Looking ahead to another year of continuing success

It’s tempting to gaze fondly back at 2012 and all we accomplished together.

A new University Student Center with nearly 200 additional residential students and our first full-service meal plans. Our first-ever student health clinic in our newly refurbished Student Life Center. A record freshman class. A new biology degree that drew 450 students. Growing recognition of our distinguished faculty and their ground-breaking research. The continuing success of our USF sailing program.

But that was then.

What about this year?

I think there are plenty of reasons to expect another year of continuing success.

Norine Noonan, vice chancellor for academic affairs, will be working with our colleagues in the College of Arts and Sciences to launch a new major in World Languages and Culture in the fall. Her team also is working on an exciting collaboration among USF St. Petersburg and four other state universities, under the auspices of the Florida Institute of Oceanography, for a summer course exploring marine life in four ecologically distinct areas of our state. In March, the USFSP Honors Program will co-sponsor the first “St. Petersburg in the World Conference” to discuss some of the pressing issues in international affairs.

With both residence halls filled to capacity, we will soon begin preliminary discussions to build a third residence hall. A third hall would accommodate demand from students and their parents and continue the transformation of our campus.

I look forward to the recommendations of a distinguished panel of community leaders, all experts in the fields, who are studying how we can efficiently use our space to enhance the quality of learning and collaboration. Meanwhile, we also are studying potential sites for a College of Business building. The College of Business is the top new-building priority for the entire USF System, and has the strong support of the St. Petersburg business community. I look forward to working with the Florida Legislature to secure funding.

Meanwhile, Norine Noonan will lead the search committee for a new vice chancellor for administrative and financial services, a key position in our leadership team.

I could go on, but you get the point: 2013 is shaping up to be another year to remember for USF St. Petersburg.