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Local leaders praise USF regional chancellor Martin Tadlock, who will step down in December

Jaymi Butler

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Martin Tadlock
Martin Tadlock, regional chancellor of USF's St. Petersburg campus, has worked tirelessly to connect the campus with the St. Pete community as a whole.

Dr. Martin Tadlock, who has served as regional chancellor at the University of South Florida’s St. Petersburg campus since 2018, will step down from his role Dec. 31, 2021 to focus on teaching and research as a tenured professor in the College of Education.

“It has been an honor to lead USF’s St. Petersburg campus as regional chancellor, but the time is right for a change,” Tadlock said in a statement released Monday evening. “I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to President Steven Currall for his generous support for my decision. He graciously offered to extend my contract further but I thought it was a good time for this move.”

Local leaders praised Tadlock’s leadership and commitment to not only the university but the surrounding community, even during challenging times. 

“Leading an organization like USF St. Petersburg is no easy task,” Mayor Rick Kriseman told the Catalyst. “It has been made even more difficult given the pandemic, the continuing debate around how consolidation occurs and the future growth of the university in St. Pete. Dr. Martin Tadlock has led it with honor and grace and an unwavering dedication to the students of his university. My sincere thanks to Dr. Tadlock for his leadership and for being such a good partner with me and the City of St. Petersburg.”

Alison Barlow, executive director of the St. Pete Innovation District, worked closely with Tadlock for a number of years and called him a steadfast leader in the midst of a constantly changing environment. 

“He has provided thoughtful guidance to the university and the Innovation District,” Barlow said. “He has encouraged all of us to seek creative opportunities, such as the Innovation Scholars program, which have improved the lives of students and strengthened the bond between the University and St Petersburg.”

Tadlock will step down from the board of the Innovation District when he transitions to his faculty role, and until then, Barlow said she looks forward to working alongside him. 

“I know that when the time comes for him to leave, he will be missed,” she said. “The Innovation District has grown under his leadership and our focus on STEAM education for youth as they move into the workforce is one example of where his impact will live on.”

Barlow’s sentiments were echoed by Jason Mathis, CEO of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership, who expressed gratitude for Tadlock’s efforts to make connections between the university and the city.

“Since his arrival in St. Petersburg, Dr. Tadlock has been an active and committed member of the larger business community,” Mathis said. “He is a builder. He cares for this special place and understands the synergies that come from a close-knit, collaborative relationship between town and gown.”

However, Mathis said, Tadlock’s primary focus has always been the students on his campus, something Currall also pointed to as a measure of his effectiveness as a leader. 

“As regional chancellor, Dr. Tadlock led a comprehensive approach to increasing student success, including programs to increase retention rates. He also collaborated closely with colleagues across the university to enhance the campus experience for students. The project to build and open the beautiful new Osprey Suites residence hall is a shining example,” Currall said.  “I thank Dr. Tadlock for his contributions, and I am grateful for his commitment to helping to ensure continuity and a smooth transition in leadership for the USF St. Petersburg campus and community over the next few months.”

A search for Tadlock’s successor will begin later this spring. Among other things, the next chancellor will be tasked with the implementation of five new proposed academic clusters, an initiative aimed at upping enrollment and turning the waterfront campus into an international destination for student and faculty talent. 

My hope is that the next regional chancellor will use the proposed academic clusters to further distinguish this city and the university and that we continue to focus on finding innovative solutions to solve worldwide problems,” Barlow said.

With nearly an entire year ahead of him, Tadlock, who says he’s looking forward to a more flexible schedule that will allow him to spend more time with his family, is excited to see what’s next for the university.

“The outlook is bright on our campus,” he said. “I feel fortunate to work with so many incredible colleagues to create a better future for our students.”

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