Tampa, Fla. – Phyllis P. Marshall is the backbone of the University of South Florida. She was there from the very beginning in 1960.
Marshall lived in the first student union called the University Center. She was essentially the first resident assistant on campus. The girls’ dorms were on the fourth floor of the building.
President John Allen wanted the focus of the school to be on academics and merits, not any social aspects.
“He and the other deans and the other students did not want beauty contests, popularity contests and they didn’t want Greek organizations either,” Andrew Huse, associate librarian at USF said.
Huse said Marshall was an advocate for students. “If she didn’t go to the event, they might not have been able to have the event.”
Marshall is known as “Ms. USF” for her involvement with students. Among many ideas, she helped advocate for students to bank at the credit union. In her mind, it was not fair for students that did not have transportation.
“I think she was an advocate for integrating students with the university.” Huse said.
The University Center was later named the Marshall Student Center in 1994 to coincide with Marshall’s retirement.