Genshaft legacy is
a stronger USF | Editorial, Sept. 11
Genshaft made USF a first choice
Tampa Bay is a significantly stronger business community due to the leadership of retiring USF President Judy Genshaft. With degrees from Davidson and Duke, I must admit that a decade ago I was taken aback at her comparison of USF to Duke (research funding). However, as I have seen our metro area grow, and as an SAT/ACT tutor to many of our region’s rising high school juniors and seniors, I know that USF is increasingly becoming a top choice, rather than back-up school, for many of our area’s best students. I attribute much of USF’s increased rigor and reputation to her leadership. May she enjoy her well-deserved retirement.
Robert King, St. Petersburg
USF isn’t in South Florida
To USF President Judy Genshaft: Well done! But as USF starts on a new generation of leadership, I suggest one issue that should be addressed — the university’s name. The University of South Florida is not, in fact, in South Florida. As such, its national perception becomes muddled, and it is too often dismissed from major university conversations as merely a "directional school." Therefore, I suggest renaming — and an associated rebranding — as either the University of Tampa Bay (UTB) or University of Florida Tampa Bay (UFTB). Both reflect its actual location, and for those who might find the latter in particular to be unwieldy, I offer a counter argument: UCLA. Both names also recognize the multiple campus locations of the university.
Steve Allison, Temple Terrace
King of the sideshow
bows out at age 88 | Sept. 6
He was a world of wonder
This month’s death of sideshow legend Ward Hall also laid to rest one of the last examples from Florida’s golden age of roadside kitsch. Hall was a legendary showman, who worked his entire life running circus and carnival sideshows. He was the colorful carnival barker who would stir up the people’s curiosity to come in to the show and see the Alligator Lady, the Bearded Lady, the Human Block Head, etc. Hall ran the World of Wonders sideshow for decades, which was something I always looked forward to as a wide-eyed kid every year when the Florida State Fair came through, or when the show was set up in the area at a roadside carnival.
Later, when I found success in the music industry, I credited Hall’s passion for performance and production as my earliest and most profound inspiration. Hall taught the world to embrace the unique, to find beauty in everything. Florida kitsch has taken one of its last steps to becoming completely extinct. The golden age of Florida’s roadside attractions that dotted the state is now long gone, thanks to theme parks. The show will go on, but without Ward Hall, it will never be the same.
Mikee Plastik, Brandon
Audits clear taxes for ballot | Sept. 7
Young or old, the right thing
Why would an 81-year-old man vote for a school tax when he has no school-age family members? Why would an 81-year-old man vote for a transportation tax when he will probably be gone before he sees any benefit from such a tax? Answer: It is the right thing to do.
Dominick Vazzano, St. Petersburg