Top Stories of 2018
The University of South Florida had a great year full of significant accomplishments in every area of the university system. USF is at the top thanks to much dedicated work done by our faculty, researchers, students and supporters. Here are some highlights from 2018.
USF System President Judy Genshaft Announces Plan to Retire
University of South Florida System President Judy Genshaft announced her decision to retire, effective July 1, 2019. Since joining USF in 2000, Genshaft catapulted the USF System to national and international prominence in every key institutional area, including student success, research and innovation, fundraising and economic development. Efforts are underway to name her replacement.
Preeminence has Arrived
The Florida Board of Governors officially designates USF as a “Preeminent State Research University.” The Florida Preeminence program was written into state law in 2013 and rewards high-achieving universities based on 12 metrics, including graduation rates, student retention rates, research expenditures and the number of patents awarded. The only other institutions to receive this prestigious designation are the University of Florida and Florida State University.
USF’S Three Campuses to Consolidate by 2020
Florida Governor Rick Scott approved legislation proposed by state representatives to consolidate the USF System. This new law requires the campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee to operate under a single, unified accreditation by June 2020. A 13-member task force led by USF Board Trustees Chairman Brian Lamb is in the process of developing a plan to make for a smooth transition.
Rankings on the Rise
USF jumped ten spots in the U.S. News and World Report Best College Rankings, coming in at No. 58 among public universities, and rose 16 spots to No. 124 among all public and private universities The National Science Foundation (NSF) ranked USF 25th among all U.S. public universities for research spending, which topped out at $558 million. The new ranking is based on data from the 2016-2017 academic year. Military Times magazine named USF No. 2 for best colleges in the country for student veterans. This is the 2nd consecutive year to receive that ranking.
USF Awarded a Chapter of Prestigious Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society
USF was awarded a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society (PBK), the nation’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. Founded in 1776, PBK only awards a limited number of new chapters every three years and only 36 percent of its member institutions are public. The average founding date of PBK institutions is 1860, nearly a century before USF’s formation in 1956. The induction further positions USF’s prospects for membership in the Association of American Universities (AAU).
Record-Breaking Number of Students Now Live on USF’s Main Campus
With the completion of The Village, more students than ever are living on the University of South Florida campus in Tampa, bringing the total number of residents to 6,304. The Village includes five separate halls: Beacon, Summit, Pinnacle, Endeavor and Horizon. Such growth is significant as it’s helping drive a new era for USF. Continued expansion is also in motion at USF’s St. Pete campus with plans to build a new residence hall that will increase students living on campus by nearly 70 percent.
Major Milestone in Construction of New Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute
A “topping-off” celebration was held at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute on Water Street Tampa. The final beam was placed on the 13-story building, marking the end of exterior construction. It’s expected to open in late 2019.
Fascinating Research Attracts Worldwide Attention
Marine Scientists Help Lead Research of Florida’s Serious Red Tide Problem
A spotlight is shined on USF marine scientists for their expertise on red tide. The harmful algal bloom became a significant concern across much of Florida’s west coast. It’s caused respiratory problems, damaged tourism and beaches, even killed marine life. USF launched a robotic glider to detect the source of red tide, data in which is being used by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
Engineers Helping Solve Global Sanitation Issues with New Invention
Following its success in India and South Africa, technology created by USF engineers is now ready for commercial use. The NEWgenerator turns human feces into clean water, renewable energy and nutrients. It was funded by a $1.14 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Newly Uncovered Audio Recording Outlines Picasso’s Elaborate Plans to Build the World’s Tallest Concrete Sculpture (100ft.) in Florida
Photographs, sketches and a 1974 audio recording are discovered, unveiling Pablo Picasso’s plans to build the world’s tallest and one of his final sculptures on the USF campus. The State Board of Regents approved the project, but it never came to fruition due to lack of funding. The “Bust of a Woman” and other architecture plans have been digitized for use worldwide.
The New Face of Athletics
New USF Athletic Director Hired
Michael Kelly was named Vice President of Athletics. His career spans 25 years, which includes a previous role as associate AD under Tampa Bay legend Lee Roy Selmon.Kelly has served as lead executive for three different Super Bowls and Chief Operating Officer for the College Football Playoff.
USF football unveiled its new uniforms at the annual USF Fan Fest, marking the beginning of an eight-year partnership for Athletics with adidas across all the Bulls’ sports teams. The football team can now be seen rocking one of three styles: the all white, all green or what's turned out to be their most popular combination – all black with SoFlo numbers, letters and helmet accents. Athletic apparel donning the new adidas brand is also available to the public for purchase.
USF women’s soccer won its first-ever American Athletic Conference regular season title in 2018. USF softball (39-23) remained at the top of the conference standings in every week of league play during the 2018 season and captured The American’s regular season title. USF men’s golf captured its fourth consecutive American Athletic Conference Championship title in wire-to-wire fashion and matched the program record with five title victories during the season. Ten Bulls’ teams reached postseason competition, including women’s basketball which earned its fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance.
Publix Officially Opens at USF
Publix Super Market opened its newest store at the University of South Florida – the company’s first location on a college campus and a major milestone for the university. Located at Fletcher Ave. and USF Palm Dr., near The Village, USF’s newly completed residence hall community, the grocery store is easily accessible to the more than 6,300 students currently living on the Tampa campus.