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Currall Approved As USF President; Lamb Named To Board Of Governors

Mar 28, 2019

Two announcements about University of South Florida leadership were made at the Florida Board of Governors meeting Thursday – one that was expected, and one that was a bit of a surprise.

Shortly after Steven Currall was officially named USF’s seventh president on a unanimous vote by the board, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced his intentions to name Brian Lamb, chair of the USF Board of Trustees, to the Board of Governors.

During a conversation with the Governors, the board that oversees all of Florida's public universities, Currall repeated many of the things he said during the interview process on the three USF campuses last week.

The current provost of Southern Methodist University talked about his history as a fundraiser, researcher and administrator at colleges across the country and in London. He said that experience will serve him well at USF.

"I believe that higher education institutions are actually pivotal for the economic growth and upward economic prosperity of our citizens in this state, and so higher education really has a very, very important role and I look forward to helping out on that," he said.

Currall was selected over three other finalists by the USF Board of Trustees March 22. He will succeed Judy Genshaft when she retires July first after 19 years leading the university.

Currall also told governors that under his leadership, USF will take on issues like health, poverty and cybersecurity, both through schools across the university, as well as in concert with other universities.

"The societal impact is very obvious and requires us to work across those interdisciplinary boundaries, so those are, not necessarily new lessons, but I certainly have learned those very well and will be a strong advocate of that strategy for the State University System,” said Currall.

Darlene Jordan served as the Board of Governors' liaison on the 15-member USF Presidential Search Committee.

She said that Currall is the “perfect person” to serve as president while the university completes the consolidation and re-accreditation of its three campuses under one umbrella.

“It’s almost like your background was designed for you to be president of this institution at this time,” she said, eliciting a response of “I hope so” from Currall.

The search that netted Currall was led in part by Lamb, whose appointment to the Board of Governors will need to be approved by the state Senate.

“He’s done a great job at USF and I am confident Florida’s university system will continue to excel through his leadership,” said DeSantis.

Lamb, who played basketball for USF from 1994-1998, received his bachelor’s degree in accounting and MBA from the university. He also graduated from Stonier Banking School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Lamb is the Head of Wealth and Asset Management at Fifth Third Bank.

USF spokesman Adam Freeman said that after Lamb's appointment to the board becomes official, "we expect he would step down from his role as a USF trustee. A new trustee would then be appointed later."

Earlier on Thursday, the Board of Governors Audit and Compliance Committee got an update about USF’s mistaken use of around $6 million in leftover Education and General funds for the construction of the Patel Center for Global Solutions.

The Committee was told that USF Chief Audit Executive Virginia Kalil has reviewed the use of funds and the university’s current compliance structure. Once her review is complete, she’ll update the USF Board of Trustees at an upcoming meeting and a similar report will be delivered to the Governors committee.

The problem was discovered last year after the Governors ordered all Florida universities to review their construction funding following a similar issue at the University of Central Florida that led to the resignation of multiple officials there, including the president.