University of South Florida


USF System President Judy Genshaft announces plans to step down, effective July 2019

Judy Genshaft wearing green standing in front of a fountain

Following another record-breaking year and unparalleled stretch of recent achievements, University of South Florida System President Judy Genshaft today announced her decision to step down from her position, effective July 1, 2019.

“The University of South Florida is on a trajectory unlike ever before in its history. We are reaching milestones once reserved for universities twice our age. We continue to make groundbreaking strides in research, student success, teaching and community impact,” Genshaft said in a letter to the USF community, which also thanked the USF Board of Trustees for their continued support. “Because of this positive momentum, my family and I believe that this is the right time for me to step down from my post as president, effective July 1, 2019. It has been the honor of my professional career to be part of this journey since the year 2000.”

Since becoming president in 2000, Genshaft has catapulted the USF System to national and international prominence in every key institutional area, including student success, research and innovation, fundraising and economic development. In June 2018, under Genshaft’s leadership, USF earned the designation of Preeminence, placing USF in the most elite category of state universities in Florida.

“I am fortunate to have served alongside our great president and witnessed the leadership she has provided during her remarkable tenure,” said USF Board of Trustees Chair Brian Lamb. “We are performing at a higher level than ever before, making a lasting impact on the Tampa Bay region and the state of Florida, and none of it would be possible with out the visionary leadership of Judy Genshaft. Her legacy will be felt for generations to come.”

During Genshaft’s presidency, the university’s enrollment has grown by 40 percent while its four-year graduation rate has tripled. Most notably, all USF students now graduate at the same rate, regardless of race, ethnicity or family income level. This extremely rare achievement in higher education has earned USF widespread national recognition. Earlier today, U.S. News and World Report announced USF has ascended 10 spots to No. 58 on its list of top public universities in the country, USF’s highest ranking ever in the national publication.

In 2017, USF became just the third public university in the country founded since 1956 to complete a $1 billion fundraising campaign. During Genshaft’s tenure, the university’s endowment has grown from $254 million to $480 million.

In perhaps her most significant contribution, Genshaft’s focus on transforming USF from a regional institution into a highly-regarded international research university has had a far-reaching impact. During her presidency, USF’s research activity has tripled to more than $568 million in annual expenditures, positioning USF as one of the nation’s top 30 public universities for research. USF also now ranks as America’s fifth leading public university in generating new United States utility patents. Through Genshaft’s emphasis on applied research, especially, USF discoveries make immeasurable real-world impacts on society’s most pressing challenges.

Genshaft has also led the USF System to incredible economic growth, overseeing approximately $1.75 billion in construction projects. This has provided students and faculty with state-of-the-art resources and has played a key role in elevating the economic vitality of Tampa Bay region and state of Florida. This includes the new USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute scheduled to open next year in downtown Tampa, as the anchor tenant for Tampa’s historic Water Street redevelopment.

Under Genshaft’s leadership, USF has evolved into a vibrant residential university, with student housing capacity doubling to approximately 6,500 system-wide. USF Tampa recently opened a $134 million new student housing village, the largest public-private partnership to be completed in State University System history, that will include a first-of-its-kind campus Publix supermarket. Genshaft has also championed the growth of USF’s regional campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee to provide wider options for student access. This included building the first residence halls at USF St. Petersburg, which will soon be augmented by another 375-bed facility.

Genshaft has been instrumental in economic development efforts across the region and the state, serving as chair of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Tampa Bay Partnership, and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100, as well as participating in the Florida Council of 100. Beginning this fall, she will chair the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation.

Genshaft’s heralded leadership includes local, national and global recognition from professional organizations throughout her career, including several honorary doctorates and numerous leadership awards. These include the ACE Donna Shavlik Award for promoting women in higher educationandthe Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLU) Michael P. Malone International Leadership Award. She has served as chair for the American Council on Education (ACE) and is a member of the APLU Board of Directors. In 2010, she made National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) history when she became the first woman to chair the Division I Board. She also is a past chair of the Big East and American Athletic Conference Councils of Presidents.

USF System President Judy Genshaft speaking with WFLA's Jeff Patterson after announcing her plans to step down from her position.

USF System President Judy Genshaft speaking with WFLA's Jeff Patterson after announcing her plans to step down from her position.

A native of Ohio, Genshaft earned her bachelor's degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and her master's and doctoral degrees from Kent State University. She is the author or co-author of more than 75 journal articles, and she has edited and authored three books on gifted education and intellectual assessment. Genshaft also has contributed chapters, essays and articles to more than 20 books, journals and publications on topics in higher education leadership.

Highlights of Genshaft’s presidency by the numbers:

Four-year graduation rate:
2000 (freshmen who entered college that year): 20%
Current: 60%

Total student headcount (USF System):
Fall 2000: 35,728
Current: 50,755

Annual research expenditures:
2001 (oldest data on file): $172 million
Current: $568 million

Total alumni:
2000: 167,210
Current: 333,199

Economic impact:
$1.8 billion annual budget
$4.4 billion annual impact on the Tampa Bay Area and Florida

The university will provide an update on the process to select a new president in the near future.

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