Judy Genshaft donates $20 million to build honors college on campus

The $47 million building will be located north of the Muma College of Business near Maple Drive. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE/USF.EDU

When President Judy Genshaft took office 19 years ago, she said the university and community welcomed her with “open arms.”

Now, after almost two decades serving in the role and less than two months away from ending her tenure, her lasting legacy will be cemented with a building that will bear her name.

It was announced Wednesday morning that Genshaft and her husband, Steven Greenbaum, donated $20 million to the USF Foundation to build the Judy Genshaft Honors College.

The announcement took place at the prospective building’s site — north of the Muma College of Business near Maple Drive — where Board of Trustees Chairman Jordan Zimmerman and Honors College Dean Charles Adams delivered the news to the crowd of roughly 300 people.

Members of the Florida Board of Governors, chancellor of the State University System of Florida Marshall Criser III and former USF President Betty Castor were among the guests in attendance.

The 80,000-square-foot building will be five stories and cost approximately $47 million.  

There are no dates yet regarding the construction timeline or when it will be open for students and faculty.

Zimmerman highlighted Genshaft’s latest contribution to the university as she prepares to leave office effective July 1.

“You’re supposed to go into retirement quietly,” Zimmerman joked. “She is lifting the trajectory path of this great university as she goes to retirement.”

According to Adams, the architects leading the project are New York-based Morphosis Architects and Tampa-based Fleishman/Garcia Architecture.

Both companies have experience in working with college campuses across the country. Fleischman/Garcia designed the 73,000-square-foot Stetson University College of Law campus in Tampa, and Morphosis designed the 120,000-square-foot Emerson College campus in Los Angeles.

Zimmerman said the donation’s impact will create programs and scholarships on every USF campus. In five years time, the Honors College is expecting 3,000 students to be enrolled.  

“Judy has accomplished so much and continues to accomplish more and more each and every day,” Zimmerman said. “Today, your leadership and philanthropy takes the center stage and with this donation, they will provide a lasting legacy for others to emulate.”

The building will feature intramural spaces for classrooms, study areas, faculty and advisers offices, a coffee shop and more for all USF honor students.

Adams said that the new facility would be impossible without the support of Genshaft and Greenbaum.

“This new building will stand as a symbol of USF’s commitment to excellence of education and the university’s faith in our students as thought leaders of the 21st century,” Adams said. “This is just the most recent of their many positive contributions to the Honors College. Thanks to their unbelievable generosity, many more students' lives will be changed for the better.”

As a thank you, Genshaft highlighted the importance of USF for her family throughout the years.

“About 19 years ago, this university and community welcomed us with open arms,” Genshaft said. “The support that we felt on the first day has never wavered and it’s our good fortune to give back to the university that has meant so much to us.”