About the Center

Advisory Council

Honorable Raymond O. Gross

The Honorable Raymond O. Gross, circuit judge in the Sixth Judicial Circuit of Florida since 1995, is the Chair of the CSDS Advisory Board. He has been presented with the 2006 Donald A. Gifford Alumni Service Award, presented annually to an alumnus who has "rendered distinguished service" to the University of South Florida (USF); the USF President's Distinguished Citizen Award (2002) and the USF Distinguished Alumnus Award (2002).

Judge Gross was graduated from USF in 1969, with a bachelor's degree in political science, and earned his juris doctorate in 1972 from Florida State University, where he served as student body president. He has been an active supporter and alumni affairs participant at both universities, has served on the Foundation boards at both, and was elected in 2010 to emeritus status on the USF Foundation Board of Directors. He is a frequent guest lecturer and adjunct faculty member at USF and Stetson College of Law.

A member of the Florida Bar for the past 41 years, Judge Gross was appointed to a vacant judgeship by then Gov. Lawton Chiles, and in 1998, he was a finalist for a vacancy on the Florida Supreme Court. His time on the bench in the Sixth Circuit has included assignments in three of the five court divisions: Criminal, Family and Unified Family Court, where he was administrative judge from 2010 through 2012. Unified Family Court involves delinquency, dependency and all family-related issues, including domestic violence, adoption, temporary guardianship, dissolution of marriage and paternity.

Prior to taking the bench, Judge Gross was a private attorney for more than 20 years, the last 12 of which were with Gross and Kwall, P.A., a Clearwater firm that represented defendants at all stages of the criminal process in state and federal courts and professionals in administrative proceedings before regulatory boards and the courts. During that time, he maintained an "AV" rating, the top evaluation by the prestigious Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. The native Floridian also worked for two years in the office of the Sixth Judicial Circuit Public Defender.

As a member of the Florida Bar, he served at various times on Rules of Criminal Procedure Committee, Rules of Judicial Administration Committee (vice chair in 1995), Juvenile Rules Committee (vice chair in 2002), Grievance Committee, Drug Abuse Committee, Criminal Law Committee, Trial Lawyers Section, Ethics Committee, and Criminal Law Section. He chaired the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers' Criminal Law Section in 1980-81 and on the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers Board of Directors from 1988 until his judicial appointment in 1995. He was a member of the Sixth Judicial Nominating Committee from 1982 until 1986, chairman for the last two of those years.


Karen Holbrook

Karen A. Holbrook, PhD, is currently serving as the Sr. Advisor to the President at the University of South Florida. Prior to this position, she served as the Senior Vice President for Global Affairs and International Research. Before coming to USF, Dr. Holbrook served as president of The Ohio State University from 2002-2007. She was also the senior vice president for academic affairs and provost and professor of cell biology at the University of Georgia, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School at the University of Florida, and associate dean for research and professor of biological structure and medicine at the University of Washington, School of Medicine.

Dr. Holbrook has served on the boards of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the American Council of Education (ACE), the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (now APLU), the Association of American Universities (AAU), The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), among others. She has participated on numerous advisory panels and councils for the National Institutes of Health, including the NIH Blue Ribbon Panel for the National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratory, Boston, and was a member of the Advisory Committee to the immediate past Director of the NIH. She is currently on several boards, including the boards of the Institute of International Education (IIE), ACT, Inc.,Techne, Inc., and is chair of the board for Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU).

She has been a member of the International Advisory Councils and numerous committees of KAUST (King Abdullah University of Science and Technology) since the early years of its founding in 2006, and will now serve as a Trustee on their Board, she is also Trustee for Embry Riddle Aeronautical University. Dr. Holbrook has had a productive research career in the biomedical sciences and was a MERIT Award recipient from the NIH and served on several editorial boards of professional journals. She has been awarded with numerous awards and prizes nationally and internationally. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in zoology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, a doctorate in biological structure at the University of Washington, School of Medicine where she also served as a postdoctoral fellow in dermatology and a faculty member.


S. David Stamps, PhD

S. David Stamps, PhD, retired from the University of South Florida in 2010 as Professor Emeritus of Sociology. In addition to his teaching and research responsibilities, Dr. Stamps also served in numerous administrative positions, including: Special Assistant to the President, Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences, Dean of Arts and Sciences, and Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. During his tenure as Dean of Arts and Sciences, he was instrumental in establishing the Center for Globalization Research, a joint venture with UCLA, University of Hawaii, and George Washington University. The Center was funded by a six year grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education.

Prior to coming to USF, Dr. Stamps served as chair of Afro-American Studies and Professor of Sociology at Syracuse University. At Syracuse, Dr. Stamps was associated with the Policy Studies Program, Social Sciences PhD program, and All-University Gerontology Center. At the All-University Gerontology Center, he trained minority graduate students in gerontological research. Prior to Syracuse University, Dr. Stamps served as Director of the Kellogg Social Science Research Laboratory at Norfolk State University. He also co-directed the joint Graduate Program in Urban Affairs-Urban Studies between Norfolk State University and Old Dominion University.

Dr. Stamps has received over 10 grants totally $1.8 million and has numerous publications. He has served on numerous boards including the Southern Association of Colleges and schools Accreditation Review Committee. He has also served on the Board of Directors of University Press of Florida (Chair), St. Joseph Hospital, Moffitt Cancer Center, Florida Aquarium, United way of Tampa, Florida Education Fund and Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies.
Dr. Stamps interests in globalization issues stems from his long tenure teaching courses on the impact of globalization on cities. It has been furthered by extensive travel and research in Europe, South America and Asia.


