Presidential Search Committee

Status Updates

Steve Currall Named University of South Florida President-elect (March 22, 2019)

TAMPA, Fla. (March 22, 2019) – The University of South Florida Board of Trustees (BOT) today voted to name Dr. Steve Currall as the university’s president-elect.

Currall, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Southern Methodist University (SMU), will become USF’s seventh president, pending confirmation by the Florida Board of Governors (BOG) next week.

Currall’s tenure would begin on July 1, 2019, succeeding Dr. Judy Genshaft, who will step down after 19 years at USF.

“I am thrilled to be selected to lead the University of South Florida at such a pivotal time in its history,” Currall said. “USF’s trajectory is unlike any other public university in the country, and there is so much promise. I’m deeply grateful to the Board of Trustees and the USF community for the opportunity to build on the momentum created during President Genshaft’s transformational tenure.”

USF BOT Chair Brian Lamb welcomed the president-elect in an introductory letter to the university community, highlighting Currall’s broad range of academic leadership experience at high-performing research universities.  Lamb emphasized Currall’s time spent at institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU), an invitation-only group of top universities in the U.S. and Canada that USF aspires to join, as well as his experience at universities with multiple campuses.

“We embarked on this search process with a clear vision of a leader who could continue USF’s success as a thriving preeminent research university, and take us to the next level,” Lamb said.  “Dr. Currallis that leader.  He understands where we want to go as a university and as a region, and he has the experience and knowledge to get us there.”

Currall’s selection comes after a six-month search process that included three days of public interviews and open meetings on each of USF’s three campuses.  The BOT chose Currall from a strong pool of four nationally regarded finalists for the position.

The president-elect requires approval by the BOG, which oversees Florida’s 12 public universities. The BOG will conduct a public interview and hold a confirmation vote on Thursday, March 28, during a meeting in Tallahassee.

“Early on we gathered a lot of valuable input from students, faculty, alumni and community members about the qualities they wanted in our next president,” said Les Muma, who served as chair of the broadly representative 15-member presidential search committee.  “After a thorough national search process, Dr. Currall truly stood out as someone who has everything we’re looking for at the University of South Florida.  I’m very confident he’s the right person to lead our university into the future.”

Meet the Finalists (NEW with video)

USF Presidential Search Committee Selects Four Finalists

Headshots of final four candidates of presidential search

 Public interviews begin March 20

TAMPA, Fla. (March 18, 2019)The 15-member University of South Florida presidential search committee today selected four finalists, who will advance in the process to become the University’s seventh president.

The final candidates, in alphabetical order:

Dr. Wanda Blanchett- Interim Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Dr. Steve Currall- Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Southern Methodist University

Dr. Debasish (Deba) Dutta- Distinguished Professor of Engineering & former Chancellor, Rutgers University–New Brunswick

Dr. Jeffrey Vitter- Distinguished Professor of Computer & Information Science & former Chancellor, University of Mississippi

Each finalist has a broad range of academic leadership experience, including at institutions that belong to the prestigious Association of American Universities (AAU). USF has a well-established goal of positioning itself for future membership in the AAU, an invitation-only group of top universities in the U.S. and Canada.

The finalists will now participate in interviews with the search committee, candidate conversations on each USF campus and interviews with the USF Board of Trustees (BOT) this week.

Today USF announced a schedule for these activities:

Search committee interviews on Wednesday, March 20

Dutta: 8:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m.

Vitter: 10:15 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

Blanchett: 12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Currall: 2:15 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Interviews will take place in Traditions Hall at the Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center on the Tampa campus.

Candidate conversations on Thursday, March 21

USF Tampa

8 a.m. – 9 a.m.: Dutta

11a.m. – 12 p.m.: Currall

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.: Vitter

5 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Blanchett 

USF St. Petersburg

8 a.m. – 9 a.m.: Vitter

11 a.m. – 12 p.m.: Blanchett

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.: Dutta

5 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Currall

USF Sarasota-Manatee

8 a.m. – 9 a.m.: Blanchett

11a.m. – 12 p.m.: Dutta

2 p.m. – 3 p.m.: Currall

5 p.m. – 6 p.m.: Vitter

Forums will be held in Traditions Hall at USF Tampa, the University Student Center Ballroom at USF St. Petersburg and Room A320A at the USF Sarasota-Manatee Campus Center.

USF Board of Trustees interviews on Friday, March 22

Dutta: 8 a.m. – 9:15 p.m.

Vitter: 9:45 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

Blanchett: 11:45 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Currall: 1:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.

Interviews will take place in Traditions Hall.

At the conclusion of the interviews, the BOT hopes to choose a new president during a meeting that will begin at approximately 3:00 p.m. on Friday, March 22 in Traditions Hall. The president-elect must then be confirmed by the Florida Board of Governors (BOG), which oversees the 12-member State University System. The confirmation is scheduled for Thursday, March 28 during the BOG meeting in Tallahassee.

Beginning on Wednesday, members of the campus community and the public will have an opportunity to submit their feedback on the candidates through the presidential search

The new president will succeed Judy Genshaft, who will step down effective July 1, after a historic 19-year tenure at USF.

USF continues to follow a transparent, inclusive presidential search process that adheres to Board of Governors regulations and Florida Statutes.

Approved Qualifications for the 7th President of USF

USF BOT Chair Brian Lamb’s Charge to Presidential Search Committee


The search committee’s task is to recruit the 7th President of the University of South Florida at a time of unprecedented success and exciting challenges and opportunities.  We are pleased to have retained the services of Greenwood/Asher and Associates to assist us in our work.  Our goal is to have a new president ready for ratification of the Board of Governors by the March 28, 2019 meeting, which will require diligence and efficiency from all.

