USF Renames Park to Honor “Founding Father” John F. Germany
Campus will now feature areas named for all three people credited with founding USF.
TAMPA, Fla. (Aug. 28, 2015) – Known as one of three “founding fathers” of the University of South Florida, John F. Germany’s name will be permanently displayed on the Tampa campus.
A park located just south of the USF Library, formerly known as the “Park on Collins,” has been renamed the “John F. Germany Legacy Park.” Germany died Wednesday at the age of 92.
Germany is credited with providing leadership to ensure that then Representative Sam Gibbons’ legislation to establish USF was passed and funded in 1956.
The park’s selection is symbolic for several reasons. It sits adjacent to a library, which was one of Germany’s strongest passions. The park was also built in a space Germany and Gibbons toured prior to the university’s founding, as the two dreamed of providing higher education opportunities for students who couldn’t afford to go away to school in Gainesville or Tallahassee.
“Our family is deeply touched and grateful to have this park dedicated to our father. He spoke often about the importance of leaving a legacy, which makes the name and location of this park so appropriate. We all have memories as children of walking the grounds, when the land consisted of mostly dirt, scrub trees and sandspurs, and it’s amazing to see how it’s become such a beautiful university,” stated Germany’s four children.
The renaming was made official Thursday afternoon with a vote by the USF Board of Trustees. Board Chair Harold “Hal” W. Mullis visited Germany last week and the two reflected on the university’s successes.
“He expressed his pride and pleasure in the growth and development of USF,” Mullis said during Thursday’s board meeting. “He was a man of heroic stature and many accomplishments. Founding the University of South Florida was among his finest accomplishments.”
By renaming the park, all three people credited with founding USF- Germany, Gibbons and Leroy Collins- now have areas named after them on the Tampa campus. The primary entrance off Fowler Avenue is named Leroy Collins Boulevard and USF’s Alumni Center is named after Sam & Martha Gibbons.
“USF’s three ‘Founding Fathers’ mission was to create a great urban university that would educate hard-working students with ambitions for a better life, and we are very proud that in many visits to campus over the years Mr. Germany could see that goal realized. Mr. Germany’s dedication to learning; his devotion to community and family; and his guiding values of equality and justice are a legacy that will live on in this great institution. We are forever grateful," said USF System President Judy Genshaft.
A formal renaming ceremony with Germany’s family is planned for this fall.