Published: April 23, 2009
The University of Tampa’s Class of 2009 will be the first UT class to
break 1,000 with 1,007 graduates when the seniors cross the stage at
spring commencement on Saturday, May 9, at 10 a.m. in the St. Pete Times
Forum. Of that number, which includes August graduates, 818 are
bachelor’s degree candidates and 189 are graduate degree candidates. The
ceremony is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.
Johnson Sirleaf, the president of Liberia, will give the commencement
address. She will also receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters.
Known as Africa’s “Iron Lady,” Sirleaf is a leading promoter of peace,
justice and democratic rule, and in 2007 was awarded the U.S.
Presidential Medal of Freedom. She was the first woman elected president
of an African nation and, in 2008,
magazine named her the 66th most powerful woman in the world.
Bennett, of Stone Mountain, Ga., will be the student speaker at
commencement. A government and world affairs major, Bennett has sat on
the Student Government Executive Board, participated in the ELITE
(Educating Leaders in Today’s Environment) Leadership Program and the
Diversity Fellowship, and worked for U.S. Congressman Hank Johnson. This
fall he was crowned Homecoming King.
At the ceremony, UT will
present the Bailey Family Foundation with the 2009 Champion of Higher
Independent Education in Florida (C.H.I.E.F.) Award. Founded in 1997 by
Ron K. Bailey, a former UT trustee and father of current trustee Kyle
Bailey, the foundation provides more than $2 million a year in
scholarships to 400 high school seniors and college students. In 2002,
the Bailey Family Foundation gave $2 million to the University to
construct the R.K. Bailey Art Studios, which houses the Scarfone/Hartley
Gallery. The C.H.I.E.F. award is the highest honor presented by the
Independent Colleges and Universities of Florida Council of Presidents,
the leadership of Florida independent higher education. The C.H.I.E.F.
Award is bestowed only upon distinguished individuals who represent the
greatest support of independent higher education in Florida.
2009 Esse Quam Videri Award, the highest award given by the National
Alumni Association to a graduate of UT, will be awarded to Ida Felicione
Coe, class of 1958. Coe has volunteered countless hours of her time to
UT in the last 50 years. She has served as secretary, treasurer, vice
president and president for the Tampa Alpha board, UT’s local alumni
chapter. She is also vice president of homecoming for UT’s National
Alumni Association Board of Directors and is a founding member of the
decade of the ‘50s reunions committee.
Brooke May, class of 2003,
will receive the Young Alumni Award. Soon after graduating, May became
an active member of the UT Board of Counselors, who serve as ambassadors
for the University by organizing social events to raise awareness and
funds for UT. May most recently served as chair of the Board of
Counselors in 2007-08 and as chair of the membership committee in
2008-09. During her tenure as the chair of the Counselors, the group
raised a record amount of money to support the Annual Fund and UT
For more information on commencement, contact the
Office of the Associate Provost and Dean of Academic Services at (813)
Commencement by the Numbers:
Total graduates = 1,007
Total bachelor’s degree candidates = 818
Summa cum laude = 1
Magna cum laude = 48
Cum laude = 83
Honors program grads: 61
Total master’s candidates = 189
Honors = 5
Highest honors = 2
Countries = 39
Graduates from Florida = 498
Top 3 most popular undergraduate majors = Nursing, management and criminology
MBAs = 98