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University Beat

USF Posts New Record Research Funding Level

Mark Schreiner
WUSF 89.7 News
USF President Judy Genshaft announces a new record amount of research grants and contracts during her annual address Wednesday.

One of the trademarks of Judy Genshaft's tenure as President of the University of South Florida has been an effort at raising the school's national reputation when it comes to research.

The result of that work was on display Wednesday when she made her annual address to faculty, staff and students.

Genshaft announced USF received a record $458.5 million dollars in research grants and contracts during the 2015-16 academic year, up from $440 million in the previous academic year.

"When I started in 2000, we had about $175 million and sixteen years later, we're now at $450-plus million in our research profile," Genshaft said after her speech in the Marshall Student Center on the Tampa campus. "That puts us in the top 25 American public research universities (according to the National Science Foundation), so I say, 'move over Ohio State, move over University of Texas, we have a spot in that top 25 with you.'"

Genshaft expressed thanks, saying hard work by a huge number of people is paying off.

"I am so appreciative and proud of the track that we're on. It does take that dogged focus and it takes a lot of accomplishments and we have so many excellent, excellent people and we're recruiting more all the time," she said. "That makes a difference - it makes a difference in the quality of the students that want to come to USF, as well as the grants that we receive."

To illustrate the former point, Genshaft noted that the incoming freshman class is USF's academically strongest new group of students, with an average SAT score of 1226, an average ACT score of 28 and an average GPA of 4.08.

In addition, the Morsani College of Medicine added its strongest and largest class this year, with more than 6,000 students applying for 183 spots. The new med students had an average MCAT score of 34, the highest of all Florida universities.

The address also focused heavily on USF's ongoing efforts to be recognized by the state of Florida as a "preeminent" university - a status based on academic achievement, student success post-graduation and the school's financial performance.

Genshaft would like USF to achieve that status by 2018. Such a ranking would mean an additional $10 million in state funding, as well as increase USF's chances at becoming a member in the Association of American Universities.

“Our graduates’ degrees will be worth more. We will have more resources to support students, faculty and staff.  We’ll be able to enhance our campuses with the most state-of-the-art facilities.  We’ll continue to attract and retain the very best,” Genshaft explained.

Genshaft also pointed out that USF's "Unstoppable" long-term fundraising campaign has raised more than $939 million, putting it closer to its $1 billion goal.

“This is highly unusual for a public university founded only 60 years ago,” Genshaft said.

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