President Genshaft's Fall Address

TAMPA, Fla. (Sept. 9, 2009) -- University of South Florida researchers continued to set new records in research earnings, bringing in $380.4 million last year – a $20 million increase over the previous year – at a time when scientific research has been called upon to reinvigorate the local and national economy, USF President Judy Genshaft said Wednesday in her annual Fall Address.

In a speech often dubbed the “state of the university” speech, Genshaft also announced that interim Provost Ralph Wilcox has been selected to serve as provost and executive vice president following a national search. Wilcox is credited as an architect of USF’s strategic plan and as a guiding force behind USF’s academic advancements, including establishing new programs and raising academic standards at the university.

“I know our strategic plan is ambitious,” Genshaft said in the address before faculty, staff and students. “I know it is even more ambitious during a recession. But every indicator says we are right on target. Look at the terrific class of students we accepted this Fall. Look at the speed with which our investigators have gained new research grants. This is a university system that continues to surprise anyone who’s not paying attention. “

Genshaft credited the university community for weathering the economic storms of the past two years and working with administrators in crafting a plan that allowed USF to be fiscally conservative, but retain the visionary mission essential to an institution of higher education. Despite severe state budget cutbacks, USF still has been able to hire 100 new faculty members for the Tampa campus, the president noted.

But the challenges, she cautioned, are not over. USF will continue refining and streamlining its financial systems knowing that one-time money from federal stabilization funds will end in 18 months - likely before Florida’s economy has fully recovered.

The president also noted:

·         USF made further progress in launching its vision for a system of regional campuses and institutions separately accredited under the USF banner. USF Sarasota-Manatee has applied for accreditation and USF Polytechnic will submit its application in December.


·         USF has major new funding coming to one of its signature research programs in diabetes and auto-immune disorders. USF already is home to the world’s best-funded team and another grant to lead investigator Jeff Krischer is on its way.


·         USF is initiating offering domestic partner benefits to its employees this year.


·         The construction of USF’s new visual and performing arts center and major international awards won by Guggenheim Fellowship recipient Chuck Owens and Pat Rogers, who was inducted into the British Academy.


·         In October, the USF Foundation will hold a series of events to unveil and celebrate the progress of USF’s “Unstoppable” comprehensive fundraising campaign. The events will be the first public announcements of this campaign.


The president concluded her remarks by encouraging students, faculty and staff to be mindful of the financial obstacles which remain while remaining dedicated to the university’s efforts to reach out locally and globally in curing diseases, building sustainable communities and fueling the innovation economy.

“The heart of that is remembering that we have the greatest economic engine of all, we have the intellectual capital,” she said. “We are committed to using our intellectual capital to help others during this recession.”

To watch the president’s address, click here. To read the text of the president’s speech, click here.

The University of South Florida System is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of 39 community-engaged, four-year public universities as designated by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The system offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. It has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.