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Jimmy Patronis, Sue Semrau to Speak at FSU Graduation

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Four distinguished graduates of Florida State University and the former head coach of Florida State’s women’s basketball team will be the featured speakers during FSU’s spring commencement ceremonies on Friday, May 5, and Saturday, May 6, at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.

FSU President Richard McCullough will preside over five commencement ceremonies, in addition to a doctoral hooding ceremony for Ph.D. graduates from all disciplines. It is the first time the university will hold a separate ceremony for all doctoral graduates. About 6,600 students are expected to participate in the six events over the two-day celebration.

This spring, Florida State will award degrees to 8,071 graduates, including 5,930 bachelor’s degrees, 1,475 master’s degrees and 252 doctoral degrees. The College of Law will confer 290 degrees and the College of Medicine will confer 124.

Friday’s 2 p.m. ceremony will feature alumnus and FSU trustee Jim Henderson, chairman, CEO and founder of AssuredPartners, a national insurance brokerage firm. He will speak to the graduates of the College of Business. In addition to his executive duties, Henderson, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and economics at FSU, is vice chair of the board of trustees at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and serves on numerous boards, such as the Stetson University Business School Board and Ronald McDonald Homes of Central Florida Board.

Nan Hillis, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and finance from FSU, will address graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences during Friday’s 7 p.m. ceremony. Hillis enjoyed a successful career in banking and finance, most recently serving as executive vice president and chief strategy officer for Prime Meridian Bank until her retirement in 2020. Hillis and her husband, Mark, have created numerous endowed scholarships, a professorship in real estate in the College of Business and donated to university facilities such as the FSU Alumni Center and the upcoming Legacy Hall and Football Operations Center. She serves on multiple boards, including the FSU Real Estate Center Executive Board and FSU College of Entrepreneurship Deans Development Council.

Jimmy Patronis, who earned his bachelor’s degree in political science at FSU, will deliver the commencement address to the graduates of the colleges of Applied Studies, Medicine, Motion Picture Arts, Social Sciences and Public Policy, as well as the Dedman College of Hospitality and Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship during Saturday’s 9 a.m. ceremony. Patronis serves the citizens of the state of Florida as the state’s Chief Financial Officer, State Fire Marshal and member of the Florida Cabinet. Previously, he represented his hometown region in the Florida House of Representatives from 2006 to 2014.

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Dr. Joe Camps, a urologist at the Advanced Urology Institute, will deliver the commencement address to graduates of the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering and the colleges of Nursing, Health and Human Sciences, and Education during the Saturday’s 2 p.m. ceremony. Dr. Camps was the captain of the Florida State football team in 1976 and graduated with his bachelor’s degree in biology at FSU before earning his M.D. at the University of Florida. A current member of the Board of Directors of Premier Bank of Tallahassee, he previously served as the chief of staff and chairman of the Department of Surgery at Capital Regional Medical Center, chairman of the Seminole Boosters Executive Board and as a member of the FSU Board of Trustees.

Former FSU women’s basketball head coach Sue Semrau will speak to the graduates of the colleges of Fine Arts, Communication and Information, Criminology and Criminal Justice, Social Work and Music during Saturday’s 7 p.m. ceremony. During her 24 seasons as the head coach of the Florida State women’s basketball program, Semrau became the all-time winningest coach in FSU history, won the Associated Press, WBCA and ESPNW 2015 National Coach of the Year awards and led the Seminoles to 16 NCAA tournament appearances. She retired in 2022 as the longest-tenured head coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

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    Florida Daily offers news, insights and analysis as we cover the most important issues in the state, from education, to business and politics.

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