Messages from the President - 2017

USA President Tony Waldrop’s messages to the University community are posted below and on the University’s Facebook page, You can also follow him on Instagram (USA Waldrops).

September 15, 2017


During Saturday's football game against Alabama A&M, the diversity and inclusion initiative Empowering Change: Strengthening Our Community Connections is hosting a special area for the community from 2-5 p.m. This area will feature giveaways, live music, vendors, free food and a variety of inflatable games. More significantly, through the generosity of our Athletics department and the support of the Mobile County Commission, we were able to provide complimentary tickets to local schools, community centers and churches whose members normally may not be able to attend.

I encourage everyone to stop by this area (spaces 9 and 15 in JagCity) and celebrate together as a unified community.

To learn more about Empowering Change, please visit the website.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama


September 12, 2017


As I know many are aware, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is currently set to end in six months.

Congress may act before then to allow young undocumented immigrants to remain in the country, but the future for immigrants who were approved for a two-year deferred deportation, and those who were eligible for the program, remains uncertain.

The University of South Alabama prides itself on being a welcoming institution supportive of all its students. We believe in a diverse community whose academic, research and health care initiatives and ambitions requires global outreach and engagement.

The uncertainty surrounding DACA does not change those principles nor the support for our students, faculty and staff. I would encourage those with questions about how the possible termination of DACA affects them to consult an immigration attorney.

Catholic Social Services has an immigration specialist who can discuss concerns and make recommendations. Stella Knight can be reached at 251-947-3878.

Campus resources are also available by calling the Office of Counseling and Testing Services at 251-460-7051, the Office of Student Affairs at 251-460-6172 or the Office of Academic Affairs at 251-460-6261.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama


August 30, 2017


Over the past several months, the University has been working in partnership with many community organizations to develop a diversity and inclusion initiative titled Empowering Change: Strengthening Our Community Connections. The vision is that Mobile, through the Empowering Change initiative, will become a community in which all persons are welcomed, included, valued, respected and empowered to thrive and succeed.

Kickoff programming begins on September 15 with a day service and continues with a community day during our USA vs. Alabama A&M football game on September 16, peer led workshops in local schools, and a culminating community panel discussion on September 25, moderated by award-winning journalist Soledad O'Brien.

There are five ways for you to get involved right now.

1. Register to volunteer during the Serve Fest.

2. Register to volunteer as a Game Day volunteer.

3. Donate at least $5 so this work can continue.

4. Register to attend the Sept. 25 panel discussion.

5. Follow this program on Facebook and Instagram.

To learn more about Empowering Change, visit the website.

At USA, our commitment to diversity, inclusion and equity guide our core values. I know our Jags will participate in a big way in the weeks ahead.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama


August 29, 2017


Dear USA Faculty and Staff:

This morning we kicked off our annual USA Employee Campaign for the United Way. Together, we have the chance to make a lasting impact for our neighbors who need it most.

USA employees have been extremely generous through the years and have contributed more than $4.5 million to the United Way of Southwest Alabama and its partner agencies. Thank you to the faculty, staff and retirees for your loyal support of this community initiative, and to campaign leaders and unit representatives who are on the front lines of this campaign.

This year our campaign will be led by co-chairs Dr. Angela Coleman, Associate Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, and Chris Jett, Hospital Administrator, USA Children's & Women's Hospital. Beth Hardaway, retired faculty member from the Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, will serve as our retiree chair.

The United Way of Southwest Alabama and 48 partner agencies team up with other community-minded supporters to implement solutions that lead to positive outcomes for our community. Through your financial support, the United Way continues to serve Mobile, Clarke, Washington and Choctaw counties with programs that concentrate on education, health, financial stability and life's basic essentials.

I encourage you to join me in making a gift to this year's campaign, as our collective support helps improve the communities we call home. I thank you in advance for your support of the 2017 USA Employee Campaign for the United Way.

Give. Advocate. Volunteer. Live United.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama


August 28, 2017


Fellow Jaguars,

We've had a strong beginning to the Fall semester, and we're just getting started!

Week of Welcome and Beyond was a great success as one of our largest-ever classes of new freshmen arrived on campus. Thank you to our returning students, faculty and staff for helping them get settled at their new home.

