About the Magazine

From the President

President Currall wearing a green USF mask

Dear alumni, friends and supporters of USF:

I HOPE YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES are staying safe.

With the Florida Legislature in the midst of its annual 60-day session, this is an opportune time to share our appreciation for our Bulls in the legislature and the entire Tampa Bay region’s delegation.

Speaker of the House Chris Sprowls, who earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from USF in 2006, continues to be a strong supporter of our university and our students. He proposed consolidating our three separately accredited campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee in 2018, and guided the measure through the legislative process. We began operating under a single accreditation, as One USF, on July 1, 2020. Among other initiatives, Speaker Sprowls was an important advocate for state funding for the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute building in downtown Tampa.

We’re also proud of five additional Bulls serving in the legislature — Sen. Daniel Wright Burgess Jr., Sen. Joe Gruters, Rep. James Buchanan, Rep. Linda Chaney and Rep. Jackie Toledo — and appreciate the efforts of all the legislators representing the Tampa Bay region. These individuals are dedicated public servants and they play a critical role in the success of our university and our region.

Also in this issue are articles that highlight two of the many initiatives we continue to implement as part of our ongoing commitment to dismantling racism in society and to actively promoting racial equity across our campuses and in our communities. In her column on the facing page, now a standing feature in USF magazine, Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, senior advisor to the president and provost on diversity and inclusion, discusses the Diversity, Anti-Racism and Equity (DARE) Dashboard that she created in collaboration with the Office of Decision Support. This is an important resource designed to track the success of our efforts to support equity for faculty, students, staff and institutional support units at USF. As Elizabeth says, this is a bold effort at institutional self-assessment.

The article that begins on page 10 will introduce you to Dismantling Racism Team Study Circles. Presented by USF’s Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Equal Opportunity, this wonderful program brings a diverse group of faculty and staff members together for guided, candid discussions designed to enhance understanding. The conversations don’t end at the conclusion of the six-week program. Participants develop an action plan to help them facilitate similar discussions with their colleagues. The DIEO team’s goal is to involve as many members of our faculty and staff as possible in the ongoing study circles, which one participant describes as “an opportunity to learn how to be an anti-racist.”

In recent weeks, we have marked two very somber milestones: One year since COVID-19 began to sweep across the United States (and the world), and surpassing the devastating loss of more than 500,000 people due to the virus. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of the victims. Far too many in our communities, as in communities throughout the nation, continue to face ongoing health and financial challenges. Like so many of you, I am hopeful that we are turning the corner thanks to adherence to risk mitigation measures, such as wearing a face covering, and the distribution of vaccines. In the story that begins on page 18, USF Health virologist Michael Teng, one of the many scientists and researchers within the university who continue to make such a positive difference, discusses the remarkable science behind the vaccines and their safety.

You also will find multiple stories in this issue that highlight the selflessness of our USF community. Students pursuing any major on any of USF’s campuses will benefit from BOLD (Bulls of the Last Decade) donors who started an endowed scholarship, the Future Entrepreneur Endowed Scholarship. In the story that begins on page 24, you will learn about what motivated these alumni to generously support our students.

I also am inspired by the six recipients of the 2020 Outstanding Young Alumni award, presented by the USF Alumni Association. As you’ll read in their profiles, which begin on page 48, they are richly deserving of this recognition of their outstanding professional success and their civic contributions. Congratulations to Dr. Marlene “Joannie” Bewa, John Brennan, Dr. Nicholas DeVito, Rogan Donelly, Dakeyan C. Graham and Dr. Chinyere “ChiChi” Okpaleke.

Whether it’s on our campuses, in our communities, or in Tallahassee, we appreciate the ongoing support of USF and our students from our alumni and friends. I wish you and your families continued good health.

Steven C. Currall
USF President and Professor