USF World News

Distinguished Global Leaders Honored at USF Commencement

TAMPA, Fla. (May 10, 2017) - The director of the National Science Foundation and the chairman/founder of a non-governmental organization that promotes the nexus between peace, democracy and development in West Africa – two distinct global education leaders are recipients of the Spring 2017 Commencement Presidential Global Leadership Award.

USF President Judy Genshaft created the Global Leadership Award to recognize individuals who have made high impact and enduring contributions to globalizing higher education. The award is the highest recognition the university bestows to individuals for their contributions and accomplishments in international affairs that align with President Genshaft's commitment to global citizenship, research, and learning.

Professor Ibrahim A. Gambari is the chairman and founder of the Savannah Centre for Diplomacy, Democracy and Development. From Nigeria, Gambari advocates for sustainable development. During his acceptance speech, he noted the development opportunities provided by women and the growing population of youth in Africa. According to the Global Youth Development Index, in less than three generations, 41 percent of the world's youth will be Africans.

"The energy, the resourcefulness and enthusiasm of the young people and African women have the real potential to life the continent toward increasing socio-economic development," said Gambari.

At the forefront of global research and leadership is also Dr. France Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation (NSF). Córdova leads the only government science agency charged with advancing all fields of scientific discovery, technological innovation, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. NSF's programs and initiatives keep the United States at the forefront of science and engineering, empower future generations of scientists and engineers, and foster U.S. prosperity and global leadership.

Prior to her appointment as the NSF director, Córdova served as the president of Purdue University from 2007 to 2012. Córdova's scientific contributions have been in the areas of observational and experimental astrophysics, multi-spectral research on x-ray and gamma ray sources and space-borne instrumentation. She has published more than 150 scientific papers.

She is a recipient of NASA's highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal, and was recognized as a Kilby Laureate in 2000. The Kilby International Awards recognize extraordinary individuals who have made "significant contributions to society through science, technology, innovation, invention and education."

Córdova was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a National Associate of the National Academies. She is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the Association for Women In Science (AWIS).

The USF System ranks 45th in the U.S. for total research expenditures, among all U.S. universities, public or private, by the National Science Foundation (2015). This places USF in the top 7% among the 640 universities ranked (FY2015, most recent available).