Judy Genshaft

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Judy Genshaft
6th President of the
University of South Florida
In office
July 5, 2000 – June 30, 2019
Preceded byBetty Castor
Succeeded bySteven C. Currall
Personal details
Born (1948-01-07) January 7, 1948 (age 74)
Canton, Ohio
SpouseSteven Greenbaum
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin at Madison (BA)
Kent State University (MA, PhD)
ProfessionUniversity president

Judy Lynn Genshaft (/ˈɡɛnˌʃæft/; born January 7, 1948) was President of University of South Florida from 2000 to 2019.[1] She stepped down from the position in July 2019 after a 19-year tenure.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Genshaft was born and raised in Canton, Ohio, in 1948. Her father, a Russian immigrant, fled to the United States because of conscription. Her mother is a Canton native with family roots in Russia.[citation needed]

She graduated from University of Wisconsin at Madison with a Bachelor of Arts in social work and psychology in 1969.[3][4] She completed her master's degree in 1973[5] and doctorate in 1975 at Kent State University in school counseling and counseling psychology, respectively.[6][3]


Genshaft joined the faculty of Ohio State University in 1976 as an assistant professor in school psychology.[3] She was the chair of the Department of Educational Services and Research at Ohio State from 1987 to 1992, rising to the role of chair of OSU's senate from 1990 to 1991.[3]

In 1992, Genshaft became dean of the school of Education at the University at Albany.[3] After a national search and recommended by the search committee, Hitchcock promoted her to Vice President of Academic Affairs.[7] She became the provost at the university at Albany in 1997.[3]

President at University of South Florida[edit]

Genshaft began her tenure as president of USF in July 2000.[8]

From 2000 to 2007, USF grew federally-funded research 213 percent, reported to be the fastest rate of any university in the country.[8] She named NFL Hall of Famer Lee Roy Selmon as USF's director of athletics in May 2001.[9]

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, USF professor Sami Al-Arian was interviewed by Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly regarding his connections to Ramadan Shalah, leader of the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine.[10][11] The interview led to bomb threats and the resulting evacuation of a campus building, and in October 2001, Genshaft placed Al-Arian on paid administrative leave and prohibited him from entering USF property, saying she believed his presence would compromise campus security.[12][13] On Dec. 19, 2001, the USF Board of Trustees voted 12 to 1 in favor of a resolution that President Genshaft act should dismiss Al-Arian "as quickly as university processes will allow." The next day, the university's provost sent Al-Arian an intent to terminate for cause letter. Both the Faculty Senate and the United Faculty of Florida condemned the proposed termination on grounds of academic freedom.[11] The UFF also said campus security concerns were exaggerated.[14] After his response to the termination letter, Genshaft decided to leave Al-Arian on paid leave while investigations continued.[11]

The FBI arrested Al-Arian on February 26, 2003. The government alleged Al-Arian was the North American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and had raised funds and organized activities to support the murder of more than 100 people. He was charged with racketeering and conspiracy to commit murder.[15] Six days later, Genshaft fired Al-Arian. Al-Arian eventually pled down to providing support to members of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and was sentenced to 57 months in prison.[16]

In 2002, Genshaft created a new honors college for USF, which had previously only had an honors program.[17]

Genshaft fired medical school dean Robert Daugherty in October 2003 after he allegedly violated university rules when he requested that his staff contribute to the campaign of state House Speaker Johnnie Byrd.[9]

She received $879,506 in compensation for the 2015–2016 academic year, ranking her as the 11th highest paid university president in the United States.[18] After 2015, her contract was renewed year-to-year rather than spanning five years.[19] In March 2017, USF's Board of Trustees voted to provide her with a total compensation package $924,547, including a base salary of $505,837 with 37% of the total package tied to performance.[20] Under Florida law, state funding for the president's salary is capped at $200,000. USF uses private funding to make up the difference.[21]

In 2017, adjunct faculty at USF protested Genshaft and the university for opposing efforts to unionize adjunct faculty.[22] The protesting adjunct professors were supported by Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp.[22]

By 2018, USF had met 11 of the 12 metrics for the "full preeminence standard" set by the Florida Board of Governors.[23] Four-year graduation rates at USF improved from 20% in the early 2000s to 60% in 2018.[24] Also in 2018, Genshaft wrapped up the university's fundraising campaign after reaching $1 billion in commitments.[25]

Community involvement and retirement[edit]

During her tenure, she served as chairperson of the Tampa Bay Partnership and the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce.[26][27] She also served as a director of American Momentum Bank[28] and as chairperson of the Division I NCAA Board of Directors and of the American Council on Education Board.[9]

Genshaft retired as president of USF in July 2019.[29] After retiring as president, she was named president emerita.[30]


Genshaft received leadership awards from Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand.[citation needed] She has received an honorary degree from Yeungnam University and Saint Ignatius of Loyola University.[31][32] In 2012, the USF marching band dedicated its first half time show of the 2012–13 season to her.[33]

Personal life[edit]

