TAMPA, Fla. - The University of South Florida's spring graduating class will not have a traditional commencement ceremony because of the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, landmarks, like the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, across the Tampa Bay area will light up in green and gold to honor those graduates.
Nearly 7,500 students will be graduating from USF this spring semester, but because of the challenges presented by COVID-19, the school tried to find a creative way to honor them. It was an idea pitched by the Jadzia Duarte, the student governnment president at the St. Petersburg campus.
Between May 9 and 10, the Skyway bridge will glow in green and gold. Other areas that will light up include:
- SunTrust Financial Centre in downtown Tampa
- Old City Hall in Tampa
- Trees at Curtis Hixon Park
- Riverwalk bridges
- USF Health's Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation
- Tropicana Field
- USF Water Tower at the Tampa campus
In addition, the city of St. Petesrburg donated six digital billboards on Interstate 275 from Gandy Boulevard to 54th Avenue South. All will carry the message, “We’re with you in spirit! Congratulations to the Class of 2020,” until May 10.
The supportive displays coincide with USF's first virtual commencement. The ceremonies for all campuses will be available for viewing starting at 10 a.m. on May 9 on the school's website.