USF Sarasota-Manatee Will Hold 63rd Commencement Ceremony Sunday, May 3


SARASOTA, Fla. (April 28, 2015) – The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) will hold its spring commencement exercises at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 3, at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto, Fla., 34221. Map here.

Of the 286 USF Sarasota-Manatee seniors who have applied to graduate at the spring 2015 commencement, 175 are expected to attend the ceremony. The 286 graduates include 33 master’s degree candidates and 253 bachelor’s degree candidates from four colleges: Arts & Sciences, Business, Education and Hospitality & Tourism Leadership.

Regional Chancellor Dr. Sandra S. Stone will represent USF Sarasota-Manatee, and USF System President Dr. Judy Genshaft will preside. Dr. Bonnie Jones, assistant vice president for institutional research and effectiveness, will be the ceremony announcer. Faculty senate president Dr. Patricia Hunsader will bear the mace of the university.  Sarah Bradtmueller, student in the USFSM College of Education, will perform the National Anthem and USF Alma Mater.

Special award recipients at the ceremony include:

Golden Bull Service and Outstanding Leadership Award: Jabari Williams, College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership, Hospitality ManagementJabariWilliams_GoldenBull

The Golden Bull Award is sponsored by the USFSM Student Government Association and is presented to a student who has demonstrated excellence in leadership activities, community and university involvement and academic success.

Jabari Williams is well known by faculty and fellow students as a diligent and exceptional student who is always willing to lend a hand. A native of Sarasota, Jabari graduated from Riverview High School and received his associate degree from Hillsboro Community College. Jabari enjoys giving back to his community, working with organizations that support children’s success and making a positive impact. He has served in numerous USFSM clubs and societies, including the Adventure Club, Black Student Union, Hospitality Society, Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter, Matadors Softball Team, Backwater Bulls Fishing Club, and many others. He is proud of his accomplishments as a volunteer with the YMCA, the Newtown Community, NAACP Youth Council, New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, USF College of Health Obesity Prevention Program and Horizons Academy. His hobbies include sports, cars, fishing and cooking. Jabari graduates with a Bachelor of Arts in Hospitality Management from the USFSM College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership.

Outstanding Graduate Award: Colleen Bankuty, College of Business, AccountingColleenBankuty_OutstandingGraduate

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Outstanding Graduate Award is presented at each commencement ceremony by the USF Alumni Association. This prestigious award recognizes the graduating senior who embodies leadership, school spirit, community service, character and scholarship.

The USF Alumni Association is pleased to name Colleen Bankuty as the Outstanding Graduate for spring 2015. An avid volunteer, she has served in the USFSM Accounting Society, as a Senator in the USFSM Student Government Association, and as a student-member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Colleen was the recipient of the Dean’s Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Performance on the ETS Major Field Test in Business and is recognized as an Outstanding Student in Accounting. Colleen was featured in a recent article on emerging talent “How to Pass the Torch” by Accounting Today. Colleen’s instructors report that Colleen is a “stellar student” who has proven that dedication and hard work pay off. Colleen graduates with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the USFSM College of Business.

Paul Searls Webecke Award: Gregory Farrenkopf, College of Business, Master of Business AdministrationWebeckeSp2015_GregoryFarrenkopf

The Webecke Award is presented to one student in the USF Sarasota-Manatee MBA program who embodies the highest principles of leadership. Established by Boar’s Head Provisions, Inc., the award honors Paul Searls Webecke, a USF Sarasota-Manatee MBA student who lost his life just prior to his graduation. Searls Webecke was an outstanding individual with qualities that extended far beyond academic excellence. The awardee who exemplifies these qualities is selected by the graduates of the current MBA cohort.

Gregory Farrenkopf, a graduate of Riverview High School, currently interns with the Manatee County Public Library System where he teaches adult computer classes and helps perform market research. Gregory is one of two inaugural graduate-level members of the USFSM chapter of Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society. After graduation he hopes to transition into a career in digital marketing and web analytics. Gregory enjoys playing the guitar and researching songs and guitar techniques. He says his hidden passion for cooking provides an opportunity to be creative and to make people happy. Gregory will graduate with a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the USFSM College of Business.

Outstanding Professor: Dr. Elaine Augustine, Instructor, College of Arts & SciencesDr. Elaine Augustine

Honorees for the Outstanding Professor Award at USF Sarasota-Manatee share a sincere involvement with their students, passion for the university and its mission and a commitment to excellence through education. Presented by the Student Government Association on behalf of the graduating seniors, the award is the highest campus-level honor for USF Sarasota-Manatee faculty members. It recognizes exceptional accomplishments, leadership and service to the campus and community.

The spring 2015 Outstanding Professor is Dr. Elaine Augustine, an Instructor of Psychology in the College of Arts & Sciences. She received her BS in psychology from Southern University, Baton Rouge, and a PhD in developmental psychology from Indiana University. Dr. Augustine’s research examines object representation and categorization in infancy and early childhood. Dr. Augustine is passionate about teaching and has taught courses in psychological statistics, developmental psychology, language development and research methods.

For this and more, the USFSM students have recognized Dr. Augustine as this semester’s Most Outstanding Professor. This is the second time Dr. Augustine has been named USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Outstanding Professor. She also received the award in December 2013.


About USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM)

USF Sarasota-Manatee is a regional campus of the University of South Florida system, offering the prestige of a nationally ranked research university with the convenience of a hometown location, including classes in Manatee County, in North Port and online. Separately accredited, USFSM is ideal for those interested in pursuing a baccalaureate or master’s degree, professional certification, or continuing education credit in a small, personal setting with distinguished faculty and a dynamic curriculum of over 40 academic programs. Website: