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USF awards degrees on three campuses

Friday, it was Sarasota; Saturday, it was Tampa; and today, it's St. Petersburg's turn.

By LINDA GIBSON

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 7, 2000


TAMPA -- A scene Saturday night at the Fowler Avenue entrance to the University of South Florida told it all.

A woman dressed in her graduation cap and gown obligingly climbed onto the brick wall and posed in front of the giant university seal while her proud parents snapped pictures.

Thousands of USF graduates and their families went through the picture-taking ritual at graduation ceremonies Friday in Sarasota and Saturday in Tampa. The St. Petersburg campus is to have its ceremonies today.

Debbie Devine, 30, was among those who graduated in Tampa. Surrounded by her husband, her two children and a couple of cousins, Devine donned her cap and gown right after the family parked its car. Her outfit included the gold sash awarded to members of honor societies.

She was there to pick up a master of science degree in nursing. It was the end of a long haul that started at Hillsborough Community College in 1995.

"It feels great!" she said with a big smile.

Former USF President Betty Castor also was present to pick up a degree. In her case, it was an honorary doctorate of humane letters. During her five years as president, sponsored research funding at USF rose from $92-million to more than $161-million. She also helped obtain Division I Conference membership for the school's new Bulls football team.

The Outstanding Senior Award went to Elsi Yasmin Rodriguez, who received a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering. She'll continue her studies at Purdue University. While at USF, she racked up a long list of academic achievement awards while simultaneously participating in numerous campus organizations and volunteering with various community groups.

Ceremonies at the Tampa campus took place in the Sun Dome and were presided over by Richard Peck, interim president.

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