University of South Florida


An update on our provost search and USF’s leadership team

Dear USF Community,

I would like to share that we’ve reached a key milestone in the start of our search for a new provost, as well as some important updates about my leadership team.

Provost search
Today I’m excited to announce that I’ve appointed a broadly representative 18-member committee to conduct the search for our provost, which will include ample opportunities for community engagement and feedback throughout the process. This committee will be chaired by John Ramil, a USF alum who recently retired as the longest-serving member of USF’s Board of Trustees, and vice-chaired by Dr. Balaji Padmanabhan, professor and director of the Center for Analytics and Creativity in the Muma College of Business. Read the charge letter and view the full list of committee members here.

Meanwhile, I have also asked Dr. Eric Eisenberg, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, to begin transitioning into a new role as USF’s interim provost beginning May 31 as Provost and Executive Vice President Dr. Ralph Wilcox prepares to step down on Aug. 6. Eric will fully assume the role and its responsibilities on Aug. 7. We are deeply grateful to Provost Wilcox for his many contributions to USF over the past 20 years, including serving as provost since 2008. We plan to honor him and the many achievements of USF’s academic enterprise under his leadership as we approach the end of his tenure.

Eric is ideally suited to ensure a smooth transition and continue USF’s momentum as our search progresses. As the College of Arts and Sciences dean for the past 15 years, he has overseen the university’s largest college with more than 700 faculty, 200 staff, 23 academic departments with 14 centers and institutes across all three campuses. The college has some 17,000 undergraduate and graduate students and an annual budget of more than $100 million. Eric’s depth of knowledge, with an extensive background in communication and culture, leaves us in excellent hands as we move ahead in our search.

Financial strategy
Following his outstanding work over the past five months in his interim position, I’m pleased to appoint Rich Sobieray as USF’s Senior Vice President, Financial Strategy (CFO) and Administrative Services.

In Rich’s permanent role, he will oversee financial operations for all of USF’s campuses, including USF Health. He has already made great strides in his charge to develop a new, value-driven university budget allocation model, engaging each of our unit leaders and deans in a collaborative process that has brought our teams closer in a shared vision for USF’s financial future.

Rich is working to develop innovative new strategies to maximize financial opportunities for USF, including identifying revenue sources and partnerships, and debt management and efficiencies. I have been impressed with his ability to reinforce the culture of operational excellence in the areas reporting to him, including Information Technology, University Police and Administrative Services, which includes Facilities and public safety functions.

Much of the success over the past several months can also be attributed to the dedicated USF finance team, led by Chief Financial Officer Nick Trivunovich. Over the past 27 years, Nick has provided a steady hand for USF’s budget. With a growing family of new grandchildren, Nick has decided to retire from USF effective June 30. Nick has been instrumental in helping propel USF to new heights and has made significant contributions in shaping and implementing fiscal and operational strategies that support the university’s mission, such as USF’s development of public-private partnerships and raising the university’s bond and credit profile to the high-quality AA rating it enjoys. We are deeply grateful for Nick’s service to USF and look forward to further recognizing his accomplishments.

Please join me in congratulating Eric and Rich on their new appointments and wishing Ralph and Nick well in their much-deserved retirements.

Rhea F. Law
USF President

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