University of South Florida System President Judy Genshaft highlighted nearly two decades of change at USF St. Petersburg, as she attended her final campus board meeting Thursday.
Genshaft is retiring, effective July 1, after leading the university for 19 years. By the time she steps down, she will have seen 210,00 students graduate from USF. The oldest student to graduate was 86 years old and pumped her fist when she walked across the stage, Genshaft said. The youngest student — not yet a graduate — is an 11-year-old from Tarpon Springs.
The St. Pete campus has come a long way, she said.
“When I started in 2000, there was no residence hall, no full degree, no parking garage, no bookstore, no fountain, no student services building,” she said. “It was modest. But it is such a beautiful, phenomenal campus now. It’s not just about the physical site, although that helps, but it’s about growing and maturing. I’m very proud of USF St. Petersburg.”
Genshaft will be succeeded by Steve Currall. “He is going to be great in leading us into this next era,” she said.
In a report to the campus board, she highlighted recent achievements including the first Phi Beta Kappa chapter at USF and the 2019 American Council on Education/Fidelity Award for Institutional Transformation, awarded in March. It’s a highly selective award.
“When I received that award on behalf of all of us, I said I feel like I’ve won an Academy Award, because it’s our own peers voting on us and it spreads the great news about student success at USF everywhere across America,” Genshaft said. “That’s what this is all about. Making sure that our students graduate on time and get great jobs.”