2018 USF Alumni Awards Honor 5 Outstanding Recipients

TAMPA, FL – June 4, 2018 – The University of South Florida Alumni Association has announced the 2018 recipients of the university’s highest alumni honors, the USF Alumni Awards, celebrating USF graduates for outstanding professional achievements and for service to USF and its students. One award also recognizes a non-USF graduate for dedicated service to USF and the Tampa Bay community.

This year’s honorees include

  • an engineer who is bringing water and low-cost health care to impoverished villages in India using an innovative social enterprise business model

  • the industry award-winning senior vice president of worldwide sales for the world’s third-largest airline

  • an acclaimed lawyer who has helped shaped the future of Florida and its residents through her leadership on local, state and national boards

  • a retired Air Force captain, FBI agent and businessman who has dedicated himself to supporting USF and helping fellow military veterans succeed at USF and in civilian life

  • “the father” of USF’s College of Public Health, a former legislator and lawyer with a long history of supporting USF, the Tampa Bay area and the state

The USF Alumni Awards will be celebrated Oct. 18 during the Alumni Awards Dinner in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom, USF Tampa.

The 2018 USF Alumni Award recipients are:

Bhagwati “B.P.” Agrawal, Engineering Science PhD, ’74 – Distinguished Alumni Award

Recognizing a USF alumnus who has reached the pinnacle of success in his career

After more than 30 years with Fortune 500 companies and as CEO of his own businesses, B.P. Agrawal took up an entirely new mission. He provides clean drinking water and low-cost health care in his native India through his nonprofit, Sustainable Innovations, Inc. Agrawal has received numerous honors for his work, including the Lemelson-Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sustainability Award.

Dave Hilfman, Finance ’82 – Distinguished Alumni Award

Recognizing a USF alumnus who has reached the pinnacle of success in her career

Dave Hilfman is senior vice president of worldwide sales for United Airlines, the world’s third largest air carrier in terms of revenue. Previously, he was senior vice president of worldwide sales for Continental Airlines, the position he held when Continental and United merged in 2010. He’s credited with helping unify the new airline’s two cultures and is one of only nine recipients in 49 years of the prestigious Global Business Travel Association’s ICON Award.

Rhea Law, Business Management, ’77 – Distinguished Alumni Award

Recognizing a USF alumna who has reached the pinnacle of success in her career

Rhea Law is chair of the Florida offices of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney P.A., one of the nation’s largest full-service law firms. While reaping accolades for work in government, higher education, environmental law and land use, she has helped shape the future of Florida, its economic development and its most prominent businesses and institutions, including USF. She has been named a Woman of the Year; Lawyer of the Year; CEO of the Year; Business Woman of the Year; and Volunteer of the Year.

Thomas G. Gates, Sociology and Psychology ’66 – Donald A. Gifford Service Award

Recognizing a USF graduate who has provided countless hours of service to USF

As a former U.S. Air Force fighter squadron flight commander and Vietnam veteran, Tom Gates has an intimate understanding of the challenges our military troops face in transitioning to civilian life. Since 2003, he has been turning that empathy into action at USF, now No. 1 in the nation for veterans, according to Military Times. The 20-year FBI special agent is owner and president of T.G. Gates & Associates, LLC, a security consulting company, and Gator Tours, LLC, an international golf travel company.

Samuel P. Bell III – Class of ’56 Award

Recognizing a non-USF graduate who has provided outstanding service to USF and the Tampa Bay community

Considered the father of USF’s College of Public Health (now ranked No. 1 in Florida and No. 16 in the nation by US News & World Report), Sam Bell was a staunch friend of the university long before he met and married former USF President Betty Castor. In 1984, then-state Rep. Bell used his considerable sway to deliver Florida’s first public health college to USF. He has been an ardent supporter ever since.

About the USF Alumni Association The USF Alumni Association is a nonprofit organization composed of former students and friends of the University of South Florida. Our mission is to provide meaningful ways for USF Bulls to support, protect and promote their university. There are more than 332,000 USF graduates worldwide. For more information, log on to www.usfalumni.org, like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/USFalumni or follow us on Twitter @USFAlumniAssn.

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