TAMPA, Fla. - Soon, Judy Genshaft will retire as president of the University of South Florida after years of redefining its status among colleges.
In her almost 20 years there, Genshaft has helped turn it from a commuter school into an institution that is in the league of the state’s best known universities. Her decision to leave was a tough one to make, she told FOX 13, but she wanted to leave when USF was “on top.”
“You know making that decision to step down from the president of the University of South Florida was very difficult emotionally,” she explained. “It's one when I wanted to leave on top, and things have happened at the university that are so phenomenal.”
She helped push USF ahead in virtually every area: faculty quality, research, endowment and graduation rates. Since 2000, Genshaft has conferred more than 200,000 degrees, and the total number of USF alumni has doubled.
“I think that we have been very successful in helping the university to grow to a preeminent status, which is unusual especially for a metropolitan university,” Genshaft said.
Moving the medical school to downtown Tampa to be near a teaching hospital was another project that came into fruition.
“We have the highest medical scores of students coming in of any institution in the state of Florida-- public or private. The MCAT scores are the highest at the University of South Florida,” she explained. “We have over six thousand applications for 170 slots. It's amazing.”
One accomplishment that can’t be measured – but can be seen – is the pride she has for the green and gold. She said she has loved being president, and it was difficult to say what she won’t miss. She enjoyed fundraising, and while dealing with politics may have been tough at times, it came with lessons.
“You have to learn about individuals and to see what they care about, and to make sure the items you are looking for are high in their priority,” she said.
As far as all of her green outfits, she said she will continue to wear them proudly.
“I could open up a shop,” Genshaft joked, “’Judy’s USF Consignment Shop.’”
Her last day is July 1. Genshaft said she plans to travel after leaving USF, but what comes next has yet to be decided.
“We’ll see what comes up next,” she said. “Stay tuned.”
There was one more thing she wanted to add: “Go Bulls.”