Bold Business Logo

University of South Florida (USF) Infographic

USF on the verge of preeminence Bold Infrographics.

The University of South Florida: On the Verge of Preeminence

The main campus is sprawling, with research facilities, an athletic arena, and even a botanical garden. The student body is diverse, with undergraduate and grad students coming from as far away as China to earn a degree. And now, thanks to a years-long drive to raise standards across the board, the University of South Florida (USF) will finally attain “preeminence”. That coveted status puts the educational institution among Florida’s best. It also means that the University of South Florida world ranking goes up, and it opens the door to more state funding.

Ultimately, though, the successful drive to preeminence speaks to the bold leadership of USF president Judy Genshaft. It also highlights the sustained effort of the entire university community to raise its standards. But most of all, it points to a future growing increasingly more bright for the school. USF was a good school before preeminence – now it’s getting even better.

USF is a top Florida school thanks to its preeminent status.
The University of South Florida has succeeded in raising the educational bar for itself, making it a top Florida institution.

The University of South Florida – By the Numbers

So much of the college experience comes down to intangibles. For instance, the way certain professors resonate with students or the raucousness of frat parties. But there are a vast amount of quantifiable statistics, and the University of South Florida’s numbers are impressive.

Founded in 1956, the university boasts over 50,000 enrolled students across three campuses. This includes the main campus in Tampa, as well as smaller campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota. Over 130-degree programs are available within 14 separate colleges.

As research institutions go, the University of South Florida is among the best.
The University of South Florida world ranking belies its strength as a research institution.

Out of 312 schools, US News and World Report ranks USF at #124. However, the University of South Florida world ranking doesn’t paint a complete picture. Where the university truly excels is as a research institution.

In fact, in 2017, the school placed fifth in the country and twelfth worldwide among public universities producing new US utility patents. Last year, 116 patents were created out of USF’s research facilities.

The primary fields of research at the university are science, engineering, marine science, the arts, and medicine. In fact, the university is a leader in the treatment of brain disease, infectious diseases, and photovoltaic technologies – a form of renewable energy.

Standing Out Among its Peers

In 2013, Florida lawmakers laid down a dozen metrics by which to gauge the Sunshine State’s institutions of higher education. Some of these metrics included faculty quality, student retention, and the number of undergraduate students completing their degree within four years. Only the University of Florida and Florida State University scored high enough to reach “preeminence” level. As a result, when it came time to dole out state funds, UF and FSU got the lion’s share.

One of the cornerstones of strong academics is student success, so USF focused on that.
One of the metrics for preeminent status was student retention, so USF focused on student success.

That didn’t sit well with University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft. She was determined to raise USF above its peers. And she succeeded. As an institution, USF is among the educational elite. Never mind the University of South Florida world ranking – in Florida, USF is one of the top three.

Over her 18 years of service, Genshaft managed to grow the university’s annual research expenditures from $145 million to $568 million, placing USF as the ninth largest public research university in the nation. Additionally, in 2017, Genshaft led the “Unstoppable” capital campaign, which raised more $1 billion, making USF one of three universities to ever reach this achievement.

At a conference this year, Genshaft announced that she will be stepping down from her position as president of the university, effective July 1, 2019. She will be remembered for her achievements that helped raise the bar at USF, making USF an institution to be reckoned with.

The University of South Florida's preeminent status reflects its academic excellence.
The University of South Florida’s strength has long been in its function as a research facility.

University of South Florida’s Preeminence – Now What?

As the University of South Florida becomes a preeminent university, a new door to growth has been opened. Primarily, USF will receive additional funding each year to aid in further developing their research programs. This increases their original funding from the Florida Legislature of $5 million to $10 million.

One place this funding will get to is USF’s Morsani College of Medicine, which is being built in downtown Tampa and part of the Waterstreet Development. In addition, the school aims to redesign its mentoring programs, support expansion, and reward faculty success. However, the most prominent use of the additional funding will most likely be for USF’s research facilities. Research is, after all, the institution’s bread and butter.

Judy Genshaft quote about University of South Florida's Preeminence
Tampa Bay deserves a strong research institution, and it has one in the University of South Florida.

Preeminence doesn’t just bode well for the University of South Florida world ranking. It’s also a sign of greater things to come. Currently, USF’s endowment tops $400 million. But additional state funding means an ability to bring in more superstar faculty, which means attracting more students. This, in turn, means raising academic standards even further… and so on, until that endowment climbs and climbs. Ultimately, it’s a cycle of growth.

And it all boils down to the University of South Florida preeminence status, and it’s a bold success at making itself better.

To learn more about University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft and her bold leadership, check out our Bold Leader Spotlight of the week.

