Park on Collins renamed for USF “founding father” John F. Germany

The Park on Collins has been renamed for USF "founding father" John F. Germany. ORACLE PHOTO/ADAM MATHIEU

On Thursday, USF renamed the park located on the south side of the USF Library to the John F. Germany Legacy Park to honor USF founding father. 

Germany, who was diagnosed with cancer, passed away at the age of 92 on Wednesday.

Germany became the first president of the Friends of the Library of Tampa-Hillsborough County, Inc. while serving as a chief circuit judge, and he worked with other members of the Tampa community to develop a new library in downtown Tampa. Thus, the park behind the library was perfect to dedicate.

According to a recent Tampa Tribune article, the 100,000-square-foot library was opened to the public in 1968, and Hillsborough County and the city of Tampa renamed it the John F. Germany Library in 1999. 

USF alumnus and library system director Andrew Breidenbaugh said Germany could be seen frequenting Tampa libraries even during his last weeks.

According to a university press release, the John F. Germany Legacy Park is also located in an area Germany and Congressman Sam Gibbons, another of USF’s founding fathers, toured prior to the university’s creation. 

According to the Tribune, Germany was able to persuade former Gov. Leroy Collins, the third of USF’s founding fathers, of the need for a commuter school in Tampa Bay, despite pressure from two of Florida’s three state universities at the time, UF and FSU, for Collins to block the proposal.

Germany received USF President Judy Genshaft’s Fellow Medallion in 2012 for his role in the establishment of the university.

With the renamed John F. Germany Legacy Park, all three USF founding fathers now have on-campus locations named after them, with Leroy Collins Boulevard as USF’s front entrance and USF’s Alumni Center named for Gibbons and his wife.

A formal renaming ceremony with Germany’s family is planned later this fall.