Date ArticleType
3/4/2016 Member News
USF St. Petersburg to Unveil Debbie Nye Sembler Student Success Center

March 3, 2016
USF St. Petersburg to Unveil Debbie Nye Sembler Student Success Center
St. Petersburg, Fla. – USF St. Petersburg (USFSP) will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its newly-named Debbie Nye Sembler Student Success Center on Tuesday, March 8 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The naming of the center, announced last fall, is in recognition of the many accomplishments of USF Trustee and former USFSP Campus Board Chair Debbie Nye Sembler, and those who have supported her passion for student success. Open to the public, the ribbon-cutting will be held outside the Student Success Center, located in Davis Hall.
“I have never experienced a more beautiful surprise and meaningful gesture in my life,” said Sembler, who served as Campus Board Chair for a decade. “The Student Success Center helps so many students to realize their full potential.”
The goal of the center is to help students develop strong, lifelong learning strategies and skills in a safe, positive environment. In addition to the physical space, an endowment has been created to support the center and the COMPASS First-Year Experience program, which aims to increase first-time freshmen retention and shorten time to graduation through faculty-led learning journeys, peer mentoring, tutoring, and recreational and social activities.
“The level of excellence coming from this institution is significant to our students, but also to the USF System and this community,” said Stephanie Goforth, USF Trustee and USFSP’s new Campus Board Chair. “As a graduate of USF St. Petersburg, I am incredibly proud to have a role on this campus, to be able to pick up where my friend and colleague Debbie Sembler leaves off, and help facilitate its continued growth.”
When Sembler became a Trustee in 2003, USF St. Petersburg was just earning a reputation as a student-centric research institution. As Chair of the Campus Board, Trustee Sembler supported several new construction projects, including the Science and Technology Building, and the University Student Center, both LEED Certified, sustainable buildings. During her tenure, USF St. Petersburg acquired Harbor Hall, home to the Department of Verbal and Visual Arts. HarborWalk, the university’s interior green space, was completed, featuring what is now a beloved icon for the school: The Debbie and Brent Sembler Family Fountain.

“This campus will forever reflect Debbie’s time, dedication, and tireless commitment to higher education, our students and their success,” said USFSP Regional Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska. “We extend our sincerest thanks to her for supporting our development as one of Florida’s best educational institutions.”
About USF St. Petersburg
The University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP) is a separately accredited, research-active institution within the USF System. It currently is ranked by U.S. News & World Report at 23 among Southern Regional Public Universities. USFSP offers 24 undergraduate and 17 graduate programs in three colleges: Arts and Sciences, Business, and Education. USFSP is recognized for its significant commitment to community involvement and civic engagement by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The 2015-2016 academic year marks the 50th Anniversary for the university, which will host commemorative events throughout the year. For more information, please visit

Jessica Blais                                                   Casey Crane
Communications Director                               Communications Officer
USF St. Petersburg                                        USF St. Petersburg
727-873-4456                                                  727-873-4840
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