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USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute officially opens in downtown Tampa

The new USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute, a world-class facility that will transform medical education delivery and generate millions of dollars in annual economic impact, officially opened today in downtown Tampa.

USF students, faculty, staff and supporters celebrated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, signifying the culmination of nearly five years of design and construction on the 13-story building that will help attract the best in education and research.

“A project of this magnitude only happens because of the vision and support of many partners,” said University of South Florida President Steven C. Currall. “The academic, research and economic significance of this project will be felt for generations to come. Most important will be the improved health and well-being of our friends and neighbors across the Tampa Bay region, throughout the state of Florida, and beyond.”

The 395,000 square foot facility serves as hub for approximately 1,800 students, faculty and staff to live, work and study along the vibrant downtown waterfront as a key anchor of Strategic Property Partners' $3 billion Water Street Tampa development.

“We at USF Health are unflagging optimists, and we see this new facility and our growing partnership with Tampa General Hospital as grand opportunities to position ourselves among the very best of academic medical centers,” said Charles J. Lockwood, MD, senior vice president for USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine.

“It is our bold vision to be national leaders in collaboration and innovation, training the next generation of physicians and pioneering world-changing discoveries. There is nowhere better to do this than in downtown Tampa. And we are grateful for the support we have been given by our great state, city and community leaders, donors, patrons, partners, colleagues, and friends.”

The MD program has moved into the building and the first classes begin on Monday, Jan. 13.  Additional programs will continue to transition in the coming months:

·         Heart Institute researchers will begin their phased move in Feb. 2020.

·         The PA program will move the following year, in May 2021.

·         The Taneja College of Pharmacy is tentatively scheduled to begin classes in fall 2020.

USF Health will also share the new facility with Tampa General Hospital for collaborative efforts focused on cardiology, urgent care, imaging and executive wellness.

The downtown location brings Morsani College of Medicine students and faculty closer to the college’s primary teaching hospital, TGH. The impact can already be felt as USF’s incoming MD students boast the highest median MCAT scores of any medical school in Florida, and new physician scientists recruited for the Heart Institute have helped USF's National Institutes of Health (NIH) research rankings rise to the top 50.

The new facility will generate increased research funding, which will in turn create new jobs and potentially help attract biotech companies to the Tampa Bay region. The new building includes projections for more than $70 million in local, regional and statewide economic impact.

Plans for a new USF medical school began in 2011, when Carol and Frank Morsani gave $20 million, a gift that aimed to create a dramatic new education center for USF Health. Then, plans shifted to downtown Tampa in 2014, when Jeff Vinik, through Strategic Property Partners, made an offer to USF – an acre of land in the heart of his $3 billion redevelopment of the Water Street district. Over the next five years, the Florida Legislature provided approximately $110 million toward the new building’s construction cost. Financial support now focuses on philanthropy.

What others are saying…

“This building is indicative of the University of South Florida as a whole. It’s new. It’s innovative. It’s on the rise. And the possibilities here are endless.” – Chris Sprowls, Florida Representative


“For decades, green and gold have been woven into the fabric of our community. And now we’re so excited to welcome USF into the heart of the City of Tampa. The USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute will continue USF’s legacy as a leader in STEM, research and innovation…and this state-of-the-art facility will attract the best and brightest from around the world to our very own city. Resources available here will shape the minds of future doctors and empower our students to tap their full potential.” – Jane Castor, City of Tampa Mayor


“This facility is one of the most significant construction projects in the history of Florida’s State University System, and it could not have been completed without the support and tremendous efforts of the Tampa Bay area Legislative Delegation.” – Jordan Zimmerman, Chair, USF Board of Trustees


“This building will increase the quality and quantity of medical school applicants, increase the opportunities for federal research grants, and will truly provide a huge economic boom for the Tampa Bay region and for the state. It also helps build a strong relationship with Tampa General Hospital…I have no doubt that the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and Heart Institute will play key roles in USF’s continued rise.” – Syd Kitson, Vice-Chair, Board of Governors, State University System of Florida


“What truly struck me about this project is the interdisciplinary work that is coming forward from the Morsani College of Medicine…Medicine today is a team sport that’s not just doctors working in silos. We work as team members, with pharmacists, nurses, physical therapists, and everyone else on the team. This building will really help with that interprofessional education.” – Joseph E. Kerschner, MD, Chair, Board of Directors for the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC)


“For students, the opening of this building means having the opportunity to create new traditions that we’ve never had before. It means enhancing the partnerships we already have in Tampa Bay, while creating new partnerships that were not previously possible. And it means fostering a culture of inclusion, diversity, innovation, and excellence.” – Amy Mickelson, 4th-year medical student in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and MCOM Student Council President