The University of South Florida – Tampa is a relatively young college. It was founded in 1956 to add sufficient higher education opportunities in South Florida's rapidly expanding urban neighborhoods. After much local contention over the school’s location, it was finally decided that the university would be built on a sandy airfield north of Tampa (critics noted that it was just a mile from a local brewery and derided the Board for their decision to put a school in a “brewery’s backyard”). Nevertheless, the university broke ground in September 1957, and on September 26, 1960, nearly 2,000 students attended classes
for the first time in the fledgling university’s five brand-new buildings.
The area did indeed expand swiftly, and the university expanded along with it, opening up a campus in nearby St. Petersburg in 1965. By 1967, enrollment surpassed the 10,000 mark. Over the next decade, USF joined the NCAA, diversified its academic offerings by opening the College of Medicine, and integrated the New School in Sarasota into its system.
It wasn’t until the 1980s, however, that the university came of age, so to speak. By then, the university had awarded its 100,000th diploma, and enrollment was up to more than 30,000 students. The university established a graduate school, the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, and opened a campus in Lakeland.
Today, USF is the ninth-largest public university in the nation. It has been recognized as a major research university, as well as being ranked in the top tier of research universities by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Learning. It currently has almost 36,000 students enrolled in over 200 undergraduate and graduate programs.
USF’s Tampa campus is located on more than 1,700 acres in northeast Tampa. The campus comprises more than 160 buildings of health and medical learning facilities, residence halls, research facilities, and classrooms. Largely constructed during the architectural dark ages of the 1960s and 1970s, the campus buildings aren’t much to look at, though the campus itself is littered with palm trees. The sunny South Florida weather lends the campus a bright and cheery appearance.
One of the most popular and scenic gathering places on campus is the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza, which is the site of many campus events, including concerts, flea markets, job fairs, and multicultural festivals. It’s located in the geographic center of the campus, not far from the Marshall Center student union. The plaza features a trellised colonnade extending the length of the plaza and is flanked by palm trees on each side. There is also a fountain and reflecting and reflecting pool.
The Tampa Bay Area, where USF is located, is situated in southwest Florida, off the Gulf of Mexico. It is a city with 2.5 million residents, a booming job market, and pleasant, tropical weather. Tampa is also home to many beautiful beaches.
Florida is known for other attractions such as Busch Gardens, Adventure Island water park, the Lowry Park Zoo, the Florida Aquarium, and historic Ybor City. Disney World is only an hour away, in nearby Orlando.
Being a college city, Tampa offers a number of nightlife districts, including: Channelside, Ybor City, SoHO, International Plaza, Bay Street, and Downtown Tampa. One of the biggest annual events in Tampa is the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, the “Mardi Gras of Tampa,” which has been drawing crowds to the city every year since 1904. The event is invasion-themed and celebrates the legend of Spanish pirate captain Jose Gaspar, who operated in southwest Florida.
University of South Florida is located in the Hillsborough County, which includes Tampa, Plant City, and Temple Terrence. Tampa is one the fastest-growing cities in the United States, providing many USF graduates with job opportunities. Tampa is a college city with accessible entertainment, restaurants, and transportation.
Engineering EXPO – A part of the College of Engineering since 1974, the EXPO has become one of the largest events held on the USF Tampa campus. The event usually takes place in the third week of February, during National Engineers week, and features exhibitors from around the country and every facet of the profession.
Movies On the Lawn – A weekly event held in the fall and spring of each year, the Campus Activities Board has been showing movies in the back of the Special Events Center since 1990. Every Wednesday, more than 300 students show up to watch their favorite flicks and munch on some free popcorn.
“Go Bulls” Hand Symbol – Resembling the popular metal hand symbol “the devil’s horns,” the bull symbol is made by making your hand into a fist and then extending the pinky and index fingers upward to create the image of a bull. It started as a good luck symbol for free-throw shooters during basketball games but has quickly become the most popular expression of Bulls pride.
Robert B. Carter (1990) is the Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer for the FedEx Corporation.
Mark Consuelos (1994) is an actor on the soap opera "All My Children." He is married to former co-star and television host, Kelly Ripa.
Leo Gallagher (1969) is a comedian best known for his signature “Sledge-O-Matic” sketch in which he uses a large wooden mallet to smash objects, most notably watermelons.
The University of Florida sports teams are nicknamed The Bulls. Their colors are green and gold, and their school mascot is Rocky the Bull. USF has 18 athletic programs, all of which compete at the NCAA Division I-A level in the Big East Conference.
Though the school is typically not known for strong athletics, it has been slowly building a reputation for its relatively new programs (football, for example, started in only 1997). In the 2007-2008 academic year, the Bulls football team found itself in the unlikely position of being temporarily ranked number two. Though this ranking was short-lived (they promptly lost a game to the Rutgers Scarlet Knights), it invigorated USF sports fans and raised school pride to unprecedented levels. They finished the season at #21 but managed to score an invitation to the Brut Sun Bowl.
USF is one of only 38 institutions to host all three ROTC programs (Army, Navy, Air Force).
USF’s faculty and staff contributed nearly $3.1 million to the university’s annual giving campaign.
The 2007 USF Stampede of Service drew 1,300 volunteers to work on community service projects helping children, the elderly, homelessness, and environmental clean-ups.
USF offers three different types of residence halls: traditional-style, suite-style and apartment-style, as well as Greek housing in the newly-constructed Greek Village. The Greek Village consists of 14 fraternities and sororities and houses approximately 300 students.
Traditional Halls – Traditional-style residence halls offer single or double bedrooms with community bathrooms and kitchens on each floor. The traditional halls are: Beta Hall (240 students, home to the First Year Experience program) and Castor Hall (360 students, all female).
Suite-style Halls – Suites are the most common form of housing at USF. The Andros Complex is home to nine halls (Delta, Epsilon, Eta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, Mu, Theta and Zeta). The suites consist of either four double rooms or four single rooms connected by a semi-private bathroom. Cypress (300 students, one building houses the Honors Community) and Maple (230 students) Halls, the other two suite halls, feature suites with two double bedrooms and one bathroom.
Apartment-style Halls – There are four apartment complexes at USF. Cypress (300 students), Holly (728 students), and Magnolia (484 students) apartments contain four single bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, and living room. Kosove Apartments (254 students) feature single and double bedrooms in 2-5 person apartments.