About the Magazine

From the President

President Currall smiling and seaking with someone.

 

Dear alumni, friends and supporters of USF:

I HOPE YOU AND YOUR families are well.

As has been true throughout the Tampa Bay region and the nation, “normal” took on unexpected new meanings for USF as faculty, students and staff confronted the coronavirus pandemic. In mid-March, thanks to the herculean effort of faculty and staff, we successfully transitioned all of our courses – more than 5,200 – to remote instruction, together with all of the critical services we provide to our students. Although we could not physically gather to celebrate the achievements of our spring graduates, we did hold virtual commencement ceremonies to offer the Class of 2020 the recognition it richly deserved.

USF Health experts and researchers have been at the forefront of our region’s response to the pandemic. From serving on the front lines, to producing face shields and testing swabs, to conducting clinical trials and sharing expertise with community leaders and businesses, and so much more, USF faculty and staff members continue to provide invaluable service as we navigate this unprecedented challenge. The following series of stories offers insights into some of USF’s many efforts.

Recognizing the financial challenges many of our students face, we created the USF United Support Fund to help them meet critical needs, including paying rent, buying groceries or covering unexpected educational expenses. As of late May, more than 1,500 donors contributed nearly $337,000, and 87 percent of the gifts came from USF alumni, faculty and staff. We have been able to assist more than 300 deserving students. Many of you have generously donated to the United Support Fund as well as other funds that support the university’s COVID-19 efforts, including the important research being conducted by our scientific and medical experts, and food pantries that continue to serve our students on all three campuses. We have launched a comprehensive effort to support our many pandemic-related initiatives, #BullsUnited in Action.

We have worked diligently over the last several weeks to develop plans to resume normal operations for the university, and we have every intention of resuming face-to-face instruction and some activities during the fall, with necessary modifications and precautions.

While the pandemic has captured much of our attention throughout the spring, we also have moved forward with other important initiatives. We introduced the USF Principles of Community, culminating nearly six months of work from our broadly representative Principles of Community Task Force. That process incorporated feedback from nearly 5,000 survey responses and in-person town hall forums on each of our campuses.

The Principles of Community, designed to help reinforce a campus climate of mutual support among faculty, staff and students, are: excellence with equity, diversity with inclusion, freedom with responsibility, dialogue with respect, and transparency with accountability. Please visit online to learn more.

Also, as you may recall, our three separately accredited institutions will consolidate into One USF on July 1, as required by Florida law. Consolidation brings many benefits to our campuses and the entire region. There will be expanded opportunities for students and faculty, and multiple counties and communities will be home to a Preeminent Research University – one of only three in Florida. There will be greater access to our remarkable faculty and research and our important economic development initiatives. More information is available online.

Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, our community has demonstrated tremendous commitment, compassion and resiliency. The University of South Florida is and will always be a beacon for optimism and hope. As I wrote in an op-ed published in the Tampa Bay Times, this pandemic has illuminated our mission as a public research university more clearly than ever.

Thank you for your support of our students, faculty and staff. I wish you and your families a safe and healthy summer.

Steven C. Currall
USF President and Professor