USF President Judy Genshaft and her husband, Steven Greenbaum, will donate $1 million over the next five years for students to travel abroad.
On Friday, Genshaft announced her Genshaft/Greenbaum Passport Scholars Fund, in which the state Legislature will match her donation with $750,000 for the same scholarship.
“I believe a modern university is a global university,” she said during the announcement. “We decided to create a $1 million endowment … to allow our students to pursue their important, high-impact, innovative ideas anywhere in the world – whether you’re an undergraduate student or a graduate student at USF Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee or Polytechnic, if there is an academic project or a program that (you) wish to pursue … we want to make it happen to you.”
Genshaft said this is not the same as study abroad.
“It’s not just study abroad. We have (an alternative) spring break (option, where students can travel to places such as) Panama and work in Panama,” she said in an interview with The Oracle. “It can be any kind of travel internationally as long as it’s got a university sanction program because student affairs has many programs. So you can study, you can do service projects, it’s whatever the student feels passionate about. I believe they will write some kind of short essay and a panel will look at it.”
Greenbaum said the scholarship will be administered by USF World, which is an initiative to allow students and faculty to be globally engaged.
“Scholarships will help students who want to travel abroad who have a hard time affording it,” he said.
Student body President Cesar Hernandez, who spoke at the announcement, said USF students are similar to a pot of boiling water, an analogy he witnessed during his Uganda trip over the winter break where he documented the country’s needs.
“I was sitting down and I’m in a village in Kalongo and I see a child go to the river and scoops up the water and he walks over and starts boiling the water. Once the water starts to boil, it spills over. So what did he do? He put a lid on it … (and then it’s drinkable),” he said. “The students are just like that water scooped up … and we’re in the pot. And USF starts turning on the heat and then we start bubbling … then we have Dr. Genshaft and we have the provost say, ‘Nope, we’re going to put the top on you because you’re not done.’ (You start to boil) … when you’re done with the University of South Florida … you are pure water and you can nourish other people. In order to pour into someone else’s life, you have to be poured into.”
Genshaft said there are employers looking for workers who have experience with other cultures.
“They need people who are comfortable working with other people from other cultures and who are educated with the issues and challenges in the world around them,” she said. “It is our job to prepare students to be competitive and successful in the globalized future. At USF, you have no limit.”
Greenbaum said he and Genshaft believe in how effective an education can be.
“We are proud to be able to give back to the USF community,” he said during the announcement. “(Students) can go wherever their dreams and ambitions take them, knowing that when they return they will view themselves and the world in a new perspective.”
Genshaft said she and her husband have been putting the scholarship together for about four or five months.
“It brings all of your book learning alive,” she said. “It’s something you will never forget.”