University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations
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November 29, 2007
Contact: Jennifer Z. Ekman, USA Public Relations, (251) 460-6360

McKinney Gift Endows Scholarship For Track Students Former Track Star Wants to Help Program
From left to right are Lee Evans, USA Track and Cross Country Coach; John Goodroe, assistant athletic director for development and executive director of the Jaguar Athletic Fund; Lee McKinney; and Lara McKinney.

University of South Alabama alumnus and track star R. Lee McKinney II has given $75,000 to establish the McKinney Family Endowed Scholarship Fund for Track Students. The University will match McKinney’s gift dollar-for-dollar in order to create a $150,000 endowment.

The scholarship fund will award an annual tuition grant to a student on the track team. The track coaching staff will determine the scholarship winner.

“I wanted to help the University and the Cross Country/Track program that has given so much to me in life,” McKinney said.

Dr. Joseph F. Busta Jr., USA vice president for development and alumni relations, said of the McKinney gift, “In recent years the USA track program has become an NCAA annual contender. This is the first endowed scholarship at USA for this great program and an important Campaign USA gift commitment.”

Athletics Director Joe Gottfried said of the McKinney scholarship, “This remarkable gift will be a permanent testament to Lee and Lara's leadership and generosity and will have a lasting impact on our track program.”

Cross-Country and Track and Field Coach Lee Evans said, “Our track athletes, both today and for generations to come, will benefit from the McKinneys’ generosity, and we will be better able to compete because of their desire to make a difference in young people's lives.”

The McKinneys’ gift is part of Campaign USA, the University’s first comprehensive fund-raising campaign that seeks to raise $75 million for USA programs, faculty, students and construction over three years. Campaign USA was launched in March 2006 and, to date, has raised $59.7 million. The Campaign USA Leadership team is comprised of civic and business leaders, many of whom are alumni.

Campaign USA will enrich all aspects of USA, from its academic colleges and schools to its hospitals, athletic programs, libraries and campuses. The money raised will be used to fund such items as undergraduate and graduate scholarships, professorships, classroom and laboratory equipment, and health care innovations. Funds will also be used for capital enhancements to USA’s athletic programs and a campus bell tower.

For information on Campaign USA, visit or call (251) 460-7032.

The University of South Alabama

            Since its founding in 1963, the University of South Alabama has been one of Alabama’s fastest growing universities, currently enrolling more than 14,000 students in a wide range of academic programs in Allied Health Professions, Arts and Sciences, Mitchell College of Business, Computer and Information Sciences, Continuing Education and Special Programs, Education, Engineering, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. The University has awarded 60,000 degrees.

            In addition to teaching and research, USA is one of the largest health care providers in the Mobile region, with its faculty physicians and two hospitals – Children’s & Women’s and USA Medical Center ­­– involved in more than a quarter million patient encounters annually. 

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