For those of you who were not here during the summer, it was a productive few months. Some of the highlights, in case you missed them:

  • South employees and retirees raised nearly $720,000 for academic and health care advancement during the 14th Employee and Retiree Annual Fund campaign. The fundraiser is part of South's Upward & Onward comprehensive campaign, which passed the $100 million mark this spring.
  • The University of South Alabama National Alumni Association honored five alumni and individuals for outstanding achievements and contributions to their communities at the annual Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards gala.
  • USA alumna and 5th grade science teacher Chasity Collier was named the 2017-18 Alabama Teacher of the Year. She was chosen for the award from a group of 16 finalists, who were selected from more than 140 applicants for the coveted honor, one of the oldest and most prestigious award programs for teachers.
  • The Pathway USA program, which is streamlining the process for students to transfer to South from area community colleges, received national recognition with a $50,000 grant funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
  • South named three new deans: Dr. Kathy J. Cooke was selected to lead USA's new Honors College, Dr. J. Harold Pardue was named dean of the Graduate School, and Dr. Heather Hall was named interim dean of the College of Nursing.
  • USA partnered with the cities of Mobile and Gulf Shores to put young people to work over the summer through Youth Empowered for Success. The program grew out of Gulf Shores' growing need for seasonal workers, Mobile's job needs for its young people and South's unique hospitality and tourism training program called FLIGHT, which buses students from the campus to beach resorts for on-the-job training.
  • For the third straight year, South Alabama was awarded the Vic Bubas Cup, presented to the Sun Belt Conference school with the top all-around athletics program.
  • South Alabama defeated Georgia Southern to win the 2017 Sun Belt Conference Championship, the baseball team's 11th SBC Tournament title and its first since 2005.
  • USA Health partnered with Feeding the Gulf Coast to implement "Boxing Out Hunger," an innovative program designed to improve health by addressing food insecurities among clinic patients.
  • Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey announced that $4 million from an economic development bond issue will be directed to the cost of renovating and expanding USA Medical Center's Level I Trauma Center.

These are just some of our recent successes. Now let's go make more!

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama


August 17, 2017


Dear USA Faculty, Staff and Students,

As we begin a new academic year, I want to express my appreciation to each of you for the many ways in which you make the University of South Alabama an outstanding institution of teaching, research and service to the community.

At the same time we celebrate the beginning of our school year, we cannot help but be affected and saddened by the tragic and senseless violence that occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia, over this past weekend. These events should serve as a reminder that we, as a university community, a nation and a world, must dedicate ourselves to peacefully and constructively discussing and addressing the issues and challenges of our times in a manner that is respectful of all individuals. We all must be clear that there is no place in this dialogue, or in any of our interactions, for intolerance or violence.

Our University of South Alabama core values include diversity, inclusion, cultural awareness and mutual respect. I encourage our faculty, staff and students to embrace and live these values, and to continue fostering a climate of care, concern and civility among all groups and individuals.

Freedom of speech is a right enshrined in our Constitution. It is also a responsibility. As a public university that embraces and fosters the free exchange of ideas, our responsibility is to educate students about both rights and responsibilities. If you are a student with questions about first amendment protections and free speech at the University, I encourage you to contact the Office of Student Affairs. Employees with questions may reach out to our Office of Legal Affairs.

I wish you all the very best for a productive and enjoyable academic year.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama


June 19, 2017


The University of South Alabama's Board of Trustees, at its June 2nd meeting, approved the 2017-2027 Campus Master Plan.

Since the last master plan, which was updated in 2010, the University has seen tremendous growth in academic programs, student enrollment and students living on campus. Along with that growth comes increased demands for research labs, physical facilities, administrative offices and campus infrastructure. The 2017-2027 Campus Master Plan responds to this growth.

The Campus Master Plan Committee incorporated information collected from throughout our campus community, including faculty, staff and students, to develop the new master plan, which will support future decisions about our campus infrastructure.

While the master plan provides guidance about South's needs and priorities, it does not obligate the University to any particular project. As we continue to grow, it will be important to remain flexible and respond to new and unforeseen opportunities and changes in the environment.

I'd like to thank the Campus Master Plan Committee for their work on this project, and the Board for its consideration and approval.

