USF returns to in-person commencement
The University of South Florida held in-person commencement ceremonies for the first time since December 2019, as COVID-19 forced ceremonies to be held virtually in spring, summer and fall of 2020. Approximately 7,200 degrees were awarded in the spring 2021 class, including 5,206 undergraduate, 1,691 master’s, 289 doctoral and 12 specialist’s degrees.The graduates represented all 50 U.S. states and 100 nations. READ MORE
Tooth plaque from ancient skeleton offers new insight into human evolution
Fossilized plaque scraped from the teeth of a 4,500-year-old skeleton discovered by University of South Florida professors is helping to unlock the secrets of what ancient humans ate and how our species evolved.

The findings from the groundbreaking study reveal that starchy foods were part of the human diet millions of years earlier than previously thought, which could have played a significant part in how ancient humans’ brains evolved. READ MORE
Student overcomes autism challenges to finish college journey with education degree
After going from a straight A student in his high school IB program to intensely struggling with his college courses, Toby Tobin sought medical advice. He would be diagnosed with Asperger’s in 2016 and autism in 2020, but he did not let that stop him.

Tobin graduated this spring with a bachelor of science in elementary education with endorsements in reading, elementary science instruction and leadership (ESIL) and exceptional student education (ESE). Read about his long college journey and how the support from USF’s St. Petersburg campus community helped him earn his degree.
New native landscape brings monarch butterflies to campus
New landscaping featuring native Florida plants lured a host of unique visitors to campus: monarch butterflies.

In caterpillar form, nearly 60 individuals of this imperiled species appeared one morning outside of the Peter Rudy Wallace building, attracted by milkweed planted by the groundskeeping crew. Now many of the caterpillars have transformed and flown away as beautiful monarchs. READ MORE
Professor receives National Endowment for Humanities grant for research into citizenship and identity
History Instructor Larissa Kopytoff has received a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant to continue research into the evolving ideas of citizenship and identity in colonial and post-colonial Africa. Kopytoff’s research project was one of 225 humanities projects across the country selected by NEH that received a total of $24 million in grants last month.

Kopytoff, a historian of Africa whose research explores citizenship and nationality issues, will use the summer stipend grant to continue her work examining how citizenship in Senegal was continuously redefined and reimagined by African men and women around the beginning of the 20th century. READ MORE
I AM 400 banner brings celebration of Black history to campus
An art banner designed to honor 400 years of African American history is now mounted on the main academic building on USF’s St. Petersburg campus, where organizers say it will serve as a powerful symbol of the campus’ commitment to honoring the Black experience.

Called “I AM 400,” the banner was created by father and son artists Jerome and Jeromyah Jones from Richmond, Va. It is a collection of 69 painted portraits of notable pioneers from the African American community, such as Martin Luther King Jr., Arthur Ashe, Stevie Wonder and trailblazing NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson. READ MORE
Students conduct digital inventory of campus trees to document environmental benefits
For nearly 150 years, people have observed Arbor Day by coming together to plant trees. On USF’s St. Petersburg campus, students are celebrating trees by counting them.

Students working with the facilities department are creating a map and database for each tree on campus that will inform future plans to diversify tree populations and expand canopy cover across campus. READ MORE
Professors receive Faculty Excellence Award for research and creative efforts focused on women
Two USF St. Petersburg campus faculty members were among a small group of professors across all USF campuses to receive the Dr. Kathleen Moore Faculty Excellence Award presented by the Women in Leadership & Philanthropy program. The competitive award given to six USF faculty members each year provides funding for research and creative efforts focused on women and issues affecting women.

Criminology Associate Professor Joan Reid and Anthropology Assistant Professor Heather O’Leary will each receive $5,000 research grants to further their respective research projects. READ MORE
'Discover Your PATHe' workshops to help de-mystify college admissions process for Pinellas County students, parents
For many students, the most challenging aspect of college admissions is simply figuring out which universities they should consider when applying. USF’s Pinellas Access to Higher Education (PATHe) program is offering guidance to high school students in making post-graduation plans through a free series of virtual workshops.

Students will connect with peers from different high schools, hear from current college students and receive materials and resources to continue their post-high school plans. READ MORE
Women and Leadership Initiative's Mentorship Forward supports MBA students, women of color and their allies
This year, the Women and Leadership Initiative within the Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership is supporting mentees addressing the inequities that women of color and their supporters face in overcoming discrimination in the workplace. They are also equipping outstanding students with the skills needed to accelerate their careers. The program is serving 14 graduate students, with 75 percent being women of color and almost all MBA students. READ MORE