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UT Commencement to be Held Saturday

Published: May 05, 2015
At The University of Tampa’s commencement on Saturday, nearly 10 percent of the bachelor’s degree candidates possibly would not be walking across the stage if not for the help of a local foundation.

In June 2011, UT entered into a partnership with Helios Education Foundation to develop a program focused on improving the academic success and persistence of students considered to be at higher risk of attrition. The foundation provided UT with a four-year, $1.3 million grant to help get the program up and running.

This is the first four-year cohort of Helios Scholars to graduate, which number 115 out of the total 1,189 bachelor’s degree candidates.

Students are eligible for the program if they are Florida residents, members of minority groups and/or first-generation in college, and choose one of 65 different majors related to STEM (science, technology, education or mathematics).

In recognition of its support, Helios Education Foundation will be recognized at the ceremony with the 2015 Champion of Higher Independent Education in Florida (C.H.I.E.F.) Award.

Vince Roig, founding chairman of Helios Education Foundation, and Paul Luna, president and CEO of the foundation, will be present to accept the award. Roig stated that the Helios students’ lives, their families’ lives and their communities will all benefit from that completion of a postsecondary degree.

“We are proud to partner with The University of Tampa and particularly proud of the 115 Helios scholars who will celebrate this accomplishment,” Roig said.

Overall, the May commencement, which will be held at the Amalie Arena beginning at 9:30 a.m., will feature 1,435 degree candidates — 1,189 bachelor’s degree candidates and 245 master’s degree candidates.

Kay Isaacson-Leibowitz ’68, co-founder and co-chair of the World of Children Award and board member for GUESS? Inc., will give the address. Isaacson-Leibowitz enjoyed a 35-year career in the fashion retail industry, serving in senior executive positions at Accessory Lady, Banana Republic and Victoria’s Secret.

Kristin Anderson ’15, an advertising and public relations major from Brownsburg, IN, will introduce the speaker. Anderson was the 2014-2015 Student Government president and past president of Kappa Alpha Theta, Honor’s Council and Order of Omega. She was active as a Diplomat, a member of the crew team, Gateways mentor and student organizations coordinator.

Vincent Lanci ’09, MBA ’15, of East Northport, NY, will deliver the challenge to the graduating class. Lanci was hit by a drunk driver in 2013 and now volunteers at Tampa General Hospital speaking with brain injury patients as part of their recovery process. Lanci has worked full time for PricewaterhouseCoopers and currently works for a startup company as the marketing director.

Lisa Vodola ’05, M.Ed. ’10 will receive the 2015 Young Alumnus Award from the Alumni Association. Vodola is the founder and owner of Preschool Readers LLC, an accelerated reading program to help parents support their child’s early literacy development.

For more information on commencement, go to www.ut.edu/commencement . Tweet about commencement using #utampa.

UT Graduates by the Numbers 
Total graduates = 1,435
Countries represented = 66
% of graduates from Florida = 44%

Undergraduates:
Total bachelor’s degree candidates = 1,189
Summa cum laude (GPA 4.0) = 2
Magna cum laude (GPA 3.75 or higher, but less than 4.0) = 83
Cum laude (GPA 3.5 or higher, but less than 3.75) = 146
Top 3 most popular undergraduate majors in this class = Marketing, Finance and Management

Graduate students:
Total master’s candidates = 245
With honors (GPA 3.9 or higher, but less than 4.0) = 10
With highest honors (GPA 4.0) = 6
MBAs awarded = 93