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Gannon University to celebrate Ruskin campus 2024 Commencement

Published: 05/07/2024

Graduates walking in a line

One hundred and four graduates of the Class of 2024 at Gannon University’s Ruskin, Fla. Campus will be recognized during the 2024 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11 at the Tampa Convention Center at 3 p.m. Graduate Mass will be held at 9:30 a.m. in Prince of Peace Church. 

Gannon University President Walter Iwanenko, Ph.D., will award degrees to graduates in attendance. This year’s graduating class of 104 students will receive 45 master’s degrees and 59 doctoral degrees, including 26 Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees and 33 Occupational Therapy Doctorate degrees.  

This year’s keynote speaker is Anthony N. Ottaviani, D.O., M.P.H. Ottaviani will be awarded a Doctor of Humane letters degree, honoris causa, during the ceremony. 

For more information on Gannon University’s Ruskin Commencement ceremony visit  

Commencement Events: 
Graduate Mass 
9:30 a.m. | Prince of Peace Church 

Commencement Ceremony 
3 p.m. | Tampa Convention Center 

More about the speaker: 
Anthony N. Ottaviani, D.O., M.P.H, received his Bachelor of Arts from Gannon University in 1964 with a major in biology and minor in chemistry. While at Ƶ, he was active in student government, Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, and other organizations and activities. He served as president of his class, student council and president of Delta Sigma Phi. He fondly remembers ROTC, Annual 8-Ball Dance, Golden Knights basketball, the monthly guest lecture series, The Probe (a bi-monthly presentation on controversial political topics), and the student expression of spirituality and faith on campus. He joined Delta Sigma Phi fraternity which provided him the opportunity for service, leadership and strong bonds of friendship that continue to this day.  

On a personal note, the most memorable was the Rite of Betrothal that he and his then high school sweetheart, Catherine Dietl, now wife of 59 years, received in the chapel in Old Main. This historical Catholic Rite performed by a priest and witnessed by two nuns was very inspirational and a special event to them both.

Upon graduation he attended University of Health Sciences, Kansas City, Mo., College of Osteopathic Medicine, followed by a residency in anesthesiology and internal medicine at Detroit Hospital Corporation. He then entered a fellowship in pulmonary critical care medicine at Wayne County General Hospital/University of Michigan, completing his studies at the Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida. Upon completion of his subspecialty training, he entered private practice in Pulmonary, Critical Care Medicine with a large multi-specialty medicine group, Suncoast Internal Medicine Consultants, where he practiced for 45 years. A physician member of this group is also a graduate of Gannon University. Twenty years after entering the practice of medicine, he returned to Nova Southeastern University to obtain a Master of Public Health.

He is a clinical professor of medicine and served as regional dean for the K. C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University. He was appointed as DIO/chief academic officer for Largo Medical Center (Sun Coast Hospital), where, with dedicated program directors and GME staff, he oversaw the development of 13 residencies and fellowships with 136 residents, fellows and 160 faculty. 

Ottaviani was appointed as a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of South Florida, Morsani College of Medicine and served as the lecturer for St. Petersburg College Respiratory Therapy program in St. Petersburg, Fla. since 1990. He now serves as the medical director of the program.

He is a fellow in the American College of Chest Physicians and master fellow in the American College of Osteopathic Internists. He served as chairman of the Board of Trustees for Sun Coast Health Systems/Sun Coast Hospital, currently serves as vice-chair of the Heath Profession Division Board of Governors and is a member of the Board of Trustees of Nova Southeastern University.

He is past president of the American Osteopathic Foundation, American College Osteopathic Internists, Florida Osteopathic Medical Association, and has served in other positions of leadership professionally and in the community. 

He received distinguished service recognition from the American Osteopathic Association in 2014 – the highest award granted by the AOA – at the AOA National Convention in Las Vegas, Nev. He has been selected as physician of the year by the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association, the American College of Osteopathic Internist and the Pinellas County Osteopathic Medical Society. 

Still engaged professionally and in the community, he serves as executive director of the Pinellas County Osteopathic Medical Association. 

He and his wife, Cathy, have been and remain active in their parish, community and professional circles. They are the proud parents of four daughters and four grandchildren. Cathy was an educator and taught elementary school, CCD for over twenty years before starting her own business, Provence Art and Antiques, 30 years ago.