The University of South Florida’s eighth president, Rhea Law, was inaugurated Thursday during a ceremony held at the Yuengling Center on the university’s Tampa campus.
In a speech to students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the Tampa Bay community, Law shared plans for taking the university to the next level, including three academic areas of strength to build on: health sciences, environmental and oceanographic sciences and global and national security. She also pledged to seek renewed commitments to community partnerships and get a new on-campus stadium built.
“USF is a place of progress,” Law says, “and I have no doubt that our next chapter will be our greatest one yet.”
According to a news release, Law is the first graduate of USF to serve as president and previously chaired the university’s board of trustees. She succeeds Steve Currall, who unexpectedly retired in July 2021; Law assumed the USF presidency on an interim basis in August that year and initially said she wasn’t interested in the job on a permanent basis, but then changed her mind.
Following a national search, Law and Jeffrey Talley, a former U.S. Army lieutenant general who transitioned to a career in management consulting after leaving the military, were named as finalists for the role, with Law ultimately winning unanimous support from USF’s board of trustees.
Law was officially confirmed as USF president by the Florida Board of Governors in March 2022; however, the release states, it’s typical for an inauguration ceremony to be held several months, sometimes close to a full year, after a new president assumes office.