USF System President Judy Genshaft announced her retirement Monday morning, effective July 1.
Genshaft cited conversations with her family as the reasons she came to this decision, because “the time is right.”
Indeed it is.
With all that Genshaft has done in her career, what else does she have left to accomplish?
In her 18-year tenure, Genshaft has taken USF to new heights. Ones that may have previously been unimaginable.
Perhaps most notably, Genshaft led USF into becoming a preeminent university — just the third school in Florida to do so.
On the surface, the impacts Genshaft has made can be clearly seen. Whether it be the addition of the USF Bookstore, The Village, the fence surrounding the campus, new entrance signs or the new Marshall Student Center, Genshaft has taken USF out of the 20th century and given the campus a much-needed visual revitalization.
Genshaft has politicked and fundraised with the best of them in Tampa Bay. Last year, raising approximately $80 million for the university, $20 million shy of the goal given to her by the Board of Trustees for this year.
In 2010, Genshaft was named the chairwoman for the NCAA Board of Directors, proving that her leadership capabilities go far beyond the confines of the USF system.
The six-year graduation rate of 38 percent from the time Genshaft arrived on campus in the year 2000 has nearly doubled and is now 70 percent.
Currently, Genshaft is leading the charge for the consolidation of USF’s three campuses — Tampa, St. Pete and Sarasota-Manatee — into one, unified university.
It was always a clear goal of Genshaft’s to transform USF from a regionalized-commuter school to one that is nationally competitive and can house a large portion of the student body.
She has done just that.
USF Tampa now has the capacity to hold over 6,300 students who live on campus, including Living Learning Communities specifically for members of the LGBTQ and disabled communities.
Most recently, USF rose 10 points from last year’s standing on the U.S. News and World Report ranking of public universities to the number 58 spot.
Genshaft has completely rewritten the handbook on what it means to be the USF system president.
She has revolutionized what it means to lead our school and, more importantly, what it means to be a bull.
The time for Genshaft to step away, at the top of her game, is now.
Genshaft’s successor will have very big shoes to fill. However, it will be hard for them to do so with the level of rigor, poise and passion that Genshaft has displayed for the past 18 years.
Jesse Stokes is a junior majoring in political science