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Steven Currall to become USF’s seventh President

Currall will replace Judy Genshaft after she steps down July 1. 

After a week of meetings, the University of South Florida Board of Trustees has selected Steven Currall as the school’s next leader.

Currall will replace Judy Genshaft after she steps down July 1.

Currall is the provost and vice president for academic affairs at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He beat out three other finalists for USF’s top job including Wanda BlanchettDebasish Dutta and Jeffrey Vitter.

All four candidates had strong academic backgrounds with top leadership experience, traits the USF Board of Trustees prioritized in a new president after several public outreach meetings with students, faculty and members of the public made it clear that was a top desire.

During meetings this week at all three USF campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota, attendees, particularly those in St. Pete and Sarasota, focused mostly on a new leader’s ability to usher the school through a complicated consolidation and reaccreditation process.

The Florida Legislature last year passed a bill requiring the school to consolidate its three separate accreditations into one. Some students and faculty at the school’s regional campuses worried the move would come at their detriment. USF St. Pete, for example, fought hard to earn its own accreditation after feeling the small campus was being neglected by its Tampa parent.

Talks leading up to the consolidation process showed the Board of Trustees was committed to ensuring regional campuses maintained autonomy while also reaping the financial benefits that come with sharing accreditation with its deeper-pocketed Tampa campus.

The Board of Trustees decision comes after interviewing each candidate in separate public meetings Friday and several meet and greets in the community in which the board solicited input from attendees.

Genshaft announced she was retiring last September. She’s the school’s longest-serving president. She leaves the school after nearly 20 years at its helm.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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