Despite the somber notes brought upon by budget cuts, hiring freezes and the Lakeland campus separation from the USF System, USF President Judy Genshafts annual State of the University address on Wednesday was bright and cheery.
Genshaft dwelled on the highlights of the 2011-12 academic year and announced a new partnership between USF Health and the Lakeland Regional Medical Center.
Given the growing pace of hospital consolidation and health care changes, Dean Stephen Klasko and I will be presenting to our Board of Trustees an exciting proposal to form a hospital-university collaboration, she said. This new entity will have the USF Health System as a vehicle for creative partnerships between the hospital and USF, in addition to existing relationships.
The Lakeland Regional Medical Center will work with its board to join the USF Heath System, which could create as many as 250 new residency positions at Lakeland, Genshaft said. This would make USF the largest residency program in the state.
Genshaft also listed many rankings to illustrate how the university has grown during the past year.
USF ranked in the top 50 public and private universities in federal research, fifth friendliest university for veterans, 12th coolest school according to the Sierra Club and among the top 10 universities in the world for earning U.S. patents.
Move over John Hopkins, USF is here, Genshaft said. Move over NYU and Michigan, USF is among you. Move over Duke. USF is in this very elite group.
The announcement that received the most excitement was USFs total amount of research contract and grants: $411,061,232.
It is not a surprise that the research at our American dream university has grown so fast, she said. Our research seeks solutions that are right here, right now.
The American dreamuniversity was one Genshaft referred to more than once.
There are many ways that we are the American dream university, she said. Many aspects of USF characterize it as the face of American society including being located in large metropolitan areas and having both hardworkingstudents challenged by financial realities and first generation students pursuing the aspiration of not only themselves but of their families.
Genshaft briefly addressed the struggles USF faced over the past year, including the separation of Lakeland from the USF system and budget cuts that have led to hiring and spending freezes.
She looked toward the future optimistically though, and mentioned the universitys new five-year strategic plan complete with tuition
increases to combat some of these financial issues and rebuild the budget.
Genshaft made clear her message was one of appreciation to faculty and staff and she encouraged to students to think about the top-tier university on the cutting edge of technology they attend.
You hear people say Florida is open to business, Genshaft said. I say USF is open to innovation.