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Perseverance fulfills graduation dream

“I have so much more on my mind now. It felt like I had to learn how to study again.” But he persevered. One thing that didn’t need adjustment was how he related to his much younger fellow students, who welcomed him despite the age gap. “I’m the older, slower one,” he would say, cracking a smile. In December, 2015, at 55, Mariotti earned a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in management and marketing. The Alumni Association Life Member finished what began more than 30 years ago. He remembers a flood of emotions at graduation. His mother and father had long since passed away, but many friends cheered him on. “I was happy and sad,” he says. “Happy at the accomplishment, but sad it’s over.” – RICH SHOPES | USFSM

USFSM ESTABLISHES COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS In an effort to meet the changing workforce needs of its community, USF Sarasota-Manatee this fall is establishing a College of Science & Mathematics as part of a realignment of its four colleges. “By aligning our programs in this new college structure, USF SarasotaManatee is in a better position to


serve our growing student population while also positioning the campus to obtain new resources in the future,” Regional Chancellor Sandra Stone says. In addition, the current College of Arts & Sciences and College of Education will merge to create a College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences (CLASS). – RICH SHOPES | USFSM



BILL MARIOTTI WAS FIVE CLASSES SHY of graduating when his father plunged through a skylight at a demolition project in Sarasota. He survived, but broke both ankles, requiring months of recuperation – time spent away from work. In an instant, the trajectory of Mariotti’s life changed. The 22-year-old stopped taking classes at USF in Tampa to focus on his father’s business, a site-development company. But as time passed and his involvement in the company deepened, Mariotti’s motivation to hit the books waned. Months stretched into years and then decades. By the time he reached his 40s, Mariotti was running the company as president and CEO. Years later, at 53, he decided it was now or never. Friends – in particular USF Alumni Association Life Member Ted Bogusz, ’79 – urged him to “go for it” and get his degree. Heeding their advice, Mariotti enrolled at USF Sarasota-Manatee in 2014. He planned to take one class per semester at night – five all together – to avoid interfering with business. He remembers feeling anxious that first day back – “it was like going to the doctor’s office” – and recalls how classes had changed. One assignment required he create a Power Point presentation, which left him turning to a friend for advice. “It seemed like everything you needed to learn was on a computer,” he says. He found the routine outside of class equally daunting:


Profile for USF magazine

USF magazine spring 2016  

The official magazine of the University of South Florida Alumni Association.

USF magazine spring 2016  

The official magazine of the University of South Florida Alumni Association.

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