Stephanie Gaskins remembered for her kindness and commitment to the college

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In a January 18 recommendation on LinkedIn, Derek Witkowski shared “It will be a difficult task to truly express how appreciative I am to have met Stephanie (Gaskins). I have only been in the MHA program for a semester now and already she’s been a tremendous amount of help. Stephanie has the level of kindness and generosity that only comes from someone who genuinely cares about people. Her colleagues and I agree that she is invaluable to the USF COPH. I look forward to working with her in the future!”

Stephanie Gaskins served as the academic services administrator for the Department of Health Policy and Management (HPM). She passed away from breast cancer on Monday, June 4.

“Not a day goes by that a student or alumnus does not ask about Stephanie. She had a welcoming and helpful spirit that others gravitated to,” says Donna Dye, a staff assistant in HPM who worked closely with Stephanie.

Among other things, Donna and Stephanie shared in an interest in genealogy.  “We discovered that each of us had nefarious characters in our family tree. In Stephanie’s case, her mother’s family supported the British and her paternal ancestors fought on the side of the French-Canadians!”

“For more than a decade, I taught one course a year,” shared John P. Petrila, JD, LL.M, a professor in the department. “Despite my part-time status, Stephanie was always extraordinarily nice and helpful—reminding me that my syllabus was due, helping me to locate a student, or recommending that I consider another classroom … She will be missed.”

Stephanie’s accomplishments in the college are many, but her most notable is managing the department’s Health Policy Sound Bytes Podcast.  Available through ITunesU, the podcast features interviews with leaders in healthcare and supported classroom instruction.

On May 24, Stephanie wrote to Natalie D. Preston-Washington, manager of field experience and career development. In the e-mail, Stephanie shared “I miss all the great staff, students and faculty in the COPH, and hope that one day I will be able to return to work.”

The COPH family was blessed with Stephanie for five years. Prior to joining the college, she was the distance learning student support coordinator in Educational Outreach—in all, a 19-year veteran of USF.

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Stephanie Borden Gaskins, 54, of Tampa, died June  4, 2012 after a long, courageous battle with breast cancer.  She was born in Montreal, Quebec and raised on Prince Edward Island, Canada.  Stephanie worked at the University of South Florida for 19 years and was active in the community.  She was predeceased by her parents, Robert and Priscilla Borden and her sister, Michelle Gough.  She will be greatly missed by her husband, Herb, and her son, Christopher; sister, Pamela Borden; brother, Alex Borden and his wife, Joyce; brother-in-law, Bruce Gough; step-son, Bobby Gaskins; nieces, Jacqueline Gough, Heather and Emily Borden; nephew, John Robert Gough and his son, Kalen; aunt, Aline Mackinnon; and close friends. The memorial service to celebrate Stephanie’s life will be held on June 23, 2012  at the residence of Susan Zucker and Alan Balfour, 7013 Rivergate Avenue, Temple Terrace 33637 at 11 a.m.  (Contact

Condolences may be posted on Stephanie’s Facebook page.  Memorial donations can be made to: (Indicate “Free mammogram program”).”

Story by Natalie D. Preston, College of Public Health.