Dean Donna Petersen receives President’s Fellow Medallion recognizing meritorious service

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USF President Steven Currall honored USF College of Public Health Dean Donna Petersen with the President’s Fellow Medallion at the Spring 2021 in-person commencement ceremony. 

It is the first time in Currall’s administration that the medallion, given at the president’s discretion, has been awarded.

Petersen, who is also senior associate vice president of USF Health and chair of the university’s COVID-19 Task Force, was awarded the medallion for what Currall described as her “exemplary service to USF,the Tampa Bay region, the state of Florida and beyond.”

Currall noted that one of his privileges as university president is to honor deserving individuals with awards of distinction.

An emotional Donna Petersen, ScD, MHS, CPH, accepts the President’s Fellow Medallion from USF President Steven Currall at the Spring 2021 commencement ceremony. (Image courtesy of USF Newsroom)

“Throughout this [COVID-19] crisis, Dr. Petersen has provided invaluable expertise and guidance,” he said. “She has been a trusted and caring voice in our evidence-based approach to decision-making. On behalf of our entire USF community, I am deeply grateful to Dr. Petersen for her efforts to keep so many of our students, faculty and staff safe and, importantly, informed, while we continue our path back to campus.”

Petersen said she was surprised by—and appreciative of—the award.

“it was an emotional moment for me because this is what I do—this is what public health professionals do—and we don’t expect to be recognized,” Petersen commented. “It has been a distinct privilege to work with such a dedicated group of professionals since the president asked me to serve as the chair of the USF COVID-19 Task Force. Our work is not yet done, and it has at times not been easy, but it is incredibly rewarding to do work that you know makes an immediate difference in people’s lives. I appreciate the president’s acknowledgement of our work and his expression of gratitude. It means a lot to me.”

Story by Donna Campisano, USF College of Public Health