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Morsani donates $20 Million to USF Medical School

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Sorry if this has already been posted. Very philanthropic couple, USF and the bay area are lucky to have them.

TAMPA — The University of South Florida plans to rename its medical school Thursday after philanthropists Frank and Carol Morsani, whose $20 million donation to construct a new college of medicine is the largest in USF's history.

The gift brings the couple's cumulative contributions to health initiatives at USF to $37 million and to the university as a whole to $43 million, also a record. Their past donations have helped to build an outpatient medical clinic, a women's softball stadium and a football practice complex, all at the main campus in north Tampa.

But the Morsani College of Medicine will leave a legacy like none other.

"This university, we feel, is on the cutting edge of making things happen," said Frank Morsani, 80, who made his fortune on car dealerships and spent years trying to bring Major League Baseball to the Tampa Bay region.

USF officials intend to leverage the money into a $60 million campaign to replace the medical school's four-decade-old facilities, seeking additional private donations as well as state funding. By late next year, they hope to break ground on a prominent building designed to encourage greater collaboration across the USF health professional schools in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health.

The donation comes at a critical juncture for USF's medical school. Dean Stephen Klasko has been retooling the school's ambitions in response to sweeping consolidation across the health care landscape and new competition from four medical schools created in Florida in recent years.

Klasko is backing away from an aggressive push to build a standalone hospital at USF, which he once saw as essential to bolstering its reputation in national rankings. Instead, he believes the new building will help bring students in closer contact with patients and build on recent successes in forging unorthodox partnerships to expand the medical school's reach. .

"Instead of saying, 'Poor us, money is going down;' we're saying "What an opportunity,' " Klasko said. "A $2 trillion (health care) industry is going through cataclysmic change."

Although the Morsani name is not unfamiliar in charitable circles — it graces an outpatient medical clinic at USF, a lobby at the Tampa Museum of Art and a theater at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts — the couple said they were reluctant to have the medical school named in their honor.

"We're not Donald Trump or those people that want their name on something. That's never been why we have given a nickle to anything," Frank Morsani said. "We hope this encourages others to say, 'Let's examine what we are going to do with our resources.' "

USF would join the ranks of 19 medical schools nationally that have been named after a donor, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, including the private University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

An undetermined portion of the Morsani donation will also launch the Klasko Institute for an Optimistic Future in Healthcare. The institute is envisioned as an incubator for ideas like USF's alliance with the Villages retirement community to improve the health status of seniors.

But the $20 million donation mostly will help to replace the medical school's outdated facilities, whose age and space limits were problem areas in its last accreditation review. Officials hope to begin construction late next year in space that has housed the outpatient medical clinics along Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

The $60 million, five- or six-story building would feature an open design, encouraging collaboration between students and educators in USF's health-related disciplines, including the schools of medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health.

Along with classrooms, lecture halls, auditoriums and a fitness center, the facility will house a full-time health clinic run by students to serve the uninsured for free, expanding on a service they now are able to offer only one evening a week.

"What we really want to be able to do is to teach, learn and provide care as part of our learning process," said Dr. Alicia Monroe, vice dean for educational affairs at the medical school.

At many medical schools, she noted, the clinics where students interact with patients are isolated from the main classrooms. But with its new building, USF would have "real people coming in as part of the teaching process," she added.

Leaders said their outdated medical facilities increasingly pose an obstacle to competing with the state's four new medical colleges. And these newer schools received state building dollars not available to USF in recent years, said Klasko.

"We're putting the ante on the table. We've gotten half of the way there, if not more," said Klasko, describing the pitch he will make to politicians in the Legislature: "We are one of your children also."

Frank Morsani expects to be involved in the ongoing fundraising efforts for the medical school. Neither he nor his wife attended USF, but they feel strongly about supporting the community that helped them build their fortune. And both have been impressed by the impact of their past USF donations, including the outpatient medical clinic bearing their name.

"It's not a difficult choice," he said. "I'm going to give dollars not to make an incremental change, but to make a transformative change throughout the community."

Times researchers Natalie Watson and Caryn Baird contributed to this story. Letitia Stein can be reached at or (727) 893-8330.

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This article paints our medical facilities as dilapidated and subpar. Yet, the medical program is probably our most recognized program as far as I was aware. That and education.

What gives?

The Morsani's are amazing. Very thankful to have them as supporters of the University and area in general.

Edited by The Great 8

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This article paints our medical facilities as dilapidated and subpar. Yet, the medical program is probably our most recognized program as far as I was aware. That and education.

What gives?

The Morsani's are amazing. Very thankful to have them as supporters of the University and area in general.

this would be my guess as to why facilities are probably dilapidated, from the USF CoM wiki page:

Established by the Florida Legislature in 1965, the college enrolled its charter class in 1971.

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Mo' money, mo' money, mo' money! Man, I love "In Living Color" and bigtime philanthropy like this. :D Can't wait until more of our graduates start dropping serious coin on our university.

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I went to Wikipedia to read about the Morsanis and there's nothing there. Somebody needs to post up a nice glowing article on them!

Thank you Frank and Carol!!!

More from USF


TAMPA, FL (December 8, 2011) -- The University of South Florida has renamed its medical college the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine in honor of the philanthropic commitment of Frank and Carol Morsani. In total, the Morsanis have given $37 million to USF Health and a total of $43 million to the university.

Today, the Morsanis are announcing a new gift of $20 million to USF Health, thelargest individual donation ever received by the university, to reach the total of $37 million.

