Outgoing USF president leaves lasting legacy

After 18 years, USF's president has announced she will step down next year. Judy Genshaft made the announcement at a press conference Monday afternoon in front of students, faculty, and leaders in the community. 

Genshaft's tenure has seen marked gains in academics, athletics, and it's overall impact on the Tampa Bay community. USF's endowment has nearly doubled to $480 million, research money has tripled to $568 million, and enrollment is up 40 percent since she assumed her duties as president. 

"Ours is a university that believes in pushing our own boundaries," Genshaft said during a news conference.

With a base salary of $500,000, Genshaft was paid well for her tenure, but Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn says she has more than repaid the region. 

"It was a combination of a lot of things, but partially because of her relationship with the business community," said Buckhorn. 

Politics will play a large part for the next president. He or she will have to work with new trustees in addition to a new governor to secure funding for the university. 

"It takes political skill to be able to get the funding from Tallahassee," said Genshaft. "To be able to do these  things because you are competing with other institutions around the state for a very limited pot of money." 

The nationwide search for the next president will begin right away. A meeting of the USF Board of Trustees has already been called to start the process. They hope a job description and minimum qualifications will be available within a month. 

Genshaft plans to formally retire next July.