The USF College of Public Health feted 142 new public health professionals at its summer 2019 graduation ceremony, held Aug. 2 in the college’s Samuel P. Bell Auditorium.
Fifty-eight students were recognized for earning their BSPH degrees while 60 were honored for receiving master’s degrees. Seven received their doctorates.
In recognition of her 4.0 grade point average (GPA) and her outstanding service to the USF community, Andrea Prospect, who earned her BSPH, was honored with two prestigious USF Alumni Association awards: the King O’Neal Scholar Award and the USF Outstanding Graduate Award. Read more about her accomplishments here.
During the morning’s undergraduate “pinning” ceremony―so named because graduates receive USF pins commemorating their graduation―Dr. Donna Petersen, dean of the college, welcomed the graduates, their family and friends, faculty and staff by sharing the day’s headlines. The dean noted that the public’s health is an ever-present concern (and news topic) for the country and the world.
Among stories about abortion laws, climate change and wildfires was a piece about the birth of an orangutan at an Arkansas zoo. “Why does that matter?” asked Petersen. “Because everything that happens in our environment affects our health.”
One of the highlights of the morning ceremony was a speech delivered by guest speaker Shawn Zamani, who received his BSPH last year. Zamani now works as a research assistant at Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute and is headed to England’s University of Cambridge as a Gates Cambridge Scholar. He will pursue his PhD in public health.
Zamani urged the graduates to “remember the big picture. Your degree may be in your name, but it is not just for you. Put the ‘public’ in public health by dedicating yourself to this mission of improving health. Your work is not measured by how many titles or degrees you have. It is measured by how many lives you improve.”
Zamani’s words were echoed in the afternoon celebration where Dr. Anna Torrens Armstrong, a COPH assistant professor and this year’s recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award, told graduates that “Public health is the gift that keeps on giving. This is not the end of your journey, but the beginning,” she added. “Advocate, educate, explore and find ways to be effective. Your future starts today.”
Like the undergraduates had earlier in the day, those receiving their graduate degrees gathered with their family and friends in the COPH lobby for congratulations and cake. But not before Dr. Jaime Corvin, a COPH associate professor and director who spoke at the graduate ceremony, had this to say to those in attendance: “Stand up for the vulnerable, fight for the innocent and weak and advocate for change. Let nothing stand in the way of your drive and passion, and never cease to be inspired.”
Undergraduate photo gallery: Summer2019UndergradPinningCeremonyPhotoGallery
Graduate photo gallery: Summer2019COPHgraduationceremonyforgraduatestudentsPhotoGallery
Story by Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health
Tags: Andrea Prospect, Anna Torrens Armstrong, Class of 2019, COPH summer 2019 graduation, Donna Petersen, Excellence in Teaching Award, Jaime Corvin, King O’Neal Scholar, Outstanding Graduate, Shawn Zamani, USF Alumni Association, USF-COPH