A Message from President Genshaft on the Passing of Congressman Bill Young

Few individuals have had a greater influence on the development of the University of South Florida and our rapid upward trajectory as a great American public research university than Congressman Bill Young. He lived a remarkable life dedicated to our country and the people of the Tampa Bay region, and he will be remembered as an iconic figure throughout the USF System.

Bill Young’s name can be found on USF’s Joint Military Leadership Center and at the complex that houses USF’s College of Marine Science, but his impact on USF is also deeply rooted in some of our strongest research, health and academic programs. It is not an overstatement to say that without Congressman Young’s support, USF would not have the technological capabilities nor some of the programmatic strength needed to become a world-class research university. He was a visionary who believed in the power of science, knowledge and public engagement to make life better, and we were fortunate that he recognized the USF community as a partner in sharing that vision.

President Genshaft, Rep. Young and former Marine Science  Dean Peter Peter Betzer at the dedication of the Bill Young Marine Science Complex in St. Petersburg.

Congressman Young’s support for USF began in the earliest days of his tenure in Washington, and he remained a true supporter and advocate throughout his storied 43-year tenure.

His commitment to research at USF Health ranged from supporting veterans’ healthcare initiatives to malaria research to prosthetics and cancer clinical trials. In marine sciences, he was instrumental in providing funding to develop world-class capabilities in ocean technologies and environmental science that allowed our university to take a leading role in responding and researching the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Now our capabilities are allowing for science to take a leading role in Gulf restoration.

Congressman Young’s support for USF’s Center for Biological Defense provided our community with the technologies needed to   detect biological agents and identify potential threats quickly so we can help save lives in the event of an outbreak or a biological attack. And his unwavering belief in the next generation of military leaders is literally in the foundation of our unique ROTC programs, which he supported because it fosters cooperation between branches and across international borders - an approach he hoped would lead to a more peaceful and secure future for our country and the world.

After 22 terms in Congress, I don’t know how one could even calculate the ways in which Bill and Beverly Young have given back to this community. Their life’s work has provided our region with the potential of creating a healthier and more sustainable future. We will miss our good friend and tireless advocate, but know that our strong and vibrant university is part of Congressman Young’s living legacy.

Judy Genshaft

President, University of South Florida System