Research has been a goal of USF since the beginning. T. W. Graham Solomons received our first research grant in 1961 with the intention to study the synthesis and properties of organic molecules. Grants were also given to professors to study medicine, literacy, and many other disciplines. USF created our Research Institute in 1965 to provide faculty with countless opportunities to start research in any field. Research became important for USF quickly after a medical school was added and President Cecil Mackey took over. President Mackey recruited Carl Riggs to be the Vice President of Academic Affairs and he played a huge role in moving USF toward being a top research university. He once stated, “President Mackey and I had easily made an agreement that the University had to be gently moved toward the large, complex, multi-campus institution that it was destined to be, and that the change had to include much more emphasis on research.”
Every college from Marine Science to Engineering to the Arts participates in research in their own way. Student and faculty involvement in a diverse array of research led to national recognition. In 1991, USF placed in the top 100 research institutes in the U.S and by 2000, USF was being grouped with UF and FSU on the basis of its strong research programs. In 1998, the Office of Undergraduate Research was created to further student’s involvement in research. Today, USF is known as one of Florida’s three universities for Public Research and has been given Research University status by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.