Bold Leader Spotlight: Judy Genshaft, University of South Florida President

The length of tenure for university leadership in today’s college environment averages about six years. When Judy Genshaft, president of the University of South Florida, retires next year, she will have managed three times this figure. And for good reason. During her time at the helm, Genshaft has shown everyone how to be bold in leadership. From USF’s rise to preeminent status in the state to top national rankings in university education to a leader in patent development Genshaft has delivered. Her impact on USF and throughout the Tampa Bay area will be evident for decades to come.

For Judy Genshaft, bold leadership means turning USF into an esteemed educational institution.
University of South Florida (USF) president Judy Genshaft has helped turn USF into one of the top educational institutions in the state.

For her results-driven style, championing of change, and embracing of humility and diversity, Genshaft deserves this week’s Bold Leader Spotlight.

“I’m very focused and goal-oriented. And if I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it big time.” – Judy Genshaft


USF Infographic

Learning Early How to Be Bold Through Humility and Diversity

Genshaft came from very humble beginnings. She grew up in Canton, Ohio, with parents who immigrated from Russia, and life was a struggle. But Genshaft’s father taught her how to be a leader by starting his own meat processing business. He embraced his heritage as well as diversity. Often, her father would host business gatherings that would bring together grocery store executives, suppliers, and even employees. From a very young age, Judy Genshaft could see how diversity – and the humility it often requires – is sometimes required for bold leadership.

These leadership traits would serve Genshaft well. After completing her doctorate degree from Kent State University, she went on to become an assistant professor at Ohio State University. But after hitting advancement obstacles, she realized she would need a different approach to attain her career goals. So Genshaft then took a position as education dean at SUNY-Albany, where she later became provost. From there, she became president of USF in 2000.

In essence, Genshaft leveraged a humble spirit and a diversity of experiences to attain this leadership position. And USF has been better for it.

“I truly believe that as the president of a public university, it’s my responsibility, and actually I enjoy it, to work with the community on making sure we have as talented a workforce as possible and to grow our economy.” – Judy Genshaft

A Results-Focused Bold Leader Constantly Championing Change

Looking at Judy Genshaft’s time at USF, it’s easy to see bold leadership in her achievements. When she began as USF’s president, only 20% of students graduated within four years. Today, that figure is 60%. Over her tenure, USF has become only the third public university in the state to earn a title of preeminence. This status provides USF with $6.5 million annually in state funding. And USF has grown to become the ninth largest public research university in the nation.

In pursuing the results she wanted for USF, Genshaft took a foundational approach. She championed change at every level of the university, including its academic standards for admission and its financial aid policies. She hired professional academic advisers, and she hired exceptional talent to lead the change. Through her collaborative leadership style, Genshaft showed others how to be bold and evoke transformation. As a result, she has taught everyone to never be satisfied with the status quo. The pursuit of excellence is ingrained within the university culture.

Bold Leader Judy Genshaft has used bold leadership to make USF a pillar of the Tampa Bay community.
University of South Florida President Judy Genshaft has shown bold leadership both within the university and in the community.

Judy Genshaft Shows Bold Leadership Beyond the Educational Sector

Without question, Judy Genshaft has shown bold educational leadership. But her ability to be inclusive and make an even larger impact on society is also evident. She has been integral in building business partnerships in the Tampa community. Previously, she helped bring Bristol-Myers Squibb to the Tampa area. Likewise, she served as chair of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce and many other civic organizations and businesses. Throughout Tampa, Genshaft is recognized as a bold leader with a broad vision for positive change. And as Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn points out, “Any major pitch where I am, she’s there, too.”

Judy Genshaft's bold leadership at USF has earned her kudos from Tampa's mayor.
How integral is USF to Tampa? So big that even Tampa mayor Bob Buckhorn is keen on the University of South Florida president’s bold leadership.

Of course, one of her most impressive accomplishments has been a partnership with Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik. As part of the $3 billion Water Street development project, USF has been awarded property where a $156 million medical school will be constructed. The USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute will put USF even more in the heart of Tampa’s community (pun intended). And it will facilitate a richer community culture and broader economic development for the area in the process.

A Bold Leader Shows Confident Leadership

Being USF president has not been without challenges. In the aftermath of 9/11, Genshaft had to deal with a computer engineering professor charged with terrorist activities. In addition, she has repeatedly faced leadership issues at satellite campuses in St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee. But in each case, she has shown bold leadership by being confident and value-directed. At the end of the day, values drive bold leadership.

Thank to Judy Genshaft's bold leadership, USF is now one of Florida's top universities.
The University of South Florida president is credited with helping the university attain pre-eminent status, a highly sought-after distinction.

