USF names Rhea Law as university’s president-elect

Photo via University of South Florida

After a seven-month national search, the University of South Florida announced Rhea Law as its new president-elect. USF’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously this week to confirm her selection. Law, who earned her undergraduate degree in management from USF, has been serving as the interim president since August, and she will be the first USF alum to fill the role of president. Her selection is now pending formal confirmation by the Florida Board of Governors.

Under Law’s interim leadership, USF went through the most transformational legislative session in the school’s history, highlighted by record-setting investments in operations on all three campuses. She also led the effort to complete USF’s new five-year strategic plan, created a collaborative working group to develop a more transparent budget model and has fostered greater communication and collaboration across all USF campuses.


As an undergraduate, Law put herself through school while working as the university research project administrator for the Office of Sponsored Research. She then earned a law degree at Stetson University, where she later served as chair of their Board of Overseers, helping to select both a dean of the College of Law and president of the university.

Law went on to become the CEO and chair of the board at Fowler White Boggs, a Florida law firm, where she led their merger with a national firm in 2014. She is also one of the founding members of the USF Board of Trustees, where she spent five years as vice chair and four years as the first and only female chair.

USF alum ready to lead university into the future

In the university’s release announcing Law as the president-elect, she expressed her excitement to continue leading her alma mater during a period of significant growth for the system.

“Over the last seven months serving as interim president, I have been inspired and energized by the unwavering commitment of our University of South Florida community. Our faculty, staff, students and supporters have a passion for making a difference and changing the world, and it is this passion that will take USF to its greatest chapter yet,” Law said. “This is more than a job for me. It is a calling to give back to this community that has given so much to me. When we link arms and work together, anything is possible.”

Law was praised by the search for committee for her leadership as interim president and her ability to carry out the university’s vision for its future. As they rigorously gathered input and feedback from community engagement drives, the committee said more and more signs pointed to Law as the perfect choice. Her ability to lead paired with her extensive experience with the school and in the Tampa Bay Area made her an ideal candidate.

Law has long history as a leader at USF

Law is also a founding member of the Board of Directors of the USF Law Alumni Society, served as a member of the USF Research Foundation Board and was named a 2018 Distinguished Alumna by the USF Alumni Association. She chaired the Board of Directors for the Health Professions Conferencing Corporation with the USF Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS). In 2018, she was inducted as an honorary member of the USF Chapter of the National Academy of Inventors in recognition of her support of research and innovation at USF.

In 2013, Law was granted an Honorary Doctor of Medicine Degree from the USF Morsani College of Medicine. She formerly served on the Board of Directors for the Tampa Bay Technology Forum and the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute Board of Directors and currently serves on Moffitt’s National Advisory Board.

The Board of Governors is scheduled to conduct a public interview and hold a confirmation vote on Wednesday, March 30, after which Law is expected to be formally made the new USF president.

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