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College of Medicine renamed, USF receives biggest gift in history

After receiving a $20 million donation from Frank and Carol Morsani, local philanthropists who have now donated over $43 million to the University, the College of Medicine changed its name to reflect the University’s largest donors.

USF President Judy Genshaft announced the naming of the Morsani College of Medicine at the USF Health Bookstore courtyard Dec. 8 to a group that included the College’s charter class and faculty.

“This is historic and this puts the University of South Florida on the national map,” she said.

Frank Morsani said the donation came at a time when the state legislature was not doing enough to preserve education.

“We cannot let higher education deteriorate,” he said. “All of our families are products of public education. There are many great things going on in the community, but this can be a transformational investment for the University, for the community, and for mankind. We hope this gift will be a catalyst of the University to continue to educate the best and brightest minds and will inspire others to invest their treasury in the University.”

Morsani said he hoped the donation will help the college do three things: educate, create and inspire.

“I hope it will educate the great minds that are all out here in all their white coats,” he said. “I hope it will lead to research that will bring this University to a higher level…and inspire others, share in the tradition to make this the finest university in the state and one of the finest in the country. We can and we will and we’re going to do it.”

Morsani said the College of Medicine has demonstrated it is a vehicle of progress, something he said the University exemplifies.

“Everyone embraces change,” he said. “If you don’t, you ain’t going to be around very long. Good or outstanding is not good enough. The strive for excellence is found throughout (the USF) community. The mission statement here should be: Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

Stephen Klasko, dean of the College of Medicine and senior vice president of USF Health, said the Morsanis changed the course of his life and what he’s done since he first arrived at USF Health in 2004.

“I said, ‘Frank, I look at what’s out there in Tampa Bay and I look at what Prseident Genshaft is doing with USF,'” he said. “‘There’s no reason we shouldn’t be leading the country in health education.’ And Frank made a comment that I won’t repeat about what ought to happen to some of the people that don’t really want to move forward. That got my attention, then Carol really said something that’s really stuck with me and it’s really gotten us here: ‘Do the right thing and let people think what they want, and it will all work out. And we’ve really tried to do that at USF Health.”

Klasko said students who graduate from the college will get diplomas that reflect the name change.

“We couldn’t be more proud that every graduate from the College of Medicine will now bear the Morsani name on each diploma from now on,” he said.

Klasko told attendees at the Board of Trustees meeting to expect more from the College.

“You ain’t seen nothin’ yet,” he said.

-Additional Reporting by Divya Kumar