You may review the 2017-2027 Campus Master Plan on the Master Plan website at:

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama


April 24, 2017


The Employee Wellness Initiatives Committee recommends that USA join businesses, schools and other organizations throughout the state of Alabama by participating in National Walk@Lunch Day. I encourage you to consider the committee's invitation below. I will walk at lunch on April 26 and I hope that you will participate. You can join me by meeting at the back of the Administration Building at 11:55 a.m.

National Walk@Lunch Day was designed by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association "to encourage people of all ages, backgrounds and lifestyles to make walking a healthy habit for life." It can be challenging to find time in our busy schedules for physical activity. For some employees, walking at lunch can be a first step toward a healthier lifestyle. For others, it can be a way to enhance their current level of exercise.

Participation is easy. Bring your comfortable footwear to work. Take up to 30 minutes (as your lunch break permits) during your regular lunch break to walk at your work location. Walk alone at your own pace* or with your co-workers. Please be mindful that some employees may need to build up to walking for 30 minutes.

The committee would like to know how many USA employees walk on April 26. Please help us capture USA's participation by sending an email on April 27, to that includes the name, department and phone number of each participant. If you walked with a group of employees, only one email is needed. The committee thanks you in advance for your assistance.

To learn more about the Employee Wellness Initiatives Committee and National Walk@Lunch Day, visit the committee's website at

*Employees with health issues/concerns should always seek medical guidance before beginning any new exercise regimen.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama


April 18, 2017


Dear USA Employees and Students,

One of the University of South Alabama's five strategic priorities is University-Community Engagement. As part of moving this priority forward, I'm pleased to announce the formation of a new Office of Community Engagement.

In the past few years, USA has engaged with community leaders through informal conversations as well as formal focus groups and other dialogs. One consistent suggestion has been that USA improve its facilitation of community partnerships, with particular emphasis on internships and public service activities. The Office of Community Engagement, which will open in Fall 2017, will facilitate communication and provide coordination to deepen and improve University-Community partnerships for internships, service-learning, civic engagement, and community engaged research.

A new director will act as a liaison to the community as well as a collaborator on existing and proposed university-community partnerships. This position is open and posted on our HR website:

Once a director has been identified, additional conversations with the campus and community will help to focus and refine the efforts of the OCE. At present, please direct questions about the OCE to Angela Coleman at 251.460.7475 or

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama


April 10, 2017


Donors have provided funds to endow a Presidential Lectureship. It is expected that one such lecture will take place each year, beginning with the 2017-18 academic year. The purpose of this email is to solicit nominations for the first of these lectures.

The goals of this lectureship are to: 1) stimulate campus-wide and community-wide conversation on important topics; 2) promote greater knowledge in various fields of inquiry; and 3) encourage reflection on issues of wide relevance to scholars and students across the humanities and other areas of inquiry.

Each speaker invited to deliver the Presidential Lecture will be an outstanding scholar, scientist or civil leader of national or international prominence. The selected individual will deliver a principal public lecture or performance, and also will be expected to interact with students, speak as appropriate to classes and faculty gatherings, and meet with civic groups in the greater Mobile area.

If you would like to nominate someone for the Presidential Lectureship, please provide a short biographical summary of the accomplishments of the nominee and include a link to a website that has a description of the individual, if available. You also should indicate if you know the person or have heard them speak.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama


March 29, 2017


Dear USA Employees,

Last summer, I announced that Margaret Sullivan would serve as the University's Interim Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations. The University has been fortunate to be able to leverage Margaret's considerable leadership and business experience while we conducted a national search for a permanent Vice President.

The search process resulted in three candidates being interviewed on campus. Although each of the candidates had relevant experience in development and alumni relations, the process served to bring into focus the need for significant experience and continuity in the midst of our comprehensive fundraising campaign, which has three years remaining. In this critically important time, we must have someone in the Vice President position who is known and respected by the community.

I have decided, with input and feedback from many of you, that we have such a person already here at USA. Thus I have asked Margaret Sullivan if she will serve as our next Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations, and she has agreed to do so.