While Genshaft will be stepping down as President of USF next summer, her bold leadership will persist. Though she is planning to thoroughly enjoy her retirement with her family, she remains dedicated to the Tampa area. She will continue to serve on the Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corporation as vice chair.

Without question, her impact on USF and Tampa Bay will be felt for a long time to come.

How vArmour is Protecting Hybrid Cloud Environments for Businesses

Hybrid clouds are gaining momentum among organizations and enterprises, both large and small. Research company Gartner reports that 90 percent of companies will have moved to hybrid cloud infrastructure by 2020. Cloud computing services expenditure is expected to reach $68.4 billion in that same year. These projections make perfect sense. After all, the model combines the accessibility of a public cloud with the focused services and specialized security provisions of a private cloud. A hybrid cloud infrastructure can provide the adaptability that businesses need to compete. The big question is, how do you secure it? vArmour provides innovative answers.

Meeting the Security Requirements of a Hybrid Cloud

With more resources that need oversight, a hybrid cloud infrastructure presents more challenges when it comes to data network security. The protection requirements that an organization needs are variable. Bridging visibility, policy and compliance gaps across environments are vital.

Founded in 2011, vArmour delivers solutions that simplify security policies and strategies for Hybrid Cloud Applications. The firm provides consistent policy across public and private platforms for hybrid cloud enterprises. vArmour does this in three steps: analysis of applications and their communication behaviors at scale, policy computation and validation of security policies and their impact and protection through enforcement by leveraging cloud controls, mapped to compliance.

Tim Eades CEO vArmour quoted on hybrid cloud infrastructure
Tim Eades CEO vArmour discusses company approach

vArmour —Providing A Better Approach to Cybersecurity 

Most of the world’s data centers are built in such a way that if one part is compromised, the threat can spread to the rest of the system. Targeting anomalies like many data network security programs do might not be that effective. Instead of looking for threats, vArmour discovers and defines every application communication process and policy workflow needed to conduct business. Everything outside of those definitions or “guard rails” could be flagged as illegal. The centralized management structure from vArmour segments off data into individual workloads. Each one is completely protected from each other. Even if data is compromised, the activities of an attacker would be limited.

I had the opportunity to discuss hybrid cloud protection and other cybersecurity concerns in an interview with vArmour’s bold leaders. CEO Tim Eades and SVP and Chief Cybersecurity Strategist Mark Weatherford both shared their insights on the risks and impact of security for businesses with hybrid cloud infrastructure. They also got into detail about how vArmour helps protect enterprises from cyber threats.

John R. Miles: Bold Business has written a number of articles on the impact of cybersecurity and its risks to different industries. What do you think are the largest exposures facing companies today?

Tim Eades: My personal belief is that attacks have exploded because the attack surface has exploded. You have mobile, IOT, SaaS etc applications more distributed than ever before with more people accessing than ever before. The CIO and CISO are now having to play a more critical role than ever while driving a digital transformation and doing it securely. The regulations at the same time are getting tougher with consequences becoming more severe. This is great if you are a consumer since it drives accountability to the enterprise to lock down critical assets. Fines on the enterprise are the highest they ever have been.

Mark WeatherfordI would categorize it differently and change the word from exposure to risk. The landscape of adversaries is changing a lot, too. A few years ago you could bound the adversaries by category but today they are much more sophisticated. It is getting harder to tell difference between a nation-state and an individual with a laptop and wifi access. We used to be able to define fairly distinct swim lanes around a CISO’s responsibilities but it’s become much more complex.

 Mark Weatherford vArmour SVP discussing Data Network Security
Mark Weatherford discusses CISO role

There are now over 300 pieces of legislation on Capitol Hill that deal with the complexity of cybersecurity and privacy. The legislation is also a threat to private companies because of the unintended consequences. CISO’s today spend so much time dealing with regulations and regulators that it has become difficult to do their job.

John R. Miles: We recently published an article on unintended consequences of new technology. Have you seen real-world examples of this occurring?

Tim Eades: Absolutely. Developers and companies are moving very quickly to develop new capabilities as they thrive for this “digital business goal” but with agility comes risk. They often look at security as a tier 2 requirement and thereby miss the sight of the security aspect and how a potential bad actor might utilize their application in a way that was never intended which can create chaos for a company.

Mark Weatherford: Technology has become so ubiquitous that it literally touches all aspect of your an organizations architecture and connected devices with access to the business.

John R. Miles: I have been friends with Marc Benioff, co-founder of, for well over a decade. The formation of cloud computing is largely attributed to him and was introduced as a more secure way of doing business. Where do you specifically see the exposures in cloud computing, and what are the things businesses need to be concerned about?

