State of the university

USF President Judy Genshaft made her 14th annual fall address at the Marshall Student Center Oval Theater on Wednesday afternoon. ORACLE PHOTO / SEBASTIAN CONTENTO 

Whether it be the USF’s record-setting accomplishments in fundraising or research grants, the university’s plans to rebuild the Andros area of campus or any other of the successes of the campus over the past year, USF President Judy Genshaft had a lot to talk about Wednesday.

At her 14th annual fall address in the Oval Theater, Genshaft spoke of the university’s commitment to excellence, highlights of the year and plans for next year.

“The laser-like focus of our strategic plan has been extremely beneficial in this era that demands high performance and accountability,” she said. “We have a great privilege — and a great responsibility — to build the best university system possible for those who depend on us.”

By the numbers

Genshaft announced the USF System had the highest amount of research grants and contracts in school history, totaling more than $428 million over the last academic year.

“This is an absolutely phenomenal achievement, a nearly $15 million increase over the year before,” she said.

Another university record was set by the Unstoppable campaign, which raised $113 million since last year. Last year, the USF Foundation raised the campaign’s goal to $1 billion. According to the campaign’s website, more than $790.9 million has been raised so far.

USF Research and Innovation also set a record creating 113 new patents, 91 new licenses and 11 new startup companies.

Last year, USF ranked second in the State University System in performance-based funding and this year USF moved up nine spots on the U.S. News and World Report Best Colleges Rankings.

Moving Morsani?

The Morsani College of Medicine was a topic Genshaft brought up later in her speech, but one that seemed to grab the attention of the entire audience.

“We are currently exploring various options to determine the optimal location for our facility as USF Health continuously strives to strengthen its connections to the wider Tampa Bay community,” Genshaft said.

While Genshaft said USF Health needs to grow on campus, according to a recent article in the Tampa Tribune, USF is considering building a new building for the Morsani College of Medicine and is considering construction either downtown or on-campus, which some consider especially with new construction starting on the USF Health Heart Institute.

“I want to be absolutely clear: Whatever decision is made about the location of the future USF Health facilities, it does not mean that USF Health is leaving the Tampa campus,” Genshaft said.

She said USF remains committed to continuing close work with the Haley Veterans Hospital, the Moffitt Cancer Center, the Florida Hospital and Shriners Hospitals for Children “who all value our close proximity.”

“The Carol and Frank Morsani Center for Advanced Healthcare will absolutely continue to be a facility where thousands of patients receive the highest quality care each year,” she said. “…With more than 450 doctors in the USF Physicians Group and the continuing demand for high quality health care all across our community, there is room for us to grow without taking away from what currently exists.”

A new Andros

Genshaft also gave a timeline for the long-term project to renovate the Andros residential area on campus.

By 2017, she said “a new campus village” will be complete, replacing more than 1,000 beds that will be home to 2,000 students and retail outlets through a public-private partnership.

“This partnership is the first of its kind for our campus and, when it comes to fruition, will add to the quality of life on the Tampa campus as an exciting destination that gathers bright, energetic, creative and ambitious people to live, work and play in a center of learning and innovation,” she said.

Successful legislation

Also highlighted at the address was the recent legislative session that Genshaft called “easily one of our most successful legislative sessions in a decade.”

The top priorities for USF in the legislative session, which were all approved, included $15 million in funding for construction of the USF Health Heart Institute, $10 million for the USF St. Pete College of Business and $5 million in recurring funds for the establishment of the Florida Center for Cybersecurity at USF, which is housed on the top floor of the Interdisciplinary Sciences building.

Other priorities approved by the state was $1.4 million in recurring funds for the STEM programs at USF Sarasota-Manatee and in-state tuition rates for U.S. military veterans.

“Quite simply, the USF System is thriving like never before,” she said.

A complete transcript of Genshaft speech can be found at