Sarasota’s Veteran of the Year in 2013. After graduation, Davis plans to depart immediately to begin a 2, 185 mile hike of the Appalachian Trail to raise awareness of the needs of veterans returning from deployment. Starting in Katahdin, Maine, and ending near his hometown of Ellijay, Ga., Davis expects the journey to take about five months, while passing through 14 states. 

Paul Searles Webecke Award: Ryan Stulman, College of Business.  This honor is given to the most outstanding student in the Master of Business Administration program. Ryan Stulman received his BS in Finance from USF Sarasota-Manatee College of Business in 2008 and will be graduating the MBA program with an overall GPA of 3.86. He currently holds the position of payroll operations supervisor for BenefitMall, where he is responsible for effective communications to clients regarding payrolls and ongoing projects that relate to client relationships. He is a veteran of the Iraq war where he served as sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, earning a Navy and Marine Corps Medal of Achievement in 2005. An avid runner, Stulman has also volunteered time with the Wounded Warrior Project as a peer mentor, organizing local activities and helping wounded veterans cope with stress and recovery. Looking ahead, Stulman plans to pursue his passion for cooking by opening his own restaurant.

Spring 2014 Outstanding Professor: Ernest Scott, College of Arts and Sciences. Honorees for the Outstanding Professor Award at USF Sarasota-Manatee share a sincere involvement with their students, passion for the university and its mission and a commitment to excellence through education. Presented by the Student Government Association on behalf of the graduating seniors, the award is the highest campus level honor for USF Sarasota-Manatee faculty members. It recognizes exceptional accomplishments, leadership and service to the campus and community. Dr. Ernest Scott is an Instructor of Criminology and a 30-year law enforcement veteran who retired as chief of investigations from the Orange County Florida Sheriff’s Office. He received his Ph.D. in Public Affairs/Criminal Justice in 2006 from the University of Central Florida. Dr. Scott is a co-founder of the FINDER system, a law enforcement information sharing project that is in wide use by Florida’s police agencies. He is involved in law enforcement research with primary interests in information sharing, crime and intelligence analysis, intelligence led policing, and human resources. Dr. Scott is proud to have been voted the Most Outstanding Professor for spring 2014 and says he enjoys the opportunity to spend one-on-one time with students from diverse backgrounds and life goals, helping them prepare for successful careers. “I am flattered by our students’ recognition, particularly since I have demanded so much of them in terms of meeting the high standards that comprise the foundation value of the USFSM degree,” he said. “While I am honored by this award, it is clear to me that neither I nor the students I have been privileged to work with would succeed without the collective contributions of our committed USFSM faculty and staff.”