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What some students are looking for in the USF president-elect

Steve Currall will serve as USF’s seventh system president. ORACLE FILE PHOTO/LEDA ALVIM

President-elect Steven Currall certainly has big shoes to fill when it comes to replacing his predecessor, Judy Genshaft, following her 19-year tenure.

In fact, some members of the USF community are looking for specific attributes in the university’s next leader.

When the Board of Trustees (BOT) selected Currall to serve as USF’s seventh system president, he stated his excitement to be a part of the community and help take the university forward.

Now, with Currall set to officially start the position July 1, the hopes and expectations among students are high.

Chris Miklaszewski, a student majoring in biomedical science, said he hopes Currall will be engaged with students and the overall community throughout his time at USF.

“I want a leader who is willing to reach out to everyone, not just those who are at the top,” Miklaszewski said. “It is definitely a tall order to reach out to every student, but I still think that Steven Currall should aim to impact every Bull’s life positively.”

During his first few months as system president, Currall said in his BOT interview on March 22 that he plans to get out of his office frequently, engage with the community and learn more about the offices on campus.

Besides engaging with the community, the new president will also be expected to hear the student body’s concerns and ideas.

For Ruhan Gagnani, a junior majoring in cell and molecular biology, communication between Student Government (SG) and the new president is important in order to meet the students’ needs.

“Having our voices heard is not only about listening to certain opinions and then internally discussing whether or not the ideas are possible without letting the students know,” Gagnani said. “We want a leader who is there to listen and act on what students have to say or even let the students know what can and cannot be done and why.”

Besides focusing on community engagement, students highlighted the importance to grow the university in the next few years and maintain USF’s preeminent status.

According to Renata Gomes, senior majoring in global business, Currall should explore USF’s potential and set audacious goals for the future.

“I want a leader that makes decisions which will benefit students, faculty and staff,” Gomes said. “By attending events and meeting students, he will have the chance to learn about students' perspective on how to make USF better, which will allow us to continue soaring high.”

While Genshaft’s tenure comes to an end, a new chapter of USF will begin with the leadership of Currall. Among students' expectations, Miklaszewski said the biggest one is student engagement.

“Currall should engage with the student body by honestly having ears open and being willing to have conversations,” Miklaszewski said. “The students can’t necessarily see things from the university president’s point of view, so having those conversations could make things more understandable from both sides.”