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University Beat

Currall To Step Down As USF President In August

Steven Currall
Daylina Miller
/
WUSF Public Media
Steven Currall is retiring as USF president effective August 2021.

Steven Currall said he is retiring as USF president to "preserve" his health and to spend more time with family.

University of South Florida Present Steven Currall will be stepping down effective Aug. 2, just over two years after taking over.

In a letter Monday to university faculty, staff and students, Currall said he is retiring to "preserve" his health following two "challenging and intense" years.

"On a personal level, the demands of the president’s role are immense," Currall, 62, wrote. "The intensity of the past two years has put a strain on my health and my family. Therefore, after thoughtful reflection, I have decided to retire from the USF presidency to ensure that I preserve my health, as well as to spend more time with my wife, Cheyenne, and my 91-year-old father."

READ MORE: Coverage of Steven Currall's tenure

In the letter, Currall said he informed USF Board of Trustees Chairman Will Weatherford of his decision.

Currall said after "some much-needed rest," he will continue in his role as faculty member in the Muma College of Business.

In a letter to USF staff, Weatherford wrote the university will name an interim president "in the coming weeks" and conduct a search for a permanent president.

Per standard university protocols, Weatherford wrote Provost Ralph Wilcox will serve as acting president.

"I would like to thank President Currall for his steadfast leadership and dedication through what has been one of the most challenging periods in our history," Weatherford wrote in a letter to USF staff. "Though we have only worked together for a short period of time, I have been impressed by his tireless work ethic and passion for the transformative role of higher education."

The last year has been "a challenging and intensive journey" largely due to the adjustments the university had to make during the coronavirus pandemic, Currall wrote.

Some of those adjustments involved budget cuts, and many of his recommendations were criticized, most notably one to phase out the undergraduate College of Education that was later reversed.

Currall also pointed to the university's consolidation of the accreditation of the three USF campuses — Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee.

PREVIOUS STORY: Meet Steven Currall, The New USF President

In addition, Currall pointed to several milestones, including the completion of the university's 10-year strategic plan, and efforts to promote equity, inclusivity and diversity within the campus community.

"I am confident that our achievements have put the university on an even stronger foundation to reach our aspirations of becoming a top-25 public university and becoming eligible for membership in the Association of American Universities," Currall wrote.

"I remain committed to advancing the mission of this wonderful university and to advancing overall prosperity and opportunity in the Tampa Bay region. I am sincerely grateful to each of you for your partnership during my presidency and our work to propel USF’s outstanding trajectory."

PREVIOUS STORY: Steven Currall Talks Leadership Style, Expectations As USF President

Currall replaced Judy Genshaft and became the university's seventh president on July 1, 2019. He came to USF from Southern Methodist University in Texas where he was Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs for three years.

Upon taking over as USF's president, Currall said in an interview that he saw this as a "great stewardship opportunity" and credited Genshaft for setting the table

"What I'm going to be able to accomplish in the next several years are very much a function of what President Genshaft has accomplished," Currall said. "And so it's a relay race. So I'm been handed the baton now. She ran very well, 19 years, I will now run for hopefully many, many more years here. And then someday, I will hand off the baton to someone else. And hopefully, they will benefit from the further work that we have done.

"So my job is to help envision the future of the university, help inspire people to be effective in their jobs, and to be a tireless advocate for the university. So I'll be working night and day for USF. And if I'm awake, I'll be working for USF."

WUSF's Stephanie Colombini and Mark Schreiner contributed to this report.

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