In addition to building collaborative teams and effectively engaging with current and prospective donors, in this role Margaret will continue to successfully guide the Upward & Onward comprehensive funding campaign. I'm pleased that under Margaret's leadership, we are nearing the $100 million mark in the campaign. She has, and will continue to, enhance the professionalism, outreach and outcomes of those who work in development and alumni relations.

Margaret's service to the University has helped chart the course of the institution. She played a key role in the founding of the Mitchell Cancer Institute by spearheading the feasibility study for MCI in 2000. Margaret was appointed Deputy Director for Business Development and Outreach in 2012, and in 2015 was appointed Associate Director of Cancer Control and Prevention, charged with setting strategic direction for MCI's cancer control and population health initiatives.

I'd like to thank the search committee for their hard work in selecting candidates for the development and alumni relations position.

Please join me in congratulating Margaret Sullivan for her continued service in this vital role.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama


February 21, 2017


Dear USA Employees,

Last March, South launched its new branding initiative. Since that time, the Office of Marketing and Communications has worked with many departments and offices throughout the University to introduce and incorporate key elements of the brand messaging and visual identity into print and presentation materials, websites and social media, recruitment and admissions materials, signage and banners, advertising, events and promotional materials. I'm very pleased that our community, both within the university and externally, has embraced the extension of the brand into the broader landscape of our marketing and communications.

A critical component of our ability to communicate and strengthen our brand is every employee's implementation and use of the brand standards published on the web at We are approaching the end of the one-year "phase-in" period, during which campus offices were asked to use up existing supplies of materials that included old graphics and logos. As of March 23, 2017, I expect that all University offices and departments will be in full compliance with the brand standards, and will discontinue use of any materials that use older logos, graphics or other visual elements that do not conform with the brand guidelines.

If you have questions or need assistance in fully implementing the USA Brand standards in your area, please contact the Office of Marketing and Communications at (251) 460-6211 or

Thank you for your support.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama


January 30, 2017


Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

On Friday, a presidential executive order was issued that prevents citizens from seven countries from entering the United States. The order has resulted in uncertainty and legal challenges, as well as a clarification that legal, permanent U.S. residents — in other words, noncitizens who hold green cards — will be permitted to enter the United States.

The University of South Alabama employs a number of international scholars, and enrolls approximately 1,000 international students, including students from the countries affected by the executive order signed Friday. We remain steadfast in our commitment to international education and global collaboration, and currently are reaching out to members of the South community who may be affected by the president's executive order.

Our international students add immeasurable value to our campus by bringing the richness of their cultures and experiences to the University. We are grateful for their contributions and welcome them.

We will closely monitor this evolving situation and, as more information becomes available, we will communicate with members of our university community whose immigration status may be impacted. Anyone with questions about these issues should contact our Office of International Services at (251) 460-6050 or email

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama


January 28, 2017


Dear Students,

As always during this time of year, we should all think of the things for which we're thankful. There are the obvious — friends, family and good health.

I'm also thankful to be at South, and to live in a country — and work on a campus — that embraces the free exchange of ideas. Freedom of speech is a right enshrined in our Constitution. It is also a responsibility.

In the past year, we've seen many college campuses across the country struggle with issues related to gender, race and inclusion. Debate and differences of opinion will not always be comfortable; but they should always be respectful.

I'm very proud to see how USA students continue to express themselves in a responsible, civil and respectful manner. I encourage each of you to hold true to your own values while respecting the positions of others. Diversity of opinions and people is one of the strengths of our campus and our democracy.

Please enjoy your holiday season, be thankful for your rights and responsibilities, and continue to express yourselves in a way that is respectful of each other's differences and ideas.

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama


January 13, 2017


Dear USA Employees,

Please join me in congratulating the members of the USA community – faculty, staff and alumni — who have been recognized by Mobile Bay magazine in its annual "40 Under Forty" list. You can find out more about each of them at our USA News site:

These deserving individuals represent the significant contributions USA makes to the region. The members of the "40 Under Forty" Class of 2016 are excelling in medicine, business, engineering, education, law, and the arts and humanities. Their efforts are improving the quality of life for all of us.

It's remarkable that 40 percent of the "40 Under Forty" are members of the South family. This is a great honor for them, and a reflection of all that USA means to Mobile. Please help me in congratulating South's members of "40 Under Forty."

Tony G. Waldrop, Ph.D.