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USF administrator leaving for new position at Akron

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 20, 2000

TAMPA -- After 14 years as vice president of research at the University of South Florida, George Newkome is moving to the smaller University of Akron in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, USF officials said Thursday.

The announcement of Newkome's new position comes just days after a federal agency ordered USF's research department to notify 60 people that they were research subjects in eye surgeries performed by Dr. James Rowsey at USF's medical school.

Rowsey resigned last year amid a furor over the dozens of corneal transplants he performed between 1995 and 1998 using a cutting tool he developed. The tool had not been properly approved and the patients didn't know there was anything experimental about their surgeries.

Newkome, 61, and other USF officials distanced themselves from Rowsey, saying that they knew nothing about his research. Newkome could not be reached Thursday night.

Meanwhile, USF's research funding in Newkome's 14-year administration rose dramatically, jumping from $25-million in 1986 to $171.3-million in 2000. That made USF the second-largest research university in the state, behind the University of Florida.

USF officials said the University of Akron position will allow Newkome more time to do his own research in polymer science and polymer engineering in a program ranked among the top five in the country by U.S. News & World Report. He will remain at USF through the end of the year.

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