A leading international expert in weather and climate, one of the nation’s top cabernet producers and a prominent investor in the health care sector will address the graduates at Florida State University’s three spring commencement ceremonies.
The graduates will hear from Marshall Shepherd, director of the Program in Atmospheric Sciences and the Georgia Athletic Association Professor at the University of Georgia; Jeff Gargiulo, vintner/owner of Gargiulo Vineyards; and Miguel “Mike” Fernandez, chairman of MBF Healthcare Partners.
FSU President John Thrasher will preside over each ceremony at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center, 505 W. Pensacola St. More than 6,190 students will graduate this spring, and more than 4,730 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral candidates will participate in the ceremonies. The university will give special recognition to veterans and students who have received academic honors, including induction into the Garnet and Gold Scholar Society.
• Shepherd will speak during the 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 29, ceremony to graduates of the colleges of Arts and Sciences; Human Sciences; Medicine (doctoral degrees only) and Motion Picture Arts.
Shepherd earned a bachelor’s and master’s in meteorology from Florida State in 1991 and 1993 and, in 1999, became the first African-American to earn a doctorate in meteorology from the institution. He now leads the University of Georgia’s Program in Atmospheric Sciences and hosts The Weather Channel’s award-winning Sunday talk show “Weather Geeks.” He served as the 2013 president of the American Meteorological Society. In 2015, he received the Association of American Geographers Media Achievement Award. In addition, he received a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 2004 for his work with NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement mission, for which he served as deputy project scientist.
• Gargiulo will speak at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 30, to graduates of the colleges of Applied Studies; Communication and Information; Criminology and Criminal Justice; Engineering; Fine Arts; The Graduate School (materials science graduates only); and Social Sciences and Public Policy.
Gargiulo, who earned a Bachelor of Science in business/marketing from Florida State in 1974, is the vintner and owner of Gargiulo Vineyards in California’s Napa Valley. He is one of the nation’s most sought-after cabernet producers. Gargiulo’s organization is comprised of two vineyards — Money Road Ranch and 575 OVX — located in the Oakville Appellation, a part of Napa Valley known for the finest winemaking in the world. He is the former owner of Gargiulo Inc., a produce company that specialized in tomatoes, and the former CEO and president of citrus giant Sunkist. Known as a philanthropist, he and his wife, Valerie Gargiulo, co-founded the Naples Winter Wine Festival in Naples, Fla., an event that raises money for the Naples Children & Education Foundation, where he is chairman emeritus.
• Fernandez will speak at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30, to graduates of the colleges of Business, Education, Music, Nursing and Social Work.
Fernandez is chairman of MBF Healthcare Partners of Coral Gables, Fla., a private equity firm that invests in health care service companies nationwide. The firm has more than $500 million in committed capital. Over his career, Fernandez has been the founder and/or majority shareholder in 25 health care-related companies. Fernandez, who has contributed more than $100 million to charitable causes, wrote a book, “Humbled by the Journey: Life Lessons for My Family … And Yours,” which describes how he came to the United States as a penniless 12-year-old immigrant and went on to build dozens of successful companies while creating tens of thousands of jobs.
Other Florida State University commencement ceremonies:
• An honor cord presentation ceremony will take place at the President’s House from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 28. President John Thrasher will preside over the invitation-only ceremony where graduating student-veterans and ROTC cadets receive their red, white and blue honor cords to be worn during spring commencement ceremonies. In addition, the graduates will receive special commemorative coins with the FSU Veterans Alliance arrowhead on one side and the Seminole logo on the reverse.
• The College of Social Work will hold its spring convocation ceremony from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 29, in the Oglesby Union Ballrooms. In addition to recognizing the 73 bachelor’s, 92 master’s and three doctoral graduates, the college also will honor students and educators with achievement awards. FSU alumnus Kathleen Figley, a master traumatologist and compassion fatigue educator, will deliver the keynote address. Figley specializes in trauma affecting the general public, first responders and the military and is a recognized expert in compassion stress management and crisis intervention. She has deployed to more than 30 catastrophic disasters and received multiple awards for her work in this area. To close the ceremony, Master of Social Work graduate Jasmine Haynes will address her fellow graduates.
• The College of Nursing will hold a pinning ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday, April 29, at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall, Westcott Building. Mykal O’Shea, a nurse practitioner for Legacy Community Health Services Inc., will be the guest speaker. This semester, the college will graduate 85 candidates for bachelor’s degrees, three candidates for master’s degrees and 20 for Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees.
• Army ROTC will commission 24 cadets — 14 for active duty and 10 for the Army National Guard — during a ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30, in the Oglesby Union. The guest speaker will be Army Brig. Gen. James Blackburn.
• Air Force ROTC will commission 10 cadets during a ceremony at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 30, in Opperman Music Hall, Kuersteiner Music Building. The guest speaker will be Air Force Col. Terrance McCaffrey.
• The College of Law will hold its spring commencement at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 1, at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center at Florida State University. Judge Mark Walker of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida will be the featured commencement speaker. The ceremony will be followed by a reception on the law school green.
• The Panama City campus will hold its commencement ceremony at 1:30 p.m. CDT on Sunday, May 1, at the Panama City Marina Civic Center. FSU Provost Sally McRorie and FSU Panama City Dean Carol Edwards will preside. Edoardo Naggiar, a former Navy SEAL and founder of Human Performance Consulting, will deliver the commencement address to the graduates. Of the 329 graduates for the 2015-2016 academic year, 150 will participate in Sunday’s ceremony, including seven students from the campus’s 2013 inaugural freshman class and 26 military veterans who will be wearing the official FSU Student Veteran Honor Cords in recognition of their service and sacrifice.
• The College of Medicine will hold its commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 21, at Ruby Diamond Concert Hall for students receiving the Doctor of Medicine and the Master of Science Bridge to Clinical Medicine degrees. Ricardo Gonzalez-Rothi, M.D., chair of the Department of Clinical Sciences, will deliver a commencement address to the graduates.