PALMETTO -- One just starting. One just finishing.
The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee honored two members of its family Sunday who are on different paths in their life journey.
Mariana Barboza, 22, a 2011 Palmetto High School graduate, received the Golden Bull Service and Outstanding Leadership Award at the fall commencement at the Bradenton Area Convention.
The Golden Bull Award, sponsored by the USF Sarasota-Manatee Student Government Association, is presented to a student who demonstrates ex
cellence in leadership.
Also, USF business professor Robert Anderson was honored for teaching 43 years in the USF system. Anderson, who lives in River Club with his wife, Donna Anderson, who also has her doctorate in counselor education, is planning to retire Dec. 31 as dean of the College of Business at USF Sarasota-Manatee.
"I plan to be 100 percent unemployed," said Anderson, who said he was talked out of retirement once and is looking forward to traveling to Norway with his wife, also retired from USF-Tampa.
Of the 200 USF Sarasota-Manatee seniors who applied to graduate in the commencement, 125 attended the ceremony, including 194 bachelor's degree candidates and six master's degree candidates.
A crowd estimated at more than 1,000 cheered them on and later took pictures under cloudless, cool skies.
Barboza, who earned her bachelor's degree in criminology from the College of Arts and Sciences, is already working at Kmart in Ellenton as a loss prevention officer. Her life goal is to work in child protection, she said.
"I feel like I didn't do anything that anyone else didn't do," Barboza said moments before she walked on stage. "I just like to get involved."
Barboza's parent's, Maricela and Eleazar Barboza, proudly took pictures with the graduate after the ceremony. Eleazar and Marcela Barboza harvested tomatoes for Pacific Tomato for 12 years, Mariana Barboza said.
Her father is now a tractor driver for Pacific Tomato and her mother works in a local nursery.
Barboza worked in the university's Admissions Office during the spring and summer terms and is an orientation leader. She also tutored a visually impaired student in Spanish, and teaches basic computer and beginner Spanish classes as a volunteer at Palmetto Branch Library.
Barboza was president of the Criminology Club, where she helped organize numerous activities and events, including the Criminal Justice Career Expo with representatives from social service and criminal justice agencies. Barboza said she plans to pursue a master's degree in criminal justice.
Fall 2014 Outstanding Graduate went to North Port's Stephanie Boynton, 42, who has an overall GPA of 3.69 and a major GPA of 3.92. Boynton, who didn't enroll in college until she was 38-years-old, turns 42 on Dec. 27. She said she was motivated by her three sons, Williams, 17; Kenny, 16; and Lex, 7, who told her she couldn't give them advice about being all they could be if she settled for less than being a school teacher, her lifelong dream.
Boynton has a job as a full time kindergarten substitute at Glen Allen Elementary in North Port.
The Outstanding Professor award went to Fawn T. Ngo, assistant professor of criminology. Ngo received her Ph.D. in criminology and criminal justice from the University of Maryland. Prior to her arrival at USFSM, Ngo was associate academic director for the Master Criminal Justice Distance Learning Program at the University of Cincinnati, and research associate at the Westminster Police Department in Orange County, Calif. Her areas of interest include criminological theory, interpersonal violence, actuarial risk assessment and evaluative research.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter@RichardDymond.