About the Magazine

From the President

President Rhea Law smiling for the camera

Dear alumni, friends and supporters of USF:

As we enter another exciting academic year, I can’t help but reflect on the very eventful and rewarding summer we’ve had here at USF. As you will read in the cover story for this issue, USF reached a historic milestone that will have far-reaching impacts for generations to come: We accepted an invitation to join the Association of American Universities (AAU), a prestigious group of the 71 leading research institutions in the United States and Canada.

We are the first public university in Florida to be invited to join the AAU in nearly 40 years. AAU membership means USF now stands alongside widely respected institutions including Harvard, Princeton, Duke, Stanford, Northwestern, Johns Hopkins, Yale, the University of Florida, the University of Texas and the University of Michigan.

Membership in the association will mean heightened funding opportunities for USF, which will positively impact the Tampa Bay region and the state. Member universities earn the majority of competitively awarded federal funding for research that seeks to address local and national challenges. Faculty at their member universities perform 63% of the total amount of federally funded basic research ($28.8 billion). Another benefit: Becoming an AAU member allows us to add to our already world-class faculty and students. The top students, scholars, employees and entrepreneurs gravitate to the most esteemed universities, particularly when those institutions are located in large metropolitan areas like ours.  

When I served as chair of the Board of Trustees 16 years ago, I vividly remember USF including AAU eligibility in our strategic plan. To be invited by our peers to join this prestigious association and now officially be recognized by them as one of the nation’s leading research universities reflects the commitment to excellence of our faculty, staff and students.

I was pleased to see many of you at the grand opening celebration of the home of the Judy Genshaft Honors College. As I said at the event, a world-class honors college deserves an equally remarkable home. From the stunning atrium to the learning lofts and dedicated studio spaces, and so much more, the new building will provide wonderful teaching and learning opportunities for our faculty and staff, and strengthen USF’s position to attract top talent within Florida and beyond. We are extremely grateful to the many donors who have contributed to this project, and in particular, USF President Emerita and Professor Judy Genshaft and her husband, Steven Greenbaum, for their historic lead gift.

As exciting as the past few months have been, we know there’s more to come with the start of the new academic year. And that means plenty of opportunities for Bulls fans to come out and support our dedicated student-athletes and coaches. Mark your calendars for the first home game Sept. 9 against Florida A&M and read details about our busy fall sports schedule, including men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball.

The following month it’s Homecoming 2023, Oct. 8-14! This year’s celebration will be particularly memorable — our first as an AAU member. Check for updates at usfalumni.org/homecoming.

We may be looking ahead to the fall semester, but it’s important to keep in mind that we are still in the midst of hurricane season. I encourage you to read our alumni profile on Mike Boylan, ’96. He runs Mike’s Weather Page, which has more than 1.1 million followers on Facebook alone. But he’s more than a social media phenomenon — Mike’s Weather Page is considered a trusted resource by a variety of federal agencies, local meteorologists and The Weather Channel. Thanks for helping to keep us safe, Mike.

I hope you and your families have had a wonderful summer. Thank you for all you do for our students and our great university.

Rhea F. Law, ’77
Life Member No. 976