USF drops new academic logo after backlash

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The new look at USF is out. The bull that some said looked like the Merrill Lynch logo is being thrown out after just eight months. 

Hundreds of the logos on campus light poles and other areas will come down and be replaced with the athletic department’s "Bull U" logo at a cost of around $1 million, according to USF's VP of marketing and communications, Joe Hice. 

He says the new bull logo was an attempt to bring something new at a time when USF is raising its stature as an urban academic institution.

USF was so proud of its new logo, it's the first shot in the April promo video for the new health building. 

The 2,500-pound signs are near the top of the unfinished 13-story building, hailing the arrival of 2,000 students and staff to downtown Tampa. 

"Those will be swapped out," said Joe Hice, USF's director of marketing. "We will use the new iconic U as the academic sign on that building."

They made four of the 24'X12' signs at a cost of $100,000 each, plus $25,000 each to hang. Since only two have gone up, the bill for the signs, with the new logo that will soon be gone, is $450,000.

The university can't say how much new signs will cost for their $173 million building, of which $112 million is public money. If costs are similar, replacing these would cost hundreds of thousands more.

They have not laid out a plan yet for when the signs will be swapped, but it will not impact when the building is going to open. A date for that has yet to be announced, but it will be this year.

The new logo came under criticism, especially from alumni. 

"I probably would have spent more time understanding the depth of the passion our alumni have," offered Hice. "USF is a very young school and some of those alumni created the traditions of today."

A USF spokesman says Hice consulted with senior USF officials when the new logo was rolled out last September and when the decision was made recently to kill it. 

The change comes just after most students left campus for the summer and the retirement of longtime USF president Judy Genshaft.