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Dec. 9, 2016

USFSP to Celebrate Students, Award Recipients at Commencement

A combined banner photo of three students
From left: Megan Lee, Albert Moreno III, and Mollie Wilfert. The photo of Albert is from Beautiful You Images.

USF St. Petersburg will celebrate the accomplishments of 493 new graduates during its Fall Commencement, representing 415 undergraduate and 78 graduate students from 36 academic homes. The ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11 at the Mahaffey Theater. 

During the ceremony, Albert Moreno III will be recognized as the Fall 2016 Outstanding Graduate. Moreno, a U.S. Army veteran, will graduate Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor's degree in English and a minor in Mass Communications. 

Two King O'Neal scholars will be recognized. Megan Lee will graduate with a bachelor's degree in Education. She previously received a K-6 Elementary Education certification, a K-12 Exceptional Student Education certification, and endorsements in reading and English for speakers of other languages. After graduation, she plans to teach elementary school students. Mollie Wilfert will graduate with a bachelor's degree in Anthropology and a bachelor's degree in Marketing. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in marketing, in which she will apply anthropological theories and methods. 

Read more about the award winners.
Former USF Trustee to Receive Institution's Top Recognition

A photo of Debbie Nye Sembler
Debbie Nye Sembler
Debbie Nye Sembler, one of the USF System's longest-serving trustees, will receive the annual Chancellor's Award for Civic Leadership at the Fall 2016 Commencement ceremony. 

Sembler served on the USF Board of Trustees for 12 years and as chair of the USFSP Campus Board for 10 years. As chair, she helped to facilitate the growth of the campus, which serves some 6,700 students in more than 40 undergraduate and graduate programs. 

"I am honored to present this award to a woman whose commitment to this university has helped transform St. Petersburg and the lives of our students, both past and present," said Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska. "The vibrant university we know and love today is possible because of people like Debbie Nye Sembler, whose impact can be seen in multiple buildings and initiatives across campus."

Read more about Sembler's contributions to the university.
USFSP Hires New Campus Diversity Officer 

A photo of Cecil Howard standing with palm trees in the background
Cecil Howard
Cecil Howard joined USFSP as the new Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) in November. Howard comes from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, where he served as the executive director of Social Equity.  In this new role, he will partner with students, faculty, staff and institutional committees and serve as a liaison to community partners and internal and external constituents regarding initiatives and advances in diversity and inclusion at USFSP. 

"We are pleased that Cecil has accepted our offer to serve in this capacity," said Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska. "The creation of the Campus Diversity Officer role marks an important milestone in the implementation of our Vision 20/20 Strategic Plan and our efforts to reinforce our core values around inclusion."

Read more about Howard and his new role.
 
USFSP to Announce Its Climate Action Plan at City Press Conference
 
USFSP Sustainability Coordinator Brian Pullen holds a copy of the Climate Action Plan.
USFSP Sustainability Coordinator Brian Pullen holds a copy of the Climate Action Plan.
The University will announce its new Climate Action Plan (CAP) during a press conference this afternoon on the steps of City Hall. USFSP Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska will speak alongside St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman and Sierra Club "Ready for 100" director Kassie Rohrbach during the event. 

The CAP will serve as a guide to help the university reach its sustainability goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. The plan, a set of goals and strategies that were developed by USFSP staff and students to reduce carbon emissions, reflects an extensive analysis of the campus's 2014 greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory and daily use forecast. 

"The creation and implementation of this plan is a huge step--not only for USFSP, but for the entire St. Petersburg community," said Brian Pullen, sustainability coordinator at USFSP. "Together, we created a feasible, yet aggressive, plan for guidance on how the university will foster innovative solutions to mitigate and adapt to 21st century global and environmental issues."

Read more about the initiative.
Faculty Spotlight: Jay Sokolovsky 

A photo of Dr. Jay Sokolovsky
Meet Dr. Jay Sokolovsky, professor of Anthropology and chair of the Department of Society, Culture and Language, a renowned expert and pioneer in the subfield of study that focuses on aging. His research includes urban anthropology, psychological/medical anthropology, and the life course. The bulk of his career has been dedicated to demonstrating the importance of anthropology in social work, psychiatry, and public health for understanding health and late life issues. 

"By studying the anthropology of aging, we have a chance to understand how to organize families, workplace environments, work life and retirement," said Sokolovsky, who was featured in the Fall 2016 issue of USF Magazine

Sokolovsky received a bachelor's degree in Anthropology from Brooklyn College and his master's degree and doctorate in Anthropology from Penn State University.
 
Upcoming Events at USFSP
 
Check out a list of upcoming events. All events are free unless otherwise specified. 

USF St. Petersburg Fall 2016 Commencement
Sunday, Dec. 11, 6 p.m.
Mahaffey Theater, 400 First St. S., St. Petersburg
Tickets are required. Watch the live video stream at 6 p.m. on the USFSP Commencement website.

USFSP Lynn Pippenger Hall Ribbon Cutting
Tuesday, Jan. 17, 11:30 a.m.
140 Seventh Ave. S., St. Petersburg

USFSP Bay to Bay Distance Learning Symposium
Friday, Feb. 10, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
University Student Center Ballroom
Tickets are free for USFSP students, staff and faculty; $22 for tickets for individuals from other USFSP campuses and members of the community

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Jessica Blais
Director of Communications

Casey Crane
Communications Officer