USF President Judy Genshaft and the USF Board of Trustees renamed the college at a meeting Thursday morning.

One of the nation's most successful automobile dealers, Frank Morsani has become a community leader in the Tampa Bay region and is the former chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Donations by the couple have helped build major institutions in Tampa. As a result of their total giving to USF, and the exciting opportunity of the new gift, the university is honoring them by renaming its medical college.

The gift will create a dramatic new education center at USF Health, focusing on new ways to teach the team-based care of the future. The new Morsani College of Medicine building will host a true teaching clinic for patients and students, including the student-run free community clinic. It will allow students in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, public health and physical therapy to learn together in interprofessional teams, with a special focus on personalized medicine.

In addition, the Morsanis believe so strongly in the ideas being pursued at USF that they are setting up an institute named for the current CEO of USF Health, and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine, Stephen K. Klasko, MD, MBA. The Stephen K. Klasko Institute for an Optimistic Future in Healthcare will drive many of USF Health's new strategic initiatives.

"What Steve Klasko has done is become an incubator of ideas," Frank Morsani said. "He wants to change the course of American healthcare, and he's doing it right here. We've seen what he's done, and we believe the future can be shaped now."

The Morsanis’ generosity creates a historic opportunity for USF Health, Dr. Klasko said.

"Carol and Frank Morsani embody the values that make Tampa Bay and, indeed, this country great,†Dr. Klasko said. “They have understood the importance of family, friends, integrity and entrepreneurship and we could not be more proud that every graduate will now bear the Morsani name on their diploma. Having two people that I respect as much as anyone in the world invest in the future of USF Health is both humbling and incredibly exciting.â€

The Morsanis have now contributed a total of $43,325,388 to USF, with $37,403,860 of that amount going to USF Health. Frank Morsani has been chair of the USF Foundation, Inc, and a reason for the success of USF's ongoing comprehensive campaign. Carol Morsani founded USF's Women in Leadership in Philanthropy, an initiative that brings women leaders into positions to have an impact with their giving.

"We are so fortunate to have philanthropists like Carol and Frank Morsani,†said Joel Momberg, CEO of the USF Foundation and senior vice president of university advancement. “They not only make gifts ... they make investments. The passion and the love they have for what we can accomplish and what we can become reflects in their generosity. To paraphrase our capital campaign slogan: The Morsanis are truly Unstoppable!"

As a result of the gift, USF will construct a new Morsani College of Medicine building located on the western edge of the USF campus, at the southeast corner of Bruce B Downs Blvd and Holly Drive. It will be built on the site of the former USF medical clinic.

Features of the six-story center will include:

  • A new Center for Advanced Clinical Learning, where students from all disciplines will learn the best techniques of patient care together, using both standardized patients, advanced patient simulators, and real patients.
  • Creation of a new teaching clinic that will be a national model for free community care in a dynamic learning environment. This will enhance access to healthcare, enable us to expand our community impact and leverage the fine work of the BRIDGE Healthcare Clinic, founded by USF Health student volunteers.
  • New state-of-the-art classrooms, lecture halls and learning spaces for students.
  • Headquarters and offices for the Morsani College of Medicine and many of its faculty.
  • Headquarters for the Stephen K. Klasko Institute for an Optimistic Future for Healthcare.

USF Health is already known for innovative education programs that are changing how health professionals learn. Those programs include:

  • SELECT, a new MD program that educates future physician leaders. The first SELECT students arrived on campus this fall and were chosen partly based upon assessments of their emotional intelligence.
  • CAMLS, the Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation, now under construction in downtown Tampa. At the $30 million CAMLS complex, health professionals from across the country will learn advanced surgical techniques, using the latest robotic and other medical devices, in an environment that emphasizes team training.

USF Health also stresses health care that puts the patient at the center of the clinical experience. At USF Health’s two new medical centers, the Carol and Frank Morsani Center for Advanced HealthCare and the South Tampa Center for Advanced HealthCare, patients are able to experience “one-stop shopping." The centers will model the future of healthcare - customized to each patient's molecular profile, while meeting family and psychological needs at the same time.

Building the new center and creating new learning pathways there will create dynamic changes for USF Health and, ultimately, for the future of medical education, Dr. Klasko said.

“Our vision for the Morsani College of Medicine could not be more clear or dramatic,†he said. “We intend to be the leaders of the revolution that will transform the future of heatlh care education and health care delivery …Not by changing the existing reality, but by creating a new model that makes the old model obsolete.â€


USF Health's mission is to envision and implement the future of health. It is the partnership of the University of South Florida Morsani College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the College of Public Health, the College of Pharmacy, the School of Biomedical Sciences and the School of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Sciences; and the USF Physician’s Group. USF is a global research university ranked 34th in federal research expenditures for public universities.

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Mo' money, mo' money, mo' money! Man, I love "In Living Color" and bigtime philanthropy like this. :D Can't wait until more of our graduates start dropping serious coin on our university.


Go USF Health! (Being my employer and all) This is GREAT news!

And So true about youur post (show and donations)

BTW.. Did you hear they are making a ILC reunion show as another possible run?

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As far as the big money donors go, off the top of my head, the ones that actually graduated from USF are the Mumas and Jordan Zimmerman. I'm probably forgetting a bunch more, but most of the others like the Morsanis and Gonzmarts didn't even graduate from USF, so that's pretty impressive as well, to have them donating to our alma mater. Have to keep graduating those Bulls and getting in them in position to "make it rain." And I had no idea of an In Living Color reunion show. I hope that rumor gains some traction.

Edited by Paisa el Toro

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