University of South Florida


New Appointments Made to USF Consolidation Task Force

The Board of Governors on Thursday appointed Mike Griffin to lead the University of South Florida Consolidation Planning Study and Implementation Task Force, which is developing recommendations to phase out the separate accreditations of USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee. Griffin replaces Dr. Jonathan Ellen, who resigned as chair.

Mike Griffin

Mike Griffin

“I have complete confidence that this task force will continue its forward momentum under Mike Griffin’s leadership,” said Ned Lautenbach, chair of the Board of Governors. “The State University System remains committed to a seamless consolidation for USF and its students.”

Griffin was appointed to the consolidation task force when it was first established earlier this year and has served as chair of the task force subcommittee on student success, academic programs and campus identity. He is senior managing director for Savills Studley Occupier Services. Griffin earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from USF and served two terms as student body president. He is also a former chair of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.

“USF is an incredible asset to the Tampa Bay region that will only become stronger through the consolidation process,” Griffin said. “Our task force has already spent countless hours listening to the university community, gathering public input and exchanging ideas with local leaders. We have built great momentum and I look forward to finalizing our recommendations soon.”

With Griffin moving into the position appointed by the Board of Governors, USF Board of Trustees Chair Brian Lamb has appointed Debbie Sembler to fill the vacant seat on the task force. Sembler is a former USF trustee and chair of the USF St. Petersburg Campus Board. She is an active supporter of educational and civic causes, including serving on several community boards in Pinellas County.

Debbie Sembler

Debbie Sembler

“Mike is a proven leader with a well-established record of achievements across the entire Tampa Bay region and the state of Florida. He is the ideal person to chair the task force as they complete their recommendations,” Lamb said. “I’m also pleased to appoint Debbie to the task force. As a former trustee and campus board chair, she brings tremendous knowledge, experience and perspective to this role.”

As required by Florida law, the 13-member consolidation task force must submit its recommendations to the USF Board of Trustees by February 15, 2019. After considering the recommendations of the task force, the USF Board of Trustees must adopt and submit an implementation plan to the Board of Governors no later than March 15, 2019.

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