The committee’s next order of business will be the development of a position description where we will identify the skills, background and characteristics that our next President will require to build upon USF’s position as a preeminent state research university;  as a national model for student success regardless of background; and as an institution with both a global outlook and a strong commitment to the state and region the University serves.  The position description we develop will then go to the Board of Trustees for final review and approval.  The Board will also make the final decision on the unranked list of candidates that we will prepare at the end of the search and selection process.

Throughout this process we will need to be attentive to the views of all USF communities; transparent in our processes and grounded in our strategic priorities and mission.  


A final candidate should be selected by the Board of Trustees by their March 5th meeting and submitted to the Board of Governors for ratification by the March 28th meeting. 


Per BOG regulation, the search committee, assisted by the executive search firm, will be responsible for:

  1. Developing recommended position criteria that are consistent with the institution’s mission, strategic plan and aspirational goals, which shall be approved by the board of trustees;
  2. Approving a marketing plan, that will be submitted to the board of trustees;
  3. Identifying individuals who may apply, be nominated, or recruited, taking into consideration their experience, qualifications and leadership capabilities under the position criteria to produce a pool of qualified applicants;
  4. Vetting applicants by, at a minimum, ensuring that available public records and online resources are checked in order to narrow the pool of qualified applicants who will be invited to participate in interviews with the search committee and that the references of candidates to be referred to the board of trustees are thoroughly checked;
  5. Determining, under the position criteria, the applicants to be interviewed by the search committee and conducting those first applicant interviews; and
  6. Recommending an unranked list of applicants who are qualified under the position criteria to further the institution’s mission, goals and priorities for on-campus meetings or forums with faculty, students, and other stakeholders and for consideration and on-campus interviews by the board of trustees. The search committee is required to submit more than two qualified applicants, selected by a majority vote of the search committee, to the board of trustees for consideration, other than in exceptional circumstances making fulfillment of this requirement infeasible. If more than one candidate is not coming forward, the board of trustees must be notified of the reason and may decline to act.

USF Provides an Update on the Presidential Search Process

Search committee formed, timeline to name a new president established

TAMPA, Fla. (Sept. 14, 2018) – Following President Judy Genshaft’s announcement on Monday that she will step down in July after completing a historically successful 19-year tenure, the University of South Florida Board of Trustees (BOT) is moving forward in the search to find her replacement.

On Friday, BOT Chair Brian Lamb announced a 15-member search committee and provided a timeline of events for the next several months. Lamb says USF will closely follow the process established by the Florida Board of Governors in its search for a new president, who will be the seventh in university history.

“The University of South Florida has tremendous momentum, having recently set several institutional records, and it’s critical for us to find a new president with the leadership abilities to continue our trajectory,” Lamb said. “Our search committee members strongly represent the communities we serve, they come from diverse backgrounds and each will bring a unique perspective to this process.”

Lamb has named Les Muma as chair of the presidential search committee. Muma is a resident of Pinellas County, 1966 graduate of USF and current member of the USF Board of Trustees. Muma, the retired CEO of Fiserv, Inc., previously served on the board of the USF Foundation, where he chaired the first phase ($600 million) of a $1 billion campaign. 

Other members of the committee include:

  • Kathy Weedman Arthur
  • Braulio Colón
  • Anddrikk Frazier
  • Robert D. Frisina
  • Stephanie Goforth
  • Darlene Jordan
  • Shaquille Kent
  • Rhea Law
  • George Morgan
  • Frederick “Rick” Piccolo
  • John Ramil
  • Debbie Sembler
  • Byron Shinn
  • Charles Stanish

A full bio of each committee member is available on the Committee Members page.

“Replacing President Genshaft is an enormous responsibility. This is a pivotal time in the University of South Florida’s history, and our decision will have a significant impact on the future of the Tampa Bay region,” Muma said. “We are committed to following a search process that is transparent and inclusive.”

A national search firm will be selected in the next few weeks, followed by the search committee spending several weeks developing the profile for the position. The committee intends to recommend a set of candidates to the BOT in early 2019, with an interview process on campus shortly afterwards. Once the interviews conclude, the search committee will present final candidates to the BOT, and trustees are expected to decide on a new president during the spring of 2019. 

The Presidential Search Committee website is dedicated to keeping students, faculty, staff and other community members informed throughout the process.

USF Updates Presidential Search (March 11, 2019)

The search to select the University of South Florida’s seventh president will move forward the week of March 18 with a series of events open to the campus community and the public.

The 15-member USF Presidential Search Committee, led by USF trustee Les Muma, will meet at 8 a.m. on Monday, March 18, in Traditions Hall inside the Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center on the Tampa campus. The search committee will review the final list of applicants who submitted their resume materials prior to the March 15 deadline, and then select at least three candidates to advance to the next stage of the process, which will include public interviews and forums on campus.

Each candidate selected on Monday will participate in the following activities throughout the week:

  • An interview with the search committee on Wednesday, March 20.
  • A moderated candidate conversation on each of the three USF campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee on Thursday, March 21.
  • An interview with the USF Board of Trustees (BOT) on Friday, March 22.

At the conclusion of Friday’s interviews, the BOT hopes to choose a new president.

All of these activities will be open to the public.

After Monday’s search committee meeting, USF will send an updated media advisory announcing the candidates and providing a more detailed schedule of events for the rest of the week.

The new president will succeed Judy Genshaft, who will step down effective July 1, 2019, after a historic 19-year tenure at USF.


USF continues to follow a transparent, inclusive presidential search process that adheres to Board of Governors regulations and Florida Statutes. Students, faculty, staff and other community members can also stay informed through USF’s presidential search website.