Published: December 08, 2020
Class of 2020 Encouraged to Take Small Actions to Leave Big Impacts
Up until about two decades ago, The University of Tampa used to hold its commencement ceremonies on the steps of Plant Hall. That changed on Saturday when, for its 151st commencement, the University hosted its virtual December graduation on those iconic steps.
Leslie Jones, assistant dean of the College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education and associate professor of mathematics at UT, was the speaker and challenged the 618 graduates to increase their positive impact on this world from wherever they are in their professional journey and life plan.
“I admit, it can be overwhelming once you recognize all of the things that need to be fixed,” Jones said. “But don’t be paralyzed by the perception that you are ineffective to create change.”
Jones is the recipient of the 2019-2020 Louise Loy Hunter Award, which is given annually to a UT faculty member for excellence in teaching and cumulative contributions in service and scholarship.
The ceremony included remarks by President Ronald Vaughn, James S. MacLeod, chair of UT’s Board of Trustees, and others.
“Small acts of kindness, good deeds that you do on a daily basis, create a domino effect that travels across space. The positive impacts of your actions also spread through time — setting into motion positive events that happen in the future,” Jones said. “If you care about your community…and you act — even in small ways — you will have a tremendous effect on society.”
Payton Cusimano ’20 introduced the speaker, and Debra Tuberion ’20 delivered the challenge to the graduating class.
Tuberion recognized the adaptation of her classmates in light of COVID-19. Regardless of what challenges they faced, she said they persevered and accomplished their goals.
“The class of 2020 is resilient and has used these challenging times to become even better versions of ourselves,” she said. “To my fellow graduates, I hope you continue to chase your dreams despite any challenges you may face.”
A downloadable version of the ceremony is available.
UT's December 2020 graduating class by the numbers:
Countries Represented: 34
% of graduates from Florida: 71
Total bachelor's degree candidates: 497
Summa cum laude (GPA 4.0): 4
Magna cum laude (GPA 3.75 or higher, but less than 4.0): 50
Cum laude (GPA 3.5 or higher, but less than 3.75): 68
Top three most popular undergraduate majors in this class: finance, marketing and psychology
Total master's degree candidates: 121
With honors (GPA 3.9 or higher, but less than 4.0): 13
With highest honors (GPA 4.0): 20
MBAs awarded: 39