When the university first opened, there were four colleges: Basic Studies, Liberal Arts, Business, and Education. Under USF’s second president, Cecil Mackey, Basic Studies was closed and Liberal Arts was broken up into four new colleges: Fine Arts, Language and Literature, Natural Sciences, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. This area of our university has evolved dramatically since the beginning. In 1970, the College of Liberal Arts had four divisions: Fine Arts, Language-Literature, Natural Science and Mathematics, and Social Science and it absorbed the College of Basic Studies. What is known today as the College of Arts and Sciences was created in 1991 when the College of Arts and Letters, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Natural Sciences were all merged into one college. This college offers the largest variety of majors of any college at USF. Students can earn degrees in anything from Mathematics to Africana Studies.
In 1960, the College of Business was created, although it was not accredited by the American Association of College Schools of Business until 1969. This was a great achievement in itself as USF was one of the youngest recipients of that distinction. However, USF advanced in the field quickly and by 1964 USF offered a Master’s in Business Administration. There were always plans for the College of Business to have their own building but the one students sit in today was completed in 1979. The buildings used for this college prior to BSN are now the Architecture building and the University Lecture Hall. What many students do not know is that in 1970 the building was renamed Chester Howell Ferguson Hall after a founding member of the Florida Board of Regents, who funded many scholarships for students. The number of Business students grew quickly, and today the College of Business is USF’s second largest college. Nearly 45,000 square feet were added to Ferguson Hall in 2005 to accommodate this college’s swift growth.
Through the College of Business, students can specialize in accounting, economics, finance, information systems, and marketing and can even go all the way to achieve a doctoral degree in Business Administration. This college’s administrators and professors have recognized the advantages of our University’s placement in a metropolitan area and have built relationships with local businesses that offer unique opportunities for their students.
Even though students have been studying education since the university opened, USF’s Education Program was approved by the Board of Education in 1963. The College of Education has always been one of the most popular colleges on campus. In fact, the first student admitted to USF, Barbara Campbell, was an elementary education major. This college has always offered a number of undergraduate specializations and offered numerous master’s programs as early as 1965. When their building opened on campus in 1968, it was the only College of Education building in the nation. Today, students are enrolled in interdisciplinary programs housed in a variety of programs such as Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Childhood Education and Literacy Studies, and even Special Education.
Education students have given back to the community in a variety of ways including running the child care center on campus and organizing philanthropic events such as “Strawberries for Scholarships” which raised money for USF’s Migrant Education Program.
The College of Engineering began offering classes in 1964. Although this college started off small, once it started growing it quickly caught up with the other colleges on campus. Initially, students could earn degrees in programs that are unrecognizable today, such as Structures, Materials, and Fluids and Energy Conservation with the intention of differentiating our Engineering department from the University of Florida. In 1982, USF began to offer degrees in Chemical, Civil, Computer, Industrial, and Mechanical engineering.
In the '70s, faculty and students not only created a 6-foot tall walking robot but they also constructed an electric car which was rare at the time. In 1973, USF began hosting the Engineering Expo annually and in 1982 it became the largest engineering expo in the Southeast with 25,000 people in attendance. This event really gets the community involved and allows USF students as well as middle and high school students to show off what they have been working on.
The Center for Engineering Development and Research was created in 1983 and provided students with the opportunity to get involved with a variety of research projects that they were unable to be a part of before. Students and faculty to this day are constantly creating innovative designs that have the potential to change the world. Dr. Robin Murphy and a group of her students were the only team from an academic institution that aided in the search and rescue efforts in New York City after the September 11th attack in 2001.