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Austins to Receive Doctorates at UT Commencement

Published: December 13, 2004

Alfred S. and Beverly A. Austin will receive honorary doctorates at UT’s December Commencement. The pair are an ever-present team on the University’s behalf, so the decision was made to give them the University’s highest honor at the ceremony on Plant Hall’s East Verandah on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 1 p.m.


More than 300 students have applied for December graduation, the largest group yet, said Melanie Zabowski, assistant registrar in charge of academic records in the Registrar’s Office. The figure includes 76 who have applied for master’s degrees, Zabowski said.  


The combined numbers eclipse last year’s 295, making this year’s affair the largest December Commencement at the University.


Dr. Nancy Ross, the 2004 Louise Loy Hunter Award recipient, will be the featured Commencement speaker. The Hunter Award is bestowed on a faculty member for cumulative contributions in teaching, service and scholarship, and is the highest official honor that can be bestowed on a faculty member at The University of Tampa.


The Austins are known throughout the community for their energetic support of countless community causes. They are active fundraisers for cancer research, among other causes, and co-chaired a fundraising event for prostate cancer research.


At UT, Beverly Austin has been involved with the Chiselers Inc., has served as their president, and also has served as a member of the Plant Museum Society.


Al Austin, a 1947 graduate of UT, has been chairman emeritus of The University of Tampa Board of Trustees since 1997, and has been a member of the Board since 1982. In 1988, he received the prestigious Champions of Higher Independent Education in Florida, or C.H.I.E.F., award, and in 1992 was elected to the Tampa Bay Business Hall of Fame. He is a founding member of the Florida Council on Economic Education, and continues to be an active board member.


Together, the Austins chaired the University’s highly successful capital campaign.


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