Genshaft married Steven Greenbaum in 1989 and has two sons.[4] Genshaft's brother is Neil Genshaft, chief executive officer of Fresh Mark.[34][7][35] Genshaft decided not to live in the on-campus residence, the 9,000-square-foot Lifsey House, and lives in the Tampa Palms neighborhood near campus.[7]

In June 2019, Genshaft and her husband donated $20 million to USF for the construction of a new honors college. She also donated $3 million to endow a deanship for the honors college.[36]


  1. ^ "Buzz Worthy Items of Note". Tampa Bay Magazine. 23 (1): 75. January–February 2008. ISSN 1070-3845.
  2. ^ "After 18 years, USF president Judy Genshaft announcing plans to retire as USF president". 9 September 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Hegarty, Stephen (11 March 2000). "Genshaft's Varied Career Helps Make the Grade". St. Petersburg Times.
  4. ^ a b "Dr. Judy L. Genshaft". Albany.edu. 1997-05-01. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  5. ^ "Alumni | Kent State University". Kent.edu. Archived from the original on 2017-03-19. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  6. ^ "Judy Genshaft bio". Bcsfootball.org. 2011-12-09. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  7. ^ a b c "Judy Genshaft at USF: 5 more years to finish the job?". TBO.com. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  8. ^ a b "Timeline: The Judy Genshaft era at USF". Tampa Bay Times. 2018-09-10. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  9. ^ a b c "USF transformed during Judy Genshaft's 10 years as president". Tampabay.com. 2010-07-04. Archived from the original on 2017-02-12. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  10. ^ "Transcript: O'Reilly Interviews Al-Arian in September 2001". Fox News. February 20, 2003. Retrieved March 14, 2017.
  11. ^ a b c "Academic Freedom and Tenure: University of South Florida". Academe: 59–73. June 2003.
  12. ^ "Threats continue after professor leaves". St. Petersburg Times. October 14, 2001.
  13. ^ Klein, Barry (December 19, 2001). "USF trustees to hear report on Al-Arian". St. Petersburg Times. Retrieved October 29, 2012.
  14. ^ Persaud, Babita (January 11, 2002). "USF faculty union supports Al-Arian". St. Petersburg Times.
  15. ^ "FBI charges Florida professor with terrorist activities". CNN. 20 February 2003. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  16. ^ "More prison time for ex-professor in terror case". NBC News. Associated Press. 1 May 2006. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  17. ^ "Judy Genshaft gives $20 million to USF to build a new honors college". Tampa Bay Times. 2019-05-22. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  18. ^ "USF president Genshaft near top of highest-paid college execs lists". Bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  19. ^ "USF president Genshaft could earn $768,500 after trustees approve pay raise". TBO.com. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  20. ^ "BOT approves Genshaft for salary increase | The Oracle". Usforacle.com. 2017-03-09. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  21. ^ "USF President Judy Genshaft awarded new contract, raise of up to 8 percent". Tampabay.com. 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  22. ^ a b "Adjunct faculty members rally to rebuke Genshaft, call for vote on proposed union". The Crow's Nest. Retrieved 2017-12-29.
  23. ^ Schreiner, Mark. "Breaking Down What USF's Preeminence Means". wusfnews.wusf.usf.edu. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  24. ^ Shreiner, Mark (11 September 2018). "USF President Genshaft Announces Retirement". WUSF Public Media. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  25. ^ Martin, John (10 September 2018). "Timeline: The Judy Genshaft era at USF". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  26. ^ "History". Tampa Bay Partnership.
  27. ^ Martinez, Amy (26 October 2018). "Bullish: Profile of USF President Judy Genshaft". Florida Trend. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  28. ^ Manning, Margie (2 December 2013). "American Momentum plans HQ move from Tampa to Texas". Tampa Bay Business Journal. Retrieved 1 September 2020.
  29. ^ Kelderman, Eric (2018-09-12). "U. of South Florida's President Reflects on Long Tenure and Why She's Stepping Down Now". The Chronicle of Higher Education. ISSN 0009-5982. Retrieved 2019-06-25.
  30. ^ Ericskon, Chris (9 September 2019). "Learn more about Judy Genshaft, the 2019 BusinessWoman of the Year lifetime achievement award winner". Tampa Bay Business Journal. Retrieved 20 September 2019.
  31. ^ "2016 Malone Award Recipient Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida" (PDF). Aplu.org. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  32. ^ "USIL grants honorary doctorate to Dr. Judy Genshaft, president of the University of South Florida (USA)". cge.usil.edu.pe. Retrieved 2017-04-08.
  33. ^ "we love judy halftime show". September 1, 2012.
  34. ^ Ferrise, Adam (21 June 2018). "Fresh Mark, where ICE arrested 146 people, has trail of undocumented workers, including one who died last year". Cleveland.com.
  35. ^ Matthew Rink. "Fresh Mark makes strides in meat industry". Indeonline.com. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  36. ^ "Judy Genshaft announces additional $3 million gift to USF". Tampa Bay Times. 2019-06-02. Retrieved 2019-06-26.