About the Magazine

From the President

USF System President Judy Genshaft

One of the many highlights in what has been a remarkable year of accomplishments was the success of our USF: Unstoppable campaign. Thanks to the generosity of our loyal alumni and many friends, 2017 will be remembered as the year in which we surpassed our $1 billion goal. This is not only extraordinary – it is extremely rare: Only two other public universities founded since 1956 have completed $1 billion fundraising campaigns.

What does the support of nearly 200,000 donors mean? Scholarships for deserving students. Much needed improvements to our teaching, learning and research environments. Advances in health care. Greater opportunities for our student-athletes to excel in competition and in the classroom. Additional world-class faculty whose teaching and research make a positive difference for our students and the communities we serve. (You can learn more about our transformative campaign beginning on page 24.)

Today, we are a vibrant university system attracting more than 50,000 students from all 50 states and 146 countries. USF is recognized nationally for student success, research and innovation, and our commitment to community service. And, under current Florida law, we now are one of just three public research universities to achieve Preeminence – and the other two institutions are 100 years older than USF.     

The Unstoppable campaign may be over, but we’re not finished. In fact, we are just getting started.

Thank you for your support.

As the year comes to a close, I also have been reflecting on the 2017 hurricane season and the outstanding efforts of our USF family. I wanted to touch on this now since the fall issue of USF magazine was in production when Hurricane Irma struck Florida in early September, and of course, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico two weeks later.

I am incredibly proud of our students, faculty and staff, who focused on the safety and well-being of our university communities of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, and the community at large, during a very trying period. 

Before and immediately following Hurricane Irma, I spent quite a bit of time on the USF Tampa campus. What I found – not surprisingly – was hundreds of dedicated employees and students who spent countless hours responding to the storm, returning home only to shower and sleep. Every one of them I spoke with told me how proud they were to lend a hand.

More than 2,000 USF Tampa students stayed in our residence halls. USF Tampa also housed students from USF St. Petersburg and from USF Sarasota-Manatee, and nearly 100 faculty and staff and families from all three institutions.

A few more examples help illustrate the commitment of our faculty, staff and students. At the Sun Dome, we housed and helped care for more than 700 special needs evacuees under a contract with Hillsborough County. We deployed more than 1,200 USF Health residents and physicians to hospitals across the region, and we helped more than 25 area agencies and organizations prepare for and respond to Hurricane Irma. As you will learn on pages 12 through 14, our response was extensive.

In Puerto Rico, doctors from USF Health have been treating patients and assessing critical medical needs. Earlier this fall, they delivered 1,500 pounds of medications and supplies donated by USF Health and other partners. We are planning future deliveries, and our doctors will continue providing much needed assistance.

Among the stories related to the theme of this issue – food – is a sobering look at food insecurity in the Tampa Bay region and beyond. While the extent of the problem is perhaps larger than many might have thought, I hope you will be as inspired as I am by the efforts of our students and faculty to address it.

You will find Bulls helping with Feeding Tampa Bay, Sweetwater Farms, and other local organizations addressing the issue of hunger and food insecurity through a variety of approaches, and with a focus on healthy food. Among those efforts is the Feed-A-Bull Food Pantry on the USF Tampa campus, which provides supplemental food and nutrition resources for students in need.

This is who we are at the University of South Florida. We take care of each other and our friends and neighbors.

On behalf of our students, faculty and staff, I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a new year filled with peace and good health.

Judy Genshaft, President
University of South Florida System