USF Health Commencement Highlights

School of Physical Therapy graduates, May 2012

USF Health bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral students participated in several University of South Florida commencement ceremonies in the newly renovated Sun Dome over the weekend.   Surrounding family friends, faculty and staff, the graduates celebrated a milestone in their journey of lifelong learning as health professionals.  Below are some commencement highlights:

College of Nursing

The College of Nursing graduated 194 students this Spring:  117 students earned BS degrees, 73 received MS degrees,  and four were awarded doctoral degrees — two DNPs  (Doctorate of Nursing Practice) degree two PhDs (Nursing Science).

A traditional pinning ceremony, featuring the Alumni Path of Light,  was held Friday evening in the Marshall Center Ballroom before the nursing students walked in their commencement ceremonies on Saturday.

USF College of Nursing graduates, May 2012, pinning ceremony

USF baccalaureate nursing graduates attending the Spring 2012 Pinning Ceremony, which marks the transition from student to professional nurse.

The College of Nursing’s Monica Messer, 71, of Riverview, was the oldest graduate at USF this May, earning a PhD in nursing.  This was Messer’s second doctorate in nursing; she earned a DNP from USF in 2008.

Among the baccalaureate students picking up a diploma  was Matt Jenkins, a Marine veteran determined to turn his combat lifesaver training into a nursing career at James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital.

Elizabeth Beardsley went the extra mile to earn both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in nursing from the USF Tampa campus this May.  Rather than lodging at hotels or driving three times a week from her home in Lake City, she and her husband purchased a travel trailer to stay at a local RV park when she was in Tampa.

College of Public Health

In two different commencement ceremonies on Saturday, the USF College of Public Health said good-bye to more than 150 graduates, including 71 with undergraduate public health degrees (BSPH), 79 with master’s degrees and six with doctoral degrees.   The college also bid farewell to several faculty members retiring after many years of service —  Dr. Ann DeBaldo, Dr. Stan Graven, Dee Jeffers and Dr. Robert McDermott.

Ivana Sehovic (center), public health graduate

Public health graduate Ivana Sehovic (center) with Kathleen O'Rourke, PhD, (left) professor of epidemiology, and Donna Petersen, ScD, dean of the USF College of Public Health.

The public health graduates were honored at a ceremony in the College’s Sam Bell Auditorium on Friday afternoon, before attending the university’s Saturday commencements.  Donna Haiduven, PhD, assistant professor of global health who won the college’s Outstanding Faculty Award, was among those who addressed the graduates.

The  USF public health graduates included Ivana Sehovic, a native of Sarajevo Bosnia who followed in her mother’s footsteps by earning a master’s of public health in epidemiology at USF (mom Marina was a 2011 graduate of COPH).  Also graduating this May, with an MPH degree, was Patrick Johnson, a doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) who developed a target product profile for drugs to treat dengue fever while at USF.  Click here to read their stories.

School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences

The Morsani College of Medicine’s School of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences graduated 28 DPT (Doctor of Physical Therapy) students this May.  The students were honored at a reception in the USF Gibbons Alumni Center preceding their Saturday evening commencement ceremony at the SunDome.   Dr. William S. Quillen,  professor and director of SPTRS and associate dean of the Morsani College of Medicine, welcomed and introduced guests.

Awards were presented to two outstanding graduates:  Aly Dhanani received the Dean’s Leadership Award, given to a student who consistently demonstrates strong leadership characteristics throughout their professional study.  Amanda Colucci received the Dr. Catherine Page Award for Clinical Education Excellence, which recognizes a student with exceptional clinical skills.


DPT student Amanda Colucci with fiance, May 2012

DPT graduate Amanda Colucci, winner of the SPTRS Page Award for Clinical Education Excellence, with fiance Christopher Wagner


Aly Dhanani (second from right), DPT graduate, May 2012

DPT graduate Aly Dhanani (second from right), winner of the SPTRS Dean's Leadership Award, with family members.

Dr. S. Hun Kim and Dr. Jason Highsmith, Physical Therapy

Dr. S. Hun Kim and Dr. Jason Highsmith, were among the SPTRS faculty members attending the graduation reception and commencement.

School of Biomedical Sciences

The Morsani College of Medicine’s School of Biomedical Sciences expected to graduate 50 students this May — five earning PhDs, 33 MS in Medical Science, two MA in Bioethics and Medical Humanities, and 10 MS in Biotechnology.   The graduates who walked participated in Saturday evening’s commencement at the Sun Dome.

Athletic Training Program

The Athletic Training Program, housed within the Morsani College of Medicine’s Department of Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, had 24 students graduate Saturday afternoon with the BS degrees in athletic training.  This year’s class scored a 96 percent pass rate overall on their national boards — the program’s highest ever, said Program Director Micki Cuppett, EdD, ATC.

athletic training graduates, spring 2012

Class of 2012 athletic training graduates

For Morsani College of Medicine graduates, a dose of gratitude