John F. Germany Park Dedication
The legacy of John F. Germany is recognized at a scenic park on the USF Tampa campus.
The legacy of John F. Germany, known as one of the University of South Florida’s three “founding fathers,” will now be forever recognized on the university’s campus in Tampa. A scenic park located just south of the USF Library has been renamed “John F. Germany Legacy Park,” and dedicated in his honor. Germany died in 2015 at the age of 92.
An official ceremony held September 28, included remarks from USF System President Judy Genshaft, Board of Trustees member Harold “Hal” W. Mullis and John Germany Jr, all sharing fond memories of Germany.
"We are approaching the the 60th Anniversary since the foundation of USF was established by Germany," said President Judy Genshaft. "This is such a great time to dedicate this park, such a perfect reflection of John Germany."
A special bronze plaque dedicated to Germany was unveiled at the ceremony, along with new signs at the park’s east and west entrances. Germany is credited with providing leadership to ensure that then state Representative Sam Gibbons’ legislation to establish USF was successfully passed by then Governor Leroy Collins and funded in 1956. "This will forever be John's place: his footprint on USF, " Hal Mullis shared.
Three generations of Germany's family attended the ceremony and celebrated to dedication of the park, enjoying the special tribute to their father and grandfather. The park’s location selection is symbolic for several reasons, but mostly because it sits adjacent to the library, which was one of Germany’s strongest passions. President Genshaft shared a quote from an oral history that Germany recorded before his passing, "Libraries are not just places to hold books, they are places for people to discover themselves and their paths forward." 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.
By renaming the park, all three people credited with founding USF - Germany, Gibbons and Leroy Collins - now have areas named after them on 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," Genshaft said at the time of Germany’s death in 2015.
John F. Germany's grandchildren, George Robbins, John Germany Robbins and son-in-law, Jim Robbins.