Tim Eades: Marc is a great guy, and Parker his co-founder and I are very close friends. took off as the market went from application service providers to software-as-a-service. We’ve now seen the explosion of the public cloud with the rise of AWS, Google Cloud Platform, and Azure. When we meet clients today, all of them have applications in more than one cloud platform. This is in addition to their private cloud. You also have highly regulated industries that are moving to the public cloud for better ability and cost, but with the regulatory controls of a private environment. So, you have to balance moving fast against security and control. vArmour provides them with a common set of policies so that application can be locked down regardless of where they reside.

a photo of the process of vArmour in protecting Hybrid Cloud Environments for Businesses
vArmour helps protect enterprises from cyber threats.

John R. Miles: What is a hybrid cloud environment and why is it more difficult to protect?

Mark WeatherfordEssentially you have two types of clouds – public and private. Traditionally organizations have had their own data center where they build their own private cloud but public clouds from Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have become very popular because of their ease of entry, flexibility, and lower cost. A hybrid cloud is where you have a presence and workloads in both public and private clouds.

A lot of companies have applications or systems they do not feel comfortable moving to public clouds. So, they maintain that footprint in a private cloud.

Tim Eades: The trend started with all the things that need to move scale up and down fast went to public clouds but then it expanded to more mainstream applications. You do not have the agility in your legacy environments.

John R. Miles:  How does that relate to the genesis of vArmour and the problem the company is trying to solve?

Tim Eades: By providing customers with consistent security policy regardless of the underlying infrastructure, we secure the application wherever it resides, make it simple, make it scale and meet the ever-growing requirements but also those of the regulators. We provide the ability to automate much of this which makes it simpler for the security team.

vArmour CEO Tim Eades quoted in an interview with John R. Miles Bold Business
Why focus on good and not bad traffic patterns?

 John R. Miles: I am seeing a growing list of companies that do behavior-based pattern recognition in IOT environments? Do you see those products as viable and how does vArmour complement them?

Tim Eades: We are looking at application communications within the data center and cloud. vArmour highly leverages machine learning to understand the application traffic that is occurring around your critical assets such as a database. By doing that, and integrating with other sources of telemetry, we can say this is a database and this is what normal application behavior for it looks like.  Many IOT solutions don’t touch critical assets like databases, but where they do, we can integrate with them as an incremental source of telemetry. We partner with IOT companies and complement them.

John R. Miles: I saw you do DevSecOps? When you say this, what does it mean?

Mark Weatherford: As Tim mentioned earlier, DevOps is basically a process of agile code development that lets the developer get it out very quickly. It is the agile and quick iteration that makes it such a profound change. Secure coding has always been a problem but a few years ago we realized we could integrate security into the DevOps process. Netflix has been a leader in integrating security coders into the development process. DevSecOps is a process of putting security engineers and security testing directly into the software development process. As security issues are identified, they can be fixed in real time.

Tim Eades: The security operations center of the past were reactionary in purpose. Therefore, the only way they could operate was to leverage correlation techniques into an incident and event manager to look for patterns to make a decision. What we do is integrate security policy into the development process, therefore, weaving application security into application development processes.

John R. Miles: How is your broader solution different from other competitors?

Tim Eades: We find some competitors have a security solution on a single cloud or single infrastructure technology. But, if you are an enterprise today you have assets in a variety of clouds across a very diverse infrastructure and the challenge becomes how to get consistent application security policy across all of them. vArmour differentiates when you have (or want to have over the coming years), application assets in different public and private clouds.

a photo that shows how vArmour protects Hybrid Cloud Environments for Businesses
A hybrid cloud infrastructure can provide the adaptability that businesses need to compete.

John R. Miles: What is Layer 7 visibility and for our business readers, explain how this aids the performance of a business?

Tim Eades: Layer 7 is a technical term referring to an application. We focus our business on understanding and securing applications because we believe applications are the center of gravity for a business. Our application knowledge allows us to connect the security problem to the application owner whether it be billing, medical records etc.

John R. Miles: Can you provide some examples of real-customer impacts where your solution has had a positive impact in thwarting an attack and data network security?

Tim Eades: I was in a conversation with a CISO with a large bank recently where we protect their payment gateways. We were able to detect and prevent a significant attack. The customer was able to come to our office and share this with our engineers. These moments really provide a great compass for our employees to understand what we do and its importance.

Making Strides in Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure

Investments in vArmour prove that the company’s technology has great potential to disrupt the future of enterprise security. Its current roster of clients already includes the world’s largest banks, telecom service providers, government agencies, healthcare providers, and retailers. Last April, vArmour also announced record results for its fiscal 2018 year. The company quadrupled billings and tripled revenue. Tests have also proven that the system is effective in protecting the most important parts of any network or cloud. These accomplishments suggest that for years to come, vArmour will remain as one of the leading companies in the cybersecurity space.