University of South Florida

Tour curated by: The Tampa Historical Team

Since its founding in 1956, the University of South Florida has grown into a major regional center of education and research. Intellectually, culturally, and economically, the university is a vital part of the Tampa community. Stories in this tour highlight sites that should be of interest to visitors within and beyond USF.

This tour was created by students enrolled in Dr. K. Stephen Prince's fall 2016 course "The South Since 1865," taught in the history department at the University of South Florida.

Locations for Tour

The beginning of the University of South Florida (USF) can be traced to a single conversation at a legislative session for the State Board of Control. The subject of higher education came into conversation at this meeting. It was recognized that the…

Although dorms at college campuses have earned a reputation of being dens of sin revolving around drugs, sex, and unruly students enjoying their first taste of freedom, much more goes on behind the doors of residence halls on the USF campus. Those…

Ernest Boger was admitted to USF in 1961, becoming the school’s first African-American student. Boger was valedictorian of Blake High School in Tampa and had received a near perfect score of 492/495 on his college entrance exam. During his years…

Crescent Hill was once a pristine and glorious green space dedicated to the students of USF and their ideals. It was the site of activities ranging from publicity stunts – bringing live bulls onto campus – to major Vietnam War protests. Today,…

The MLK Plaza, located at the center of USF’s campus, is one of the most familiar features on the grounds. As the first monument erected in Dr. King’s honor at a public Florida university, it promotes the activist spirit by providing a place…

As any student of the University of South Florida will tell you, sports are a big deal. The largest sports today are likely baseball, basketball, and football. However, USF's first game was a September 1965 soccer match against Florida Southern.…

The CWY building was named to commemorate the longstanding Florida Congressman, C.W. Bill Young. Young is renowned for his support of the military, serving on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. The technologically advanced educational…

In 1980, Florida had the highest rate of cancer in the nation. Despite this, there were no cancer hospitals easily accessible to residents of the Southeast United States. H. Lee Moffitt, a graduate of the University of South Florida and member of the…

November 25th, 1968. The Federal Bureau of Investigation receives a teletype message labeled URGENT from Agent O’Flaherty in Tampa, Florida. The message informs of an upcoming demonstration being planned by an organization known as “Bay Area…