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USF To Hold In-Person Commencement With COVID-19 Restrictions

The ceremonies will be held at Tropicana Field with a limited number of guests in attendance. Graduates also won't march onstage.

For the first time since December 2019, the University of South Florida is holding in-person commencement ceremonies.

To accommodate graduates and some family members, a pair of ceremonies will be held Saturday at 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

COVID-19 forced USF to hold virtual ceremonies in spring, summer, and fall of 2020. Graduates from those classes and their families will be invited to a more traditional commencement in the future when COVID-19 restrictions are lowered.

About 7,200 degrees will be awarded, including 5,206 undergraduate, 1,691 master’s, 289 doctoral and 12 specialist’s degrees.

Among the graduates are the first 30 students from USF's accelerated nursing program on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. Students in the program should graduate in 16 months. The first class started in January 2020, and was forced to study online during the pandemic. They eventually were able to resume in-person instruction, including lab study and clinical work in local hospitals. Not one of the original enrollees left the program.

Graduates represent all 50 U.S. states and 100 nations, with 67 undergraduate students earning a perfect 4.0 GPA.

The oldest graduate is a 69-year-old earning a bachelor’s degree in history.

The youngest is Saefallah Mohamed, 17, who is earning bachelor’s degrees in both biomedical sciences and public health. Mohamed continues a family tradition, as the third member of his family to be the youngest USF graduate in their class. His brother Ahmed graduated in 2016, while his brother Adam graduated in 2020.

Graduates won't march onstage, but will be individually honored by having their names announced and briefly standing to be recognized.

Each graduate will be able to bring two guests with them, and the ceremonies will be live streamed for those who can't attend.

All graduates and attendees will have to wear face coverings.

Full commencement schedule:

(Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg)

  • Saturday, May 8, 9 a.m. ceremony includes graduates from the colleges of Behavioral and Community Sciences, Muma College of Business, Education, Morsani College of Medicine, Nursing, Taneja College of Pharmacy and Public Health.
  • Saturday, May 8, 6:30 p.m. ceremony includes graduates from the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, Patel College of Global Sustainability, Marine Science and The Arts, as well as Undergraduate Studies and Graduate Studies.

Copyright 2021 WUSF Public Media - WUSF 89.7

Mark Schreiner has been the producer and reporter for "University Beat" on WUSF 89.7 FM since 2001 and on WUSF TV from 2007-2017.