About the Magazine
From the President
Dear alumni, friends and supporters of USF:
I hope you and your families are well.
I am humbled, grateful and excited to be writing to you as USF’s eighth president, a role that represents the honor of a lifetime. It is hard for me to put into words what it means to have the opportunity to continue leading this great university — one that I hold so close to my heart — on a trajectory filled with promise and possibilities for our students, faculty and staff.
I feel energized and a deep sense of commitment thinking about all that we can accomplish together, enriching the region, state and beyond as we go. And I look forward to continuing to engage with our valued alumni as USF continues soaring to bold, new heights.
This issue of USF magazine includes an update on a project that promises to be transformational for our university.
Many of you may recall the announcement last fall from the chair of the USF Board of Trustees, Will Weatherford, that we would pursue construction of an on-campus stadium. Since then, Michael Kelly, vice president of Athletics, and Jay Stroman, Life Member, CEO of the USF Foundation, have been leading a Campus Stadium Planning Committee. We are moving forward, with a recommended site identified.
The site the committee has recommended to the Board of Trustees is on the east side of the Tampa campus in a location known as Sycamore Fields, which is currently used for intramural sports. It’s a great location — close to the USF Athletics district, student housing and parking. And, we are extremely grateful to Frank and Carol Morsani, longtime supporters of USF, for their generous commitment of $5 million to the project, inspiring steadfast supporters Jeff and Penny Vinik to make a $5 million gift. Each couple hopes their contribution will be a catalyst for others to step forward to fund this important initiative.
Football is an important thread in the fabric of our university — that’s true for all of our athletic endeavors. But the stadium will be more than that. It will be about engagement. It will enhance the overall campus experience by giving students, faculty, staff, alumni and the surrounding communities a place to come together, develop deeper relationships with the university and build memories across generations. We will keep you updated as planning continues.
An important research initiative, called the USF Metropolitan Food Project, is under way at our university. This interdisciplinary effort is designed to develop new food growing systems that will improve human health, particularly for those who experience food insecurity.
If you haven’t heard about the Stampede for Women, I encourage you to read the story. The Stampede is designed to generate funds, raise awareness and create focused opportunities to support our women student-athletes. More than $150,000 has been raised since the initiative was introduced in February 2021. Contributions will support scholarships, career development and capital improvements. We also believe the Stampede can establish a fresh community of female leaders in the Tampa Bay region who could become professional mentors for USF student-athletes. You may not know this, but our women’s teams have won 59 conference championships! We want to help our student-athletes succeed in the classroom, in competition and in all of their endeavors after they earn their degrees.
Thank you for all that you do for our students and our university.
Rhea F. Law, ’77, Life Member