The ceremonies included recipients of approximately 3,282 undergraduate, 1,101 master’s and 161 doctoral degrees.
The group features 41 undergraduate students earning a perfect 4.0 GPA and 584 student veterans, and includes graduates from 49 states and 84 nations. At 18 years old, the youngest graduate is earning a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences. The oldest graduate, who is 76 years old, is receiving a bachelor’s degree in history.
USF President Rhea Law presided over all ceremonies, which were held at the Yuengling Center on the Tampa campus.
Student feature stories:
- Danylo Solomentsev persevered through several major challenges during his academic journey. In 2017, Solomentsev left his home in Ukraine to pursue a marketing degree at USF. In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted his studies and internship plans, Solomentsev went back to Ukraine. He returned to Tampa in January 2022, just a few weeks before the Russia-Ukraine war began. The event divided Solomentsev’s life in two. Solomentsev’s mother fled for safety, however the rest of his family remained in Ukraine. Despite the constant news of the war, Solomentsev stayed focused on graduating. He also sought ways to help Ukrainians affected by the war. Solomentsev teamed up with a small group of Ukrainian, as well as Russian friends at USF and used his marketing skills to help coordinate a campaign that raised more than $7,000 for humanitarian relief. After graduation, he plans to pursue a master’s degree at USF. Solomentsev’s mother, who ultimately fled to Slovakia, is planning to attend his ceremony.
- While pursuing dual degrees, producing a podcast on race and equity and working as a resident assistant, Alexia Castellon also had to worry about her family in Fort Myers, who evacuated to a shelter during Hurricane Ian. Castellon was supposed to join them as the hurricane approached but wanted first to help students evacuate from the St. Petersburg campus. By the time she ensured all resident students had a plan in place, it was not safe to drive the two hours back home. So instead, she rode out the storm safely on campus. In the end, the Castellon family was fortunate to have only minor damage to their home, but they lived without power for the next two weeks and struggled to feed their large family. With limited communication, it was challenging at times for Castellon to focus on the demands of classes and extracurricular activities, but she pressed forward. Castellon is graduating with a bachelor’s in biology and a bachelor’s in health sciences. She plans to take a semester off and volunteer at a local hospital. After that, Castellon hopes to attend the nursing program on the St. Petersburg campus.
- Born in the Dominican Republic, Yaniris Garcia-Jerez immigrated to the United States with her mother when she was just three years old to seek medical treatment for cardiovascular disease. Growing up, Garcia-Jerez struggled with anxiety and depression and in high school, lacked the motivation to complete certain assignments. Everything changed two years ago when, at age 20, she was diagnosed with ADHD while attending USF. As Garcia-Jerez, the first in her family to attend college, prepares to graduate debt-free with a bachelor’s in psychology from the Sarasota-Manatee campus, her vision for the future is clear. She wants to work with others — children, teens and young adults with disabilities — who struggle with their mental health in academic settings. She has her sights set on USF's clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling master’s program.