Robert T. Wilhite

 Robert T. Wilhite, is a retired senior banking executive who has served as CEO of financial institutions and technology companies in Florida and Texas and is now a licensed real estate executive in Tampa. Educated at Clemson College, Mercer College and a study of national security at the Air War College, he served for 12 years as a Trustee of Bethune-Cookman College in Florida and as a member of the Executive committee and chair of the Finance committee. A 32-year volunteer with the Red Cross, he chaired the board in Ft. Lauderdale and served on the board in Tampa. In the local area he has received recognition as the founding chair of the Hillsborough County Affordable Housing Counsel, the Chamber of Commerce Housing Committee, served on the Tampa Centennial Committee, and was Co-Founder of the Mayor's Challenge Fund.

Mr. Wilhite was a Consultant to Governor Lawton Chiles on Welfare to Work in creating jobs from employers state-wide. He now serves on both the Endowment and Audit Committees of the Gulf-Ridge Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Wilhite was appointed by the Secretary of Defense to be the State Chair for the "Florida Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve" (a two star protocol position) and is now Chair Emeritus. He has received The Secretary of the Army Commendation for public service as well as the Secretary of Defense commendation and the State of Florida 'Distinguished Service Medal'.

He is the author of two books on business, a national speaker on real estate, business creation and military affairs as well as a former radio and T.V. commentator. Mr. Wilhite lived in Morocco for several years and on Okinawa. He has traveled widely around the world to develop a global awareness and understanding of the peoples who represent the glory and diversity of our world.


Sam Bell

Samuel P. Bell III is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Duke University law school. He received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Flagler College and an honorary doctor of public health degree from the University of South Florida. He was admitted to the Florida bar in 1964 and has practice law in Daytona Beach and Tallahassee. He is now with the law firm of Buchanan, Ingersoll and Rooney.

In 1974 Sam was elected to the Florida legislature where he served for fourteen years. During that time he was the majority leader, and chair of the rules committee, the commerce committee and for four years as chair of the powerful appropriations committee.

While in the legislature he created the college of public health at the University of South Florida and has served as the chair of the advisory committee for the past 35 years. He is also a senior fellow at the college where he teaches, mentors and works to generate support for the college.

Currently Sam serves on the board of Brown and Brown Insurance, Pioneer Technology Group, WUSF, the state board of the children's home society, and the Florida institute for health innovation.

Mr. Bell with his wife, Betty castor, the former president of the University of South Florida, has traveled widely and has a keen interest in global issues and international affairs. The couple have a particular interest in east Africa where Betty taught school in the early nineteen sixties and they maintain a scholarship fund for college of public health students wishing to complete their master's level studies in Uganda.




Stephen J. Mitchell centers his practice on commercial real estate, banking and finance, the hospitality industry, international law, and administrative and regulatory law. He has extensive experience in real estate development on a national and international basis and in business restructurings.

Stephen is listed in The Legal 500 US and Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business, and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America since 1987. He was named by the Best Lawyers in America as the 2009 Tampa Real Estate Lawyer of the Year, was named by Florida Trend magazine among the Florida Legal Elite in the area of real estate transactions and was selected by Thomson Reuters for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers– a distinction recognizing the top 5 percent of lawyers in the state.

In 2001 Florida Governor Jeb Bush appointed him to the board of directors of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority (Tampa International Airport) where he served for eight years, the last four years as chair of the Aviation Authority. He also served as a member of the board of directors of the Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) and chair of the Commissioners Committee of ACI-NA focusing on training for new and returning commissioners introducing them to new policies, procedures and programs within the aviation industry.

His experience as chair of the board of the Central Florida Technology Transit Corridor (High Speed Rail) Consortium provided him with the insight to be a member of the steering committee selected by the mayor of Tampa for the future development of a light rail system. In addition, he was involved with various groups pertaining to the Florida high speed rail initiative to be developed in the Tampa Bay area which was recently terminated when the funds for such project provided by the Transportation Initiative put forth by President Obama's administration were returned by the state of Florida to the federal government.

In 2001 he was appointed by Governor Jeb Bush to the Florida 2020 Energy Study Commission, which established, after receiving two years of testimony from energy experts, a blueprint for future energy needs and requirements for the state of Florida. In 2006 he also was appointed by Florida Governor Jeb Bush to the board of directors of the Florida Gubernatorial Fellows Program, where he presently serves the state's prestigious program of leadership training for outstanding Florida students interested in public service.

His commitment to local educational programs is highlighted by his appointment in 2011 by Governor Rick Scott to the Board of Trustees of the University of South Florida, his appointment in 2009 by Dr. Donald Eastman of Eckerd College to the National Advisory Council of Eckerd College, his appointment in 2007 to the Advisory Board to the University of South Florida School of Architecture, his appointment in 1999 as a Trustee of the University of Tampa and his appointment in 1994 as a Trustee of Tampa Preparatory School. 


charlie Stryker

Charlie Stryker spent 30 years in Sales and Marketing with major corporations including Xerox and Apple Computer. Following his corporate career, he completed a Masters in History at USF and spent the next 15 years teaching U.S. history at Hillsborough Community College and USF Sarasota Manatee. After four years in the U.S. Air Force stationed in the UK, he completed his B.A. at FSU in international studies.

Charlie grew up in Princeton, New Jersey and is married to Laurey Stryker, former USF SM President. They have 2 daughters Nicole and Erin and three grandchildren.