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University of South Florida names four finalists for new president

Megan Holmes



Marshall Student Center fountain, Marshall Center fountain, bulls fountain

The University of South Florida is one step closer to naming its new president. Four finalists were announced Monday during a lightly-attended Search Committee Meeting held at Sam Gibbons Traditions Hall, on USF’s Tampa campus. It is the latest in the continued search for the next president of USF, the successor to Judy Genshaft, who is set to retire July 1.

The finalists includes Wanda Blanchett, Ph.D., Steven Currall, Ph.D., Debasish (Deba) Dutta, Ph.D., and Jeffrey Vitter, Ph.D. Each of the candidates hails from diverse educational backgrounds, from special education to psychology, to engineering and computer science.

The four candidates have already agreed to the final round of interviews, and will make their way to Tampa this week for in-person interviews. 

The schedule is as follows: Each candidate will have a 75-minute interview with the Presidential Search Committee on Wednesday. The interviews will take place on the Tampa campus and will be live streamed on all campuses, but not to the public. On Thursday, a marathon of tours and fireside chats is scheduled for each candidate at each campus. These casual chats will be open to students, staff and the public. The candidates will finish the week with interviews with the Board of Trustees on Friday.

The finalists:

Wanda Blanchett, Ph.D. is interim provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs (EVCAA) at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Blanchett holds a Ph.D. in Special Education from Pennsylvania State University, and an M.S.E, and B.S.E. in Special Education from the University of Central Arkansas. Her resume can be found here.

Steven Currall, Ph.D. is provost and vice president for academic affairs at Southern Methodist University. Currall holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from Cornell University, an M.Sc in Social Psychology from the London School of Economics and Political Science, and a B.A. in Psychology from Baylor University. His resume can be found here.

Debasish (Deba) Dutta, Ph.D. is Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Rutgers University–New Brunswick. Dutta previously served as chancellor from 2017-2018. Dutta holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Purdue University, an M.S., in Engineering Management from University of Evansville, and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Jadavpur University in India. His resume can be found here.


Jeffrey Vitter, Ph.D. is Distinguished Professor of Computer & Information Science at The University of Mississippi. From 2016-early 2019, Vitter served as Chancellor of Ole Miss. Vitter holds a M.B.A. from Duke University, a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University, and a B.S. in mathematics from the University of Notre Dame. His resume can be found here.

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