About the President

USF President Rhea Law

Rhea F. Law
Eighth President of the University of South Florida

Rhea Law is the eighth president of the University of South Florida. She began serving as USF’s interim president in August 2021 and was confirmed to the role in a unanimous vote by the Florida Board of Governors in March 2022. A proud fifth-generation Floridian who is passionate about the success of the state, Law is actively involved in corporate, public policy, civic, and charitable work.

The first USF graduate to serve as president, Law has deep ties within the USF community and across the state of Florida. She earned an undergraduate degree in management from USF, putting herself through school while working as a university research project administrator for the Office of Sponsored Research. She then earned her terminal degree in law at Stetson University College of Law.

As one of the founding members of the USF Board of Trustees, Law spent five years as vice chair and four years as the board’s first and only female chair, contributing significantly to USF’s growth and evolution as a high-impact, global research university. 

While board chair, Law helped establish an aspirational goal in USF’s strategic plan for the university to pursue eligibility for membership in the Association of American Universities, a group comprised of 71 leading research universities in the U.S. and Canada. Under Law’s presidency, this goal was realized in 2023 when USF was invited to join the prestigious association.

Law is the former CEO and chair of the board of Fowler White Boggs, a Florida law firm. In 2014, she led the merger of Fowler White with a national firm, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney, where she continued to serve as chair of the firm’s Florida offices until 2021. The resulting consolidation created a powerhouse firm with law offices located throughout the country and hundreds of lawyers who specialize in a broad spectrum of industries such as energy, finance, health care, and life sciences. 

Throughout her 35-year-plus legal career, Law has worked with clients on land use and strategic planning to meet the needs of a growing Florida. Her areas of practice included higher education, environment and land use, government, and economic development.

Law has held top leadership positions with many Florida-based organizations. She served as board chair of the Florida Council of 100, a nonpartisan public policy organization that shares guidance and insights with Florida’s elected leaders and government officials on behalf of the business community. She was also a two-time chair of the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation and the Tampa Bay Partnership during times of reorganization and expansion and served as chair of the USF Health Professions Conferencing Corporation, which operates the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS). At Stetson University, Law was a member of the Board of Trustees and chair of the College of Law’s Board of Overseers.

Currently, Law serves on the board of directors for Tampa Electric, one of Florida’s largest investor-owned electric utilities, and Peoples Gas, Florida’s largest natural gas distribution utility. She also serves on the board of directors for the Florida Council of 100, the Tampa Bay Economic Development Council, the Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Council of Governors for the Tampa Bay Partnership, the board of directors executive committee for the American Athletic Conference, and the board of directors and national board of advisors for the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center.

Recent recognitions include:

  • Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Power 100: Tampa Bay’s Most Powerful Business Leaders with the greatest impact and influence on the local business community, 2022-2024
  • Tampa Bay Business & Wealth: Tampa Bay Business Woman Awards, Education (Large) Category and Overall Winner, 2023
  • Girl Scouts of West Central Florida: Women of Distinction Award, 2023
  • Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay: Spirit of Achievement Award, 2023
  • Rotary Club of Tampa: Service Above Self Award and recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow, 2022
  • Tampa Bay Business Journal: Business Woman of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award, 2022
  • Florida Council of 100: Governor’s Business Leader of the Year Award, 2021
  • Florida Trend Magazine: Named to the Florida 500 – Florida’s Most Influential Business Leaders – recognized in law and education categories; named a Living Legend in 2021