Notable Alumni

Across the country and the world, our graduates are putting what they learned at UT to work, enjoying rewarding careers and purposeful lives. In a recent survey, 94 percent reported success in their postgraduate plans. Here are just a few of those success stories. For more information about these alumni, and others, visit the alumni magazine archive.

Arts

Brad Schiff ’93

Brad Schiff ’93 is animation supervisor at LAIKA, an animation studio specializing in feature films, commercials and shorts. Schiff worked on several TV series, receiving an Emmy Award for an episode of the stop motion television show Gary and Mike. He then helped bring Corpse Bride to life and has since worked on a string of Academy Award nominated films, including Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Paranorman.

Scott Leonard ’87

Scott Leonard ’87 found professional success in the early ’90s as a member of the a cappella group Rockappella, the house band on the popular PBS children’s show Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? Leonard also has produced four solo albums.

Connie May Fowler ’82

Connie May Fowler ’82 is a novelist, memoirist and screenwriter. She is the author of five critically acclaimed novels. Her 1996 semi-autobiographical novel, Before Women had Wings, was adapted into an Emmy-winning film of the same name starring Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Barkin.

Amy Hill Hearth ’82

Amy Hill Hearth ’82 is a bestselling author. Her first book, Having Our Say: The Delaney Sisters’ First 100 Years, sold more than 5 million copies, landing on the New York Times Bestseller List for two years, and was dramatized into both a Broadway play and an award-winning film. She co-authored a book with the first female speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, titled Know Your Power: A Message to America’s Daughters.

Erica Shames ’78

Erica Shames ’78 founded Susquehanna Life magazine in 1993. The regional lifestyle magazine based in Lewisburg, PA, has a readership of 45,000 between subscribers and newsstand sales. Shames has been recognized as one of Pennsylvania’s “Best 50 Women in Business” by the state’s economic development department, and Susquehanna Life was named the 2002 Small Business of the Year by the Greater Susquehanna Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Jack Jenkins ’61

Jack Jenkins ’61 and his late wife, Sally Jenkins ’61, formed a singing duo that appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show, did shows in Las Vegas and toured with Guy Lombardo.
 

Business

Christopher D. Willman MBA ’01

Christopher D. Willman MBA ’01 is president and chief executive officer of Bank of Florida—Tampa Bay. Prior to joining Bank of Florida, he has held positions as vice president of lending for Gold Bank, vice president of commercial real estate lending at Colonial Bank and lending officer in the commercial mortgage division at SunTrust.

William Carlson ’88

William Carlson ’88 is president of Tucker/Hall, a prominent Tampa public relations firm. He has consulted European and Latin American conglomerates, fast-growing technology companies and Fortune 500 corporations.

Ariel Acosta-Rubio ’84

Ariel Acosta-Rubio ’84 is the CEO of Churromania, a successful churro restaurant franchise with more than 140 locations in the U.S., Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Puerto Rico and Peru. Fifteen percent of those locations are inside Wal-Mart stores.

Thomas Graham ’82

Thomas Graham ’82 is vice president of people strategy and human resources at Pepco Holdings Inc., one of nine officers that oversee one of the largest energy delivery companies in the Mid-Atlantic region.

Craig Sturken ’66

Craig Sturken ’66 is CEO of Spartan Stores Inc., a Michigan-based chain of supermarkets and drugstores. A publicly traded company, Spartan Stores is the nation’s tenth largest grocery distributor.

Alfred Austin ’47

Alfred Austin ’47 is responsible for building the largest business district in the state of Florida, Westshore. As CEO of Austin Companies, Austin has been at the forefront of real estate development in the Tampa Bay area.
 

Civic Service

Art Linares ’11

Art Linares ’11 was elected in November 2012 to the Connecticut General Assembly to represent the 33rd District, becoming one of the youngest state senators in Connecticut history and also the first Republican to hold the seat since 1992. Linares is also co-founder and board member of a commercial solar energy company, Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC.

Virginia M. Hernandez Covington ’76, MBA ’77

Virginia M. Hernandez Covington ’76, MBA ’77 is a former Tampa federal prosecutor who was appointed to Florida’s 2nd District Court of Appeal in 2001 by Gov. Jeb Bush. She served on that court until receiving her commission as a United States District Judge on September 10, 2004.

Bismarck Myrick ’72

Bismarck Myrick ’72 earned the Silver Star, Purple Heart and four Bronze Stars for heroism in Vietnam. He was inducted to the U.S. Army Hall of Fame and has served as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Lesotho and South Africa.

Robert “Bob” Martinez ’57

Robert “Bob” Martinez ’57 was mayor of Tampa from 1979 to 1986, the first Hispanic governor of Florida (1987 to 1991) and President George H.W. Bush’s “Drug Czar” (director of the National Drug Control Policy), a cabinet-level position he held until 1993.

Dick Greco ’56

Dick Greco ’56 served as mayor of Tampa from 1967-1974 and again from 1995-2003.
 

Sciences

Maria Okuniewski ‘94

Maria Okuniewski ‘94 works at the Idaho National Laboratory - known as the lead national lab for nuclear energy - and does material research in nuclear reactor design.

Szabolcz de Gyurky '71

Szabolcz de Gyurky '71 worked in NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab at the California Institute of Technology for 25 years and is a recipient of the NASA Exceptional Achievement Medal. He has written millions of lines of computer code used to direct $200 million satellites, which helps scientists understand interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere.
 

Sports

Tino Martinez ’11

Tino Martinez ’11 played major league baseball for the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, and Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 1990-2005. He is a four-time World Series champion.

Greg Kraft ’86

Greg Kraft ’86 is a former professional golfer and ranked one of the top earners on the PGA Tour.

Freddie Solomon ’75

Freddie Solomon ’75 played football for the Dolphins and 49ers in the late 1970s. During his time with the 49ers, Solomon played in and helped win two Super Bowls with the team.

Lou Piniella ’69

Lou Piniella ’69 is a former major league baseball player for the Orioles, Indians, Royals, and Yankees and current manager of the Chicago Cubs. He is a three-time World Series champion.