Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF Poly pays $10,000 for ‘Star Wars,' Captain Kirk and E.T. replicas

Marshall Goodman, regional vice chancellor of USF Polytechnic, had a statue of an Imperial Stormtrooper from Star Wars stored in his office.


Marshall Goodman, regional vice chancellor of USF Polytechnic, had a statue of an Imperial Stormtrooper from Star Wars stored in his office.

LAKELAND — Darth Vader has come to the University of South Florida Polytechnic.

For $10,000, the school that is making a bid to become an independent university bought a life-sized statue of Star Wars' dark lord, along with an Imperial Stormtrooper, E.T., and the chair of Star Trek's Capt. James T. Kirk.

The news comes at a time when two state senators want USF Poly's expenditures scrutinized. Sens. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland, and Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, a week ago asked regional chancellor Marshall Goodman for an immediate audit in the wake of accusations that he's been mismanaging his campus' money.

Dockery called the science-fiction statue collection "another example of questionable expenditures at a time when we're trying to stretch education dollars across all the various needs that we have."

Comparing itself to Google, USF Poly said it needed the sci-fi collection to "encourage inspiration beyond conventional thought" in its business incubators. They supplement an environment of bright paint colors, modern furniture, bean bags on the floor and inspirational sayings on the walls, according to a memo justifying the purchase.

The 7-foot-tall Darth Vader comes with a cape and light saber. The E.T. statue, made of "composition over foam," has replicas of Reese's Pieces at his feet.

The stormtrooper, which for a while was stored in Goodman's office, is missing his right hand, but "will require a simple repair," records state. The wooden Star Trek captain's chair is painted with Captain Kirk's likeness; if you wanted, you could sit down in his lap.

The collection was paid for this summer with money donated to the branch campus, and USF Poly says its value far exceeds that cost. The school knows because it paid almost $1,000 alone to appraise it, and according to that evaluation, USF Poly got a deal. The collection is worth $21,400, the appraiser's invoice shows.

But what does Star Wars have to do with USF Poly? A spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.

According to the memo, the funds primarily came from the Central Florida Development Council. That entity has voiced support for USF Poly's quest to split off and become the state's 12th university — a decision in the hands of the Florida Board of Governors, which meets Wednesday.

They stand with others, including state Senate budget chairman J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, who say USF Poly cannot thrive under USF's reign.

On the other side are USF students, faculty, hundreds of Polk County residents and several state legislators who say the school is stronger with the system.

Dockery said Goodman still hasn't responded to the audit inquiry sent about a week ago. He hasn't even confirmed that he received it.

But somehow, about 10 minutes after Dockery e-mailed the request to Goodman, Alexander heard about it and sent someone to Dockery's office for a copy.

Kim Wilmath can be reached at (813) 226-3337 or [email protected]

USF Poly pays $10,000 for ‘Star Wars,' Captain Kirk and E.T. replicas 11/07/11 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 10:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Donald Trump calls for NFL to set a rule forbidding players from kneeling during national anthem


    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is up and tweeting, and his target is the NFL.

    The Dallas Cowboys, led by owner Jerry Jones, center, take a knee prior to the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Monday in Glendale, Ariz. [AP photo]
  2. Tampa International named among least expensive airports


    TAMPA — Florida airports apparently have a knack for getting it done cheaply.

    According to RewardExpert, Tampa International Airport is the fifth least expensive domestic airport. 
[CHARLIE KAIJO   |   Times
 file photo]

  3. What Hurricane Maria taught me about the people of Puerto Rico


    SAN JUAN — After Hurricane Maria took their roof, water and electricity — but spared their chickens — Ana De Jesús and Santiago Quiñones packed a few basics and moved across the street into their windowless beachside kiosk.

    Ismael Freytes, 69, removes muddy debris as he tries to clean out his house in Arecibo, where the local river poured into the streets after Hurricane Maria. [CARL JUSTE?| Miami Herald]
  4. Anna Maria City Pier to close for year after 'extensive damage' from Hurricane Irma


    ANNA MARIA — While Hurricane Irma's last-minute shift helped spare large swaths of Florida cities from catastrophic damage, the Anna Maria City Pier didn't fare so well.

    A damage assessment following Hurricane Irma suggests repairs for the Anna Maria City Pier can take at least 12 months. [LUIS SANTANA for Visit Florida]
  5. Photo of the Day for September 26, 2017 - Flying gecko on glass

    Human Interest

    Today's Photo of the Day comes from Wayne Rayburn of Tarpon Springs, FL. He calls it "Flying gecko on glass."