More than 700 students will walk in UT’s spring commencement at the St. Pete
Times Forum on Saturday, May 10, at 1 p.m. It will mark the largest graduating
class in the University’s history. With 721 applying to participate, the total
tops last spring’s number by more than 100. Almost 600 are May graduates, nearly
equaling last year’s total of May and August graduates combined. Of the
anticipated grand total, 602 have applied for bachelor’s degrees, 138 expect to
receive master’s degrees, and one associate degree also will be awarded.
As part of the ceremony, UT will award Maestro Anton Coppola an honorary
Doctor of Fine Arts degree. Coppola is an internationally known composer,
librettist and conductor who brings many years of experience to the podium, and
was largely instrumental in the establishment of opera in Tampa. He is the uncle
of film director Francis Ford Coppola, and includes musical contributions to two
of his nephew’s films, Godfather III and Dracula, among his many major
Commencement speaker is John Jaeb, son of Robert and Lorena, and president of
both Quest Capital Corp., which administers his private investments, and Quest
Automotive Inc., the largest Midas franchisee in greater Atlanta.
A 1983 graduate of UT with a degree in finance, Jaeb spent most of his career
as CEO and majority shareholder of Pick-Kwik Corporation. During his 12-year
involvement, Pick-Kwik grew from its “old format” convenience store base to a
modern, high-volume gasoline and merchandise marketer with revenues growing from
$35 million to $150 million per year.
Jaeb also will accept the C.H.I.E.F. (Champion of Higher Independent
Education in Florida) Award for his parents, Robert and Lorena Jaeb, former
owners of the Tampa-based Pick-Kwik convenience store chain. The award is
presented by the President’s Council of Independent Colleges and Universities of
Florida. The Jaebs were elected unanimously after being nominated by UT, and
join a prestigious group that includes a veritable who’s who of Florida
community and business leaders.
Spring 2003 marks UT’s 93rd commencement.
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