Students celebrate milestones at 2019 USF Health Commencement Ceremony

Video and article by Allison Long.

Photos by Freddie Coleman.

 

The arena erupted in cheers and applause as USF System President Judy Genshaft walked toward the stage for this year’s USF Health Commencement Ceremony – and one of her final commencement exercises.

The May 2 graduation ceremony was among her final as USF President and the students, friends and families at the Yuengling Center on the USF Tampa campus all showed their gratitude for her 19-year tenure.

The USF Health’s Morsani College of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy and College of Public Health were represented at the 2019 Spring Commencement held in the Yuengling Center.

“These ceremonies are especially significant for me as this is my last time presiding over commencement as USF President,” Genshaft said, as she welcomed everyone to the ceremony. “Over my 19 years as president I’ve had the honor and the privilege of graduating over 210,000 USF students.”

The 2019 USF Health Commencement featured students graduating with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees representing USF Health’s Morsani College of Medicine, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy and College of Public Health. The Morsani College of Medicine will also hold an MD commencement ceremony on May 10.

Dr. Charles J. Lockwood spoke to the graduates and their families at the 2019 Spring Commencement.

In addition to acknowledging the significance of Genshaft’s contributions to USF, the evening ceremony also offered two other milestones: the graduation of the charter class of the Physician Assistant program in the Morsani College of Medicine, and the graduation of the charter class of the Genetics Counseling program in the College of Public Health.

Zachary Ulshafer, Physician Assistant Program graduate, gave the student welcome at the 2019 Spring Commencement.

Kyle Holsted, a 2019 physician assistant graduate, understood the importance of being in the charter class. “It’s nice to set the foundation for USF Health and for the P.A. (physician assistant) program,” he said.

Audrey Heimler received an honorary doctorate in public health for her pioneering work in genetic counseling, and David Eddy, MD, received the President’s Fellow Medallion. Dr. Eddy is a professor for the USF Institute for Advanced Discovery and Innovation.

Also, the College of Public Health featured several award-winning students:

  • King O’Neal Scholars: Ved Patel, Kaelan Skinner and Jessica Zelitt
  • Golden Bull awardee: Whitney Fung.

USF System President Judy Genshaft and Merritt Martin, USF Alumni Association chair, presented College of Public Health graduate Ved Patel with a King O’Neal Scholar award.

And the College of Nursing also featured several award-winning students:

  • King O’Neal Scholars: Loretta Bayer, Laura Rouco and Carly Stagg
  • Outstanding Graduate: Roberto Velasco

College of Nursing graduate Loretta Bayer received a King O’Neal Scholar award from Genshaft and Martin.

The USF Health commencement ceremony was one of several Spring commencement exercises across the USF System. With approximately 7,500 degrees expected to be conferred, the 2019 class represents the largest in USF System history. The class features graduates from 50 states, 109 nations and 57 students with a cumulative 4.0 GPA.