University of South Florida

Castor, Shimberg honored by USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy

Tampa, FL (Oct. 12, 2016) – USF Health benefactors Betty Castor and Elaine Shimberg received honors at USF’s 11th annual Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Fall Symposium, held Oct. 6 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.

Castor earned the Community Leadership Lifetime Achievement Award, and Shimberg received the 2016 Community Leadership Award at the half-day, sold-out event.

“Through their visionary leadership and unending philanthropic work, Betty Castor and Elaine Shimberg have helped make the Tampa Bay area a better place for women to work and live,” USF System President Judy Genshaft said before the luncheon audience of 950. “When you make a community better for women, you make it better for everyone.”

10.6.2016. Tampa, Fl. Photos at the 11th Annual Women in Leadership & Philanthropy Fall Symposium. Celebrating women who are transformational leaders through their volunteer, professional and philanthropic contributions, the annual event was held at the downtown Tampa Hilton. Featured speaker was Claire Shipman.  Photo by Bill Serne

L to R: Award-winning journalist and best-selling author Claire Shipman, featured speaker for the 11th annual USF Women in Philanthropy Fall Symposium, and WLP honorees Elaine Shimberg and Betty Castor with USF System President Judy Genshaft. — Photo by Bill Serne

A lifelong public servant and the first female president of the University of South Florida, Betty Castor advocated for educational excellence at the local, state, national and international levels. Early in her career, she was recognized by John F. Kennedy for her role in leading the first all-women’s team to climb to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. She was the first woman elected to the Hillsborough County Commission, the first woman to become president pro tempore of the Florida Senate, and as Florida’s education commissioner, the first woman elected to the Florida Cabinet. During her two decades in political office, Castor championed the Equal Rights Amendment and funding for domestic abuse centers, early childhood education, and children’s health programs.

Castor and her husband of more than 25 years, Sam Bell, have supported numerous causes throughout the USF System, particularly in the areas of public health and global initiatives.

“It’s an honor, and I’m humbled by this,” Castor said of the recognition. “Women in Leadership and Philanthropy’s concentration on raising dollars and putting together professional women in the community with scholars is unique and outstanding.”

Elaine Shimberg has made her mark as a prolific writer, speaker and volunteer leader in organizations throughout the Tampa Bay area. The author of 26 books and mother of five, Shimberg wrote feature articles for newspapers and national magazines, specializing in conveying complex medical information into lay language for general audiences. Her expertise led to guest appearances on the Today Show and Oprah Winfrey’s AM Chicago.

Shimberg and her husband, Mandell “Hinks” Shimberg, are well-known philanthropists in the Tampa Bay area and namesakes of the Shimberg Health Sciences Library at USF. She is a past chair of the St. Joseph’s Hospital board of directors and first lay person to serve on the Florida Medical Association’s Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs.

Castor and Shimberg were two of the founding members of USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy, which over the past 11 years has raised more than $3 million and awarded nearly $1 million in scholarships, faculty research grants, and mentorship and leadership programming for women in the USF system and surrounding communities.

Media contact:
Davina Gould, USF Health Development and Alumni Relations
(813) 974-6071, or

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