Skating Her Case

USF President Genshaft showcases the patented Skatecase during an innovation conference at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

USF President Judy Genshaft touted the skatecase, developed by a USF student, during a Washington, D.C. conference on innovation. Photo: Courtesy U.S. Department of Commerce.


By Vickie Chachere

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 3, 2012) – University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft wasn’t even on the plane to Washington, D.C. for a conference on university innovation and entrepreneurship when people were already buzzing about the invention she was toting with her.

Genshaft carried with her a Skatecase – the patented creation of USF graduate Alexei Novitzky and emblazoned with the university seal and the iconic Bulls “U” – to Washington as an example of the wide range of products USF students are creating through the university’s ambitious focus on invention and patenting. With camera phones snapping left and right, the Skatecase – already an up-and-coming product in the action sports market – took the next big leap onto the national stage.

On stage Monday at the U.S. Department of Commerce, there was no rival to the Skatecase – a simple, inspired design that allows the rider to store small electronics and personal items inside and turning the skateboard into a more useful mode of inexpensive, clean transportation. The one-of-a-kind USF Skatecase was presented to Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank.

It was just one of the student inventions President Genshaft touted at the event, “Innovative and Entrepreneurial: Higher Education, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Focus”. Others included KeriCure, a product developed by USF PhD graduate Keriann Greenhaigh which helps heal burns and chronic wounds better and with less scaring; and AbleNook, a prefabricated living structure created by USF alumni Sean Verdecia and Jason Ross, which has redesigned post-disaster housing, portable classrooms and flexible office space.

The inventions are just some of dozens created by USF students – from new medical devices, scientific instruments and even alternative energy technology – that have propelled USF into national and international recognition as one of the most inventive universities in the world. USF ranks 10th among universities worldwide in generating new U.S. Patents.

“There is an incredible spirit of invention at all levels of our university – from undergraduates up to many of our distinguished professors,” said Genshaft, joined on stage by David Kappos, undersecretary for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and the presidents of Albany State University and Texas A&M University.

“Some of our most exciting and engaging new inventions and companies come from our students – they’ve taken advantage of the engaged and hands-on learning experience with world-class faculty that a large public research university provides.”

“Creating a culture of entrepreneurship and translating USF inventions from the lab to the market has been a top priority at USF,” said Paul R. Sanberg, USF Vice President for Research & Innovation and who joined the President for the daylong event. “Our faculty, staff and students bring incredible creativity and innovation to the enterprise that has truly put USF on the national and international map.”

The Department of Commerce sought to highlight USF’s curriculum focus as one of the nation’s “best practices” in spurring innovation and Sanberg’s creation and launch of the National Academy of Inventors. In just a few years, the National Academy of Inventors has gone from an organization conceived to celebrate inventors here on campus to an international organization of more than 42 universities and research institutions with more than 2,000 individual inventor members and a growing relationship with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

When it comes to students, the Department of Commerce noted USF’s Masters in Entrepreneurship program, which provides courses in intellectual property and business development, and the Masters of Science in Entrepreneurship in Applied Technologies, which integrates the principles for successful opportunity recognition, technology and market assessment, product commercialization, new venture formation and financing into a single interdisciplinary curriculum.

Just last week the graduate entrepreneurship program at the University of South Florida has been named one of the top entrepreneurial programs in the nation by The Princeton Review and Entrepreneur magazine. Nearly100 businesses have been created by Center for Entrepreneurship graduates over the last decade.


Vickie Chachere can be reached at 813-974-6251.