July 1 is an Historic Day for USF and the Muma College of Business
Dear Muma College of Business family:
For more than two years, July 1, 2020 has been circled on my calendar.
It isn’t a holiday, it isn’t a birthday or anniversary. But it is an important date. Perhaps among the most important dates in the history of the University of South Florida and the Muma College of Business.
It is the day USF unites three campuses into one university. It’s the day when geographical distances melt away, when we become whole.
A big day. A historic day.
The USF colleges of business in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee – each already vibrant and relevant, including the award-winning School of Hospitality and Tourism Management – now share a renewed, unified commitment to bring success to students, to support faculty in their scholarly inquiries and to partner with the business community so that we all win. Today, we bid farewell to “us” versus “them.” We leave behind the silos that have separated our campuses, our curricula, our mission and vision. As one, we now are stronger. We are energized and eager to carry out this mission. United, we are ready to meet the future.
Student success is more than a mantra, a slogan we put on brochures and in recruitment materials. Student success is the goal of everyone from the dean to student advisers and career counselors, to faculty and office assistants; and to our business partners on the outside, who offer internships, work experience opportunities and eventually jobs – well-paying jobs – for our graduates. Though our students will be the biggest winners from consolidation, our faculty also will find more resources at their disposal, a shared system of scholarship and an invigorated synergy for research and teaching.
Before this day, some course credits weren’t transferrable between campuses and many of the classes needed to graduate in certain majors simply weren’t available in every location. There were inefficiencies and duplication of efforts. Now, students can take courses at any USF campus and have more choices when it comes to majors, affording more opportunities that will ensure success in all fields of study; in all walks of life.
Our family grows on this day. This spring, we enrolled a combined 8,000 students in the Muma College of Business on all three campuses and now have 300 faculty and staff across six schools. And with this growth we are taking another step on a steep trajectory this college has been on for years. We are accustomed to this difficult journey and that’s what makes our triumph over the adversity initially posed by consolidation assured.
Our recognized commitment to excellence now is on full display. We have a valuable resource to offer and we have made it available not only to a wider spectrum of students, but also to our outside business partners. They know we will not slip in our quest to be among the top business colleges in the nation.
Our external business partners in St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Tampa are that much closer in this family. They share a vision of providing opportunities for young leaders with fresh ideas and now have access to a more diverse field of talent.
For two years, we have waited for this day; this day circled on our calendar. We initially were hesitant. Consolidation. Was it real? Would it happen? Could it happen? But from the outset, the deans of the three campuses, myself, Dean Sri Sundaram in St. Petersburg; Dean Thomas Becker and Dean Pat Moreo in Sarasota-Manatee, met in a remarkable spirit of cooperation and discussed how to proceed.
Our faculty and staff also met, got to know each other and with a focus on collaboration, pushed through any differences to get to this point, identifying and addressing the tiniest details that could present bigger problems down the road. Did we miss any of those details? Probably yes, but we have molded this structure to be adaptable. We are not afraid to make changes when changes are needed. We are ready.
Will there be bumps in the road? Yes. I can guarantee you we will face some turbulence after this engine gets warmed up. But we will address them and overcome them swiftly and confidently. We have shown that our commitment to our alumni, students and friends of the college is stronger than ever moving forward into this new era for USF. We will make you proud of this new Muma College of Business.
Through it all, we have been held up as a model in this consolidation process and all of you can take a measure of credit for that. This is a great day.
I stand here now with all of you, the faculty and staff of the Muma College of Business in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, to say I could not be prouder of the efforts you all have made over the past two years in anticipation of this day.
You should stand as well, be proud.
Don’t shy away from this landmark day. Greet it with enthusiasm and make it better as we walk along this path. This will forever be a work in progress, constantly ready to change, to be progressive. We built it that way, knowing that the best way to predict the future is to shape it.
Dean of USF's Muma College of Business