Dr. Arthur Guilford: USF Sarasota-Manatee freshman class makes history

CommentaryAugust 15, 2013 

Dr. Arthur Guilford

Sarah Smith has used the flexibility that home schooling offers to move at warp speed through 26 college credits while still in high school. In her spare time, she plays the piano at concert level and is an award-winning Irish dancer. Sarah plans to get her master's degree in marketing.

At only 16, Veronica Sampalik is already a tournament-winning tennis player, a children's book author and a savvy stock investor who will study for a career in business.

Jason Ferguson was varsity captain of his high school soccer team, an MVP in both soccer and track and a leader in his church. He's also the fourth member of his family to attend the University of South Florida.

These outstanding young people are all members of the first-ever freshman class at the USF Sarasota-Manatee.

Since 1974, our university has been an upper-division, transfer institution offering undergraduate and graduate course work leading to baccalaureate and master's degrees. In 2012, we began accepting sophomores, and now, 78 freshmen join our ranks as we become Sarasota-Manatee's comprehensive four-year public university.

This represents a sea change for USFSM and our community, as along with underclassmen comes the imperative for a robust general education curriculum, expanded degree offerings, and the authentic student life that will entice and retain high-achieving, ambitious and engaged students like Sarah, Veronica and Jason.

Our goal is to keep these best and brightest community assets right here in Sarasota-Manatee. We are pursuing exciting public-private community partnerships that have already resulted in new state-of-the-art science labs at Mote Marine Laboratory, integration of the arts in all teaching programs and will expand facilities and opportunities for our hospitality and technology students.

The class of 2017 will join the new generation of entrepreneurs, scientists, executives, educators, doctors, lawyers, social service professionals and good citizens that will fuel our local and regional economy of the future for generations to come.

Dr. Arthur Guilford, is the regional